This month, we are featuring a few things that have been found at the local automotive swap meets. These are parts that didn’t seem to be that hard to find at the time they were purchased, but are now invaluable to builders because they have become increasingly scarce over time. Some of these parts have become just as hard to find, and just as sought after as the original factory accessories!
Some of the accessories that we are featuring in Deluxe are what we call “Era-correct options.” These are parts that were purchased through mail order catalogs and stores, such as JC Whitney and Sears. Even though the automotive manufacturers did not sell these parts, they were created and made available for those specific vehicles through special side vendors. These vendors would actually set up contracts through the manufacturers, in order to create products that they could make available through their mail order catalogs.
In 1888, Richard Sears first used a printed mailer to advertise watches and jewelry. This mailer would eventually evolve and become the Sears catalog. Mail order has been around for over 100 years, and to this day, we still use them to purchase parts for our customs. In 1943, the Sears News Graphic wrote that the Sears catalog, “serves as a mirror of our times, recording for future historians today’s desires, habits, customs, and mode of living.” That reflection of the times seen in the mail order catalog was as strong of a societal diary as our web shopping is today.
It’s safe to say that no one could have predicted the longevity of these items. Who could have possibly had the foresight to know that the parts that Sears sold would still be sought today, some 100 years later? Some of these parts can still be found in new or in decent condition, much like the ones that we are featuring today in our Lowrider Deluxe section.
The saying “one man’s trash becomes another man’s treasure” couldn’t be more true than in the world of automobile restoration. If you have some vintage accessories and artifacts that you want to share with the public, drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
’64 Impala Rear Bumper Guards
These guards start off at $180 for a reproduction set. On occasion, you can find NOS ones like this set for about the same price, but don’t be surprised to pay $400 for a NOS set.
’58 Impala Headlight Fender Visors
These were era-correct options that were made for specific vehicles. These items were not dealer options, but they were made available through vendors like JC Whitney or the Sears catalog. I have only seen two sets of these fender light visors, and could not even imagine what these cost. This set that we are featuring today cost the owner $400 back when he found them, and these were bought before the car was even purchased.
’63 Impala Gas Door Guard
These guards where made to keep the gas pump nozzle from scratching the paint. This option is being reproduced and is not as pricy as this NOS version, which can bring in $100 and over when they are found.
63-64 Impala Fox Craft Fender Skirts
These fit the best on the quarter panel. These NOS skirts have been priced from $250, and are still easily found on the internet or at local automotive swap meets.
’59 NOS Speed Minder
If you can find it in this condition, you might be paying close to $4,000. The purpose of this accessory was to keep you from speeding by setting up a certain max speed that was pre-dialed. You would set the dial at a certain speed, and if you went over it, the dial would start beeping until you lowered the speed. It could be mentioned in the same breath as the newer fuel governors found in modern cars.
Fox Craft Cruising Skirts
These skirts always dress up the body-lines. Just when you thought you got off easy by spending $3,000 on a clean set of skirts, the reality should be hitting you that all the accessories that you see on them skirts are all sold separately, and you’ll probably spend an additional $500 for both skirts. These accessories are usually the sergeant stripes, dummy ports, and the Buick stars.