Dream Giveaway Chevelle

Here ‘ya go Chevelle fans. Here’s your chance to win a completely restored 1970 big-block Chevelle Super Sport! Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) has teamed up with Dreamgiveaway.com to create a one-of-a-kind contest that will present this immaculate Chevelle as the prize. What’s the catch you ask? Well, there is no “catch” here, really. The car is totally legitimate and the contest/giveaway is, too. The only downside is that there will probably be a whole lot of people attempting to win the same prize. At just $3 per donation, we would guess there will be thousands of entries! Especially when you consider the fact that the money raised will go to benefit worthwhile charities.

Dreamgiveaway.com creates contests as their sole business. Since 2008, the Dream Giveaway® brand has been licensed by a variety of 501(c)(3) charitable organizations for the purpose of conducting sponsored fundraising promotions. Since that time, donations received from nearly a half million individual donors to sponsored Dream Giveaway promotions have delivered millions of dollars to sponsor charities and a variety of grant recipients. These funds have helped provide assistance to veterans, hospitalized children, cancer victims, the homeless, victims of natural disasters, and other worthy causes.

The Dream Giveaway promotions represented on the Dreamgiveaway.com web site are sponsored by New Beginning Children’s Homes. As a result of the promotions, grants will be awarded to MADD, DAV, Smile Network International, National Guard Educational Foundation, Detroit Rescue Mission, and Bright Pink.

If you’ve seen ads for the Burt Reynolds Trans Am giveaway contest, that’s a good example of a similar Dreamgiveaway.com project. Dream Giveaway is working with OPGI on this contest, as OPGI has supplied the parts necessary to bring the 1970 muscle car back to better-than-new condition. Looking at the car, it is easy to see that this Chevelle has been built the right way, with the right components.

The grand-prize Chevelle was first ordered in 1970 at Brennecke Chevrolet in Jackson, Missouri, and includes a few great factory features like bucket seats, a performance suspension and a Positraction rear axle. After a full rotisserie, frame-off restoration, the Chevelle was reassembled with a 396 big-block backed up by the always-desirable 4-speed manual transmission. The jet black paint job with SS stripes is definitely cool, too. In fact, there is not much about this Chevelle that does not rate extremely high on the coolness quotient.

Dream Giveaway promotions described the Chevelle/OPGI project: “Thanks to our promotional partner Original Parts Group, Incorporated, this 1970 SS396 Chevelle features the most-correct restoration components available in the world today. It was specially chosen to represent Original Parts Group at this year’s Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show in November 2017. The car will be on display inside the OPGI booth at the event along with OPGI’s own 1987 Buick Grand National. When you enter to win the 2017 Chevelle Dream Giveaway, you’ll be in the running for this time capsule, Concours-restored 1970 SS396 Chevelle Sport Coupe. Plus, Dream Giveaway will pay $10,000 toward the taxes.”

If you would like to enter the 2017 Chevelle Dream Giveaway, simply visit http://www.dreamgiveaway.com/dg/chevelle to obtain an entry form and see all of the rules, regs and requirements. We will now close this story with two additional photos of the Chevelle you can feel free to drool over!

Shop for restoration parts at www.opgi.com.

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Posted in Car Shows, Industry News

Now Available! New Parts for Classic Cadillacs

More than just another General Motors (GM) brand, over the last 50 years the Cadillac nameplate has become synonymous with the highest possible levels of style, luxury and quality in the automotive marketplace. While other top tier automakers like Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes (and others) have long shared domination of the European marketplace, here in the United States Cadillac stands alone at the top of the hill.

Cadillac’s consistent emphasis on high-style combined with cutting-edge technology enable it to earn its place as America’s premier luxury car brand. Although Cadillac’s heavy use of fins and chrome might have been a bit over the top at times, Cadillac customers seem to have embraced all of the brand’s large and luxurious vehicles up to the present day. However, it is the cars from the mid-’50s to the mid-’70s that are thought to be the most attractive and most stylish cars Cadillac ever made. Not surprisingly, that same group of classics also represents the cars that most Cadillac enthusiasts want to restore, and that’s great, because here at Original Parts Group Inc., we naturally encourage all restoration projects. However, you’ve got to have the right parts to complete any restoration project and the supply of some classic Cadillac parts has been scarce to non-existent for years now. General Motors is not going to help as it has no plans to make new parts for old cars now or in the future, and that situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.

The availability of new factory-style parts for classic Cadillacs now rests solely in the hands of the aftermarket. Original Parts Group, Inc. strives to address the needs of classic Cadillac enthusiasts with the best new reproductions of parts that have been unavailable since GM stopped supplying them many years ago. OPGI currently offers thousands of exact-reproduction, factory-style restoration parts and accessories to fit the most popular 1954 to 1976 Cadillac models, and new parts are being added to the catalog all the time.

The latest group of Cadillac components to be added to the OPGI catalog is a batch of new parts bearing the RESTOPARTS® name. RESTOPARTS is OPGI’s proprietary line of exact, authentic reproductions of the original GM products and are manufactured on brand new tooling to the highest standards of fit, finish and function. This means all RESTOPARTS parts are built and backed by the trusted OPGI name and guaranteed to be premium reproductions that deliver the quality and durability you’ve come to expect.

1961-62 & 1964 Cadillac Tail Fin Lens.

These Cadillac tail lamp lenses are injection-molded on brand new tooling developed from genuine NOS parts. Made of red acrylic for a totally authentic appearance, each lens also features the correct GUIDE, SAE and LH/RH markings on the lens face just like the original equipment from General Motors (GM). Built to exact GM contours and dimensions to assure a perfect fit, these lenses cover all Cadillac models for the years, 1961, 1962 and 1964. Part # CE15732-PR applies to a pair of rear lenses for the year 1961. Part #CE11221-PR is a pair of lenses for all 1962 models and part number CE11228-PR covers 1964. (#CE11221 shown)

1959-64 & 1971-78 Cadillac Step Plates

A set of shiny new door sill step plates are a great welcoming feature when entering your car and they are also a very easy upgrade you can do at home. Door sill step plates are not exactly exterior items as they are not visible when you sit inside your car with the doors closed. They are highly visible any time the door is open though and old worn out sills will definitely degrade your car’s appearance. These bright-dipped, anodized aluminum doors sills from RESTOPARTS come in three versions; years 1959 and 1960 have a square-tag (#CE00210) and Cadillac crest in the center. Years 1961 through 1964 (#CE00211) get sills with an oval Cadillac crest. And finally, Caddies from 1971 through to 1978 get sills with a “Fleetwood/Body by Fisher” tag riveted in place (#CE00217).

(#CE11223 Tail Lamp Lenses)



(#CE11291 Back-Up Lamp Lens)


1963 Cadillac Tail Lamp and Back-Up Lenses

Owners of 1963 Cadillacs will be glad to learn that OPGI has their tail lamp and back-up lamp lens needs completely covered. Both lenses fit all 1963 models and are injection-molded in the correct acrylic plastic to exact GM specifications. Both lenses also feature the correct GUIDE, SAE and LH/RH markings right on the lens face just like the original equipment from GM. Specify part # CE11223 for the red tail lamp lens and #CE11291 for the back-up lamp lenses.







(#CE11165 Plate Lens Only)

1963 Cadillac License Plate Lamp Assembly

Brand new, factory accurate license plate lamp assemblies for 1963 Cadillacs were not available anywhere until OPGI stepped up to the plate. Now, OPGI offers a complete assembly under part #CE15741. The lens cover (# CE11165) and lens gasket (# CE06889) are also available separately. Ditch that ugly plate lamp on your Caddy and replace it with a brand new assembly from OPGI that features an injection molded clear lens marked with the correct GUIDE markings and diffuser lines. These lamp assemblies will fit all Cadillacs made in 1963.

1963 Cadillac DeVille Hood V Emblem

The last new Cadillac product in this batch of RESTOPARTS is a shiny, new V Hood Emblem to fit the original 1963 Cadillac DeVille. Because they are mounted prominently front and center on the giant DeVille hood, a damaged or missing Hood V Emblem is just about impossible to ignore. Get your own flawless, bright chrome plated “V” under OPGI # CE08381.


Shop for Cadillac at www.opgi.com. Now OPGI offers and expanded line of Cadillac parts – back to 1936 and forward to 1993!

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Posted in Body Moldings & Trim, Emblems & Nameplates, Tail Lamps

Get a Handle On It – Door Handles, Mirrors and More

Original door handles and exterior mirrors are components that are always exposed to the elements and as a result, they often look far more battered and worn than the rest of your classic GM car, especially if the final paint and body work has already been completed. Interior door handles, window cranks and mirrors can take a lot of abuse too, and they can also look pretty worn out inside an otherwise immaculately restored interior. Although preserving original General Motors (GM) parts can be important to the originality of a restoration, brand new old stock factory replacement parts like handles and mirrors are simply not available anymore. Please note – the examples here are for Chevelle. You can select your year, make and model easily at OPGI.com

There is not much that looks better on your ride than a brand new set of door handles. These jewel-like handle sets manufactured by RESTOPARTS® are triple chrome plated exact reproductions of the factory GM units. The handles feature case-hardened steel and die cast zinc alloy along with the finest stamped hardware and spring reproductions for a flawless fit, finish and function. Kits for four-door cars are also available. Each front set includes: A pair of chrome outside door handles, two door handle gaskets, chrome push-buttons with rods, and the O-rings, springs and retainers necessary to mount them.

Exterior mirrors always take a beating due to their location that is exposed to the elements.  When they become worn and rust-pitted, they can really detract from an otherwise great looking car. This new RESTOPARTS-manufactured pair of exact GM factory spec mirrors will enhance the look of any car. There is simply no comparison on the market to our precision set (pictured above) for ’69-’72 Chevelles, El Caminos and Monte Carlos. OPGI also carries a wide selection of mirrors for all GM A, B, C, E, and G-Body vehicles. These factory-identical reproductions of the originals feature the correct factory “bump” or rib-line and a casehardened die-cast zinc end ball to protect against “mirror droop”. Each mirror set also includes a premium mounting kit with authentic molded (not pressed) gaskets, mounting brackets and required screws.

If you have damaged or worn out original handles and mirrors it might be possible to refurbish them or clean them up a bit, but only to a point. Chrome plated parts don’t really take well to vigorous scrubbing, although with some patience, luck and some #0000 steel wool, you might be able to revive the original chrome to the point where it might look decent from several feet away. However, if the rest of your vehicle is immaculate, it is highly unlikely that the old chrome parts will match the level of a good restoration. Instead, they will probably stick out like a sore thumb on an otherwise great looking car.

Because the factory replacement mirrors, door handles and window crank assemblies are no longer available from GM, Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) has responded by manufacturing a wide range of new premium reproduction assemblies that are identical to the original equipment in appearance, fit and function, as well as being triple chrome plated for durability and long-lasting brilliance. Whether your car needs new door handles, or a set of mirrors, OPGI manufactures complete, factory-correct reproduction mirrors and interior/exterior handles and cranks for all of the most popular classic cars from Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, and Cadillac. The precisely cast steel or die cast zinc components from OPGI also contain all of the buttons, springs, gaskets and mounting hardware necessary to get your ride handled properly (pun intended).

No more droopy mirrors! Don’t forget that OPGI also offers new RESTOPARTS-manufactured interior mirrors that are factory-exact, stainless steel-backed reproductions featuring hardened zinc, die cast attachments and end balls to ensure the mirror stays in place, securely in the pocket – where you want it!

OPGI components are all top quality items that meet or exceed the original factory specifications and many customers have noted that the OPGI parts actually look and perform better than the original equipment did when new. Because your mirrors, door handles and window cranks (or power window buttons) are highly visible from just about any view of the car inside or out, it is important that they look as good as possible. Whether your car is a daily driver or a show vehicle, it simply won’t look correct with anything less than absolutely perfect replacement parts, and when you shop at OPGI, you can count on getting what you need the first time, and every time.

Interior window cranks (as well as power window push button assemblies) can often look worn and permanently dirty from years of use. New RESTOPARTS window crank handles (available with clear or black knobs) will cure that situation! Designed to fit and function just like the original equipment, each crank is precisely cast for a perfect fit.

Whether you drive a Chevy, a Buick, an Olds, a Pontiac or even a classic Caddy, OPGI has the bases covered when it comes to handles, mirrors and much more!

Shop for restoration parts at www.opgi.com.

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Posted in Auto Body Parts, Body Moldings & Trim, Interior Accessories, Interior Trim

Stop & Turn: Brake & Suspension Mods

When Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) started working with the guys from HOT ROD Garage on the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 tribute car known as “The Executive Chevelle,” the project broke new ground. The Chevelle was built from the start as a modified car using aftermarket parts and as such was the first vehicle in the OPGI fleet that was not built out as a 100%, factory-spec restoration. At the time, the stated purpose of the project was “To create a car that has the clean look of a 1970’s muscle car on the outside with modern power and reliability hidden inside.” If you think about it, that statement could be true for most classic car projects, as the owners want to retain the looks and style of the old days in cars that feature enough “modern performance” to keep up with today’s traffic and road conditions. The only problem with that balance is that the standard of performance today is pretty high, and the bar keeps getting higher. While yesterday’s V-8 powered muscle car classics still have plenty of power to keep up with modern traffic, their ability to stop and turn is a different matter entirely.

There is just no way the factory suspension setup on a 40-year-old car can handle like the latest batch of new Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros that come from the factory equipped with big disc brakes, multiple sway bars, high-tech shocks and modern suspension geometry. The good news here is that you really don’t have to settle for the limited performance of a 40-year-old suspension system any more. Thanks to an abundance of aftermarket suspension components, you can retrofit modern, high-performance suspension and braking components right onto your classic ride. Any car that handles and stops better is also a safer car, and that’s a win for everyone on the road.

StreetGrip Suspension Systems from Ridetech are an affordable approach to better handling that is designed to beef up a factory suspension system without replacing the entire suspension system under the car.

When it comes to stopping power, many older cars from the ’60s have drum brakes at all four corners. At best you might find a pair of small factory disc brakes on the front of your car. Both setups are inadequate compared to the brakes found on modern cars today and considering the weight of car, factory braking systems from the old days are just plain unsafe unless you really don’t plan on driving the vehicle much. It goes without saying that high performance driving duties are pretty much out of the question with most of the old braking systems. The good news here is that there is a wealth of new disc brake conversion kits available from the aftermarket today. You can easily find a better brake setup to upgrade the stopping power of just about any classic car these days.

A complete suspension upgrade kit like this “Speed Kit” from Detroit Speed includes new a-arms to help transform the ride and handling of your classic muscle car.

OPGI offers a variety of high quality braking components from brands like Classic Performance Products, Wilwood, SSBC, Russell and more. From complete conversion kits to individual braking components and the hardware to install them, you’ll find everything you need to beef up your brakes in the OPGI catalog today. You can rebuild an original drum brake system, replace individual GM factory (drum and disc) braking components or upgrade to a completely new disc brake system all the way around. If you go with larger wheels, you can install larger discs that have been cross-drilled, gas-slotted and zinc washed. Combine top quality rotors with larger multi-piston calipers for even more braking performance.

New polyurethane bushings are an economical way to tighten up your suspension. Your car will track straighter under braking thanks to firmer bushings that will not deflect as much as the worn-out rubber bushings that are probably under your car right now.

Along with a brake upgrade, it might be a good idea to check out some suspension mods available to keep your wheels planted more firmly on the ground. Even if you’ve got great brakes, an overly soft or worn factory suspension system on a 40-year-old car can still make stopping and turning a challenge. Great handling is not just about smoothing out bumps in the road, as we found when we upgraded the suspension on the Executive Chevelle with a complete Hotchkis Stage I Total Vehicle System Handling Package along with new Chevelle spindles, steering arms, tie rods and center link from OPGI. When we tested the combined effects of Wilwood disc brakes and the Hotchkis suspension setup on the Chevelle at a local autocross course we found that the Chevelle ran the course a full 4 seconds faster in modified mode. Four seconds is an eternity on a short autocross track with an overall lap time of about one minute. Prior to the mods the Chevelle wallowed through the turns knocking down cones and the overall stopping distances got longer and longer as the factory brakes got hot. After the mods, the overall handling felt more precise, turns were flatter and the car stopped when we wanted it to. In modified mode our 40-year-old Chevelle felt ready to take on any road or track situation with new confidence. That’s why OPGI offers a wealth of components and kits from top brands like Detroit Speed, Hotchkis, QA1 Motorsports, Ridetech, Moog, Moser and others to tighten up the handling of just about any suspension system. As with the improved brakes, the new suspension system with better sway bars and shocks made the OPGI project Chevelle a safer handling vehicle out on the road, and that’s where it counts the most.

Adding larger sway bars front and rear like these “Sport Suspension” bars from Hotchkis will go a long way toward improved handling, especially on cars that lack a rear bar altogether. The Hotchkis bars are tubular designed and feature greaseable bushings along with heavy-duty mounting brackets and end links.


Shop for car brakes and suspension at www.opgi.com.

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Posted in Brakes, Suspension

Premium Stereo Technology for Classic Cars

Restoration of a classic car is usually performed in steps. After you’ve overhauled the drivetrain and made the exterior look perfect, a good next step would be getting passionate about the level of creature comforts you have planned for the interior. How your car sounds is an important aspect of that comfort and we’re not talking about the roar of your engine through the exhaust – we’re talking about entertaining sounds, the kind that should be emanating from your car audio sound system.

Here at Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) we know that our customers have a wide variety of musical tastes, and that’s why OPGI offers a wide variety of custom auto sound solutions. The auto sound industry has come a long way in the last two decades, and the result is the ability to set up the audio system of your dreams inside just about any car. Car audio systems have benefited greatly from the stream of constantly improving technology as most of the components have gotten smaller and more powerful at the same time. This has also allowed designers to create more compact systems that are totally unobtrusive in a classic car.

Although OPGI does not address the “maximum sound pressure” types of audio systems that some audiophiles build to compete for “Most/Loudest Decibels” awards, you can build a boomin’ sound system with OPGI components, and it will look good in your classic car, too.

Custom Autosound stereo head units feature OEM style pushbuttons and knobs along with the car’s brand name or logo.

These days, you can install a state-of-the-art system bristling with power and the latest high-end technology to show off your good taste. Or, like many of our customers, you may want a more understated system that pumps out the high wattage in a more stealthy and stock appearing package. For purists that desire to maintain their car’s vintage-correct appearance, the latest generation of stereo radio/power units from Vintage Car Audio and Custom Autosound USA offer something to fit all of the most popular classic GM cars.

Stereo/Radio head units from Vintage Car Audio allow you to choose from either the 100 Series (100 watts) or 300 Series (200 watts). Both are available with black or chrome faces.

Both Vintage Car Audio and Custom Autosound offer powerful, modern audio components with retro-looks that are easy-to-install, making them perfect for people restoring their own cars. In most cases, the units are custom fit to each vehicle application and look completely original in a classic dashboard setting without requiring any cutting or modification of the car’s original dash. This allows the installation of modern stereo features into a classic car without having to sacrifice the original factory appearance.

         These premium Kenwood dash speakers are designed to fit right into GM A-Body locations without any modifications to the car or the speakers.

Car audio speakers are better than ever today as well. Modern speakers (like the Kenwood units from Vintage Car Audio) utilize the latest technology to deliver tighter bass sounds as well as improved overall clarity when compared to car audio speakers from just a decade ago. You can choose from speakers designed to fit your specific GM A-body factory mounting locations (without modifying your dash) or perhaps choose custom plastic kick panels with pre-cut speaker openings (available with or without the speakers pre-installed).

An iPod Integration Kit will allow hassle-free connection of your iPod or iPhone to nearly any FM radio head unit.

OPGI also offers all of the ancillary accessories necessary to install a modern sound system in your classic car. Antennas, faceplate bezels, speaker assemblies, and mounting brackets all help make installation a hassle-free affair. Adding modern technological interfaces with iPod integration, Bluetooth amplifiers, and remote operational controls is also a snap when you have the right components. You’ll find a wealth of great auto sound options inside every OPGI catalog and on the OPGI website too. For more information on specific applications, availability and pricing, visit OPGI.com or contact an OPGI Sales Representative directly for more details.

Shop for car audio/stereos at www.opgi.com. The link provided here will take you to audio equipment and accessories for Chevelle, but OPGI carries a wide range of these products for your car, too. Enter your year and model to see all the optionsl

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Posted in Articles, Body - Electrical, Car audio

OPGI’s 5 Top Tech Tips: Weatherstripping

Everyone knows that new weatherstripping can tighten up the fit and sealing of a vehicle’s doors, windows and trunk (and more) to make the overall driving experience quieter, cleaner and more comfortable. What fewer people seem to recognize is just how much extra noise (and extra fumes!) we are bombarded with during every day driving. Drivers seem to ignore the fact that the seals on the body of the car can slowly age to the point of total deterioration as a car gets older, and when you’re dealing with classic cars, it is pretty much guaranteed that you’ll need new weatherstripping at some point in the restoration process.

The seals around doors and doorframes can crack with age or may have holes worn through from use. Over time, weatherstripping ages and gets harder simply through exposure to the atmosphere. If the rubber has lost its pliability and can no longer spring back when you squeeze it between your fingers, it can’t make a proper seal around your doors either, and replacement is in order. You don’t have to wait until you can see the pavement through the door seams to install new weatherstripping though! Thankfully, installing new weatherstripping is an affordable upgrade you can perform at home.

#1. Too Much = Too Tight
Although new weatherstripping needs to fit tightly and securely everywhere it is installed on a vehicle, you don’t want to over-do it by using too much, using multiple layers or using materials that are too thick for the job. This can make your doors and windows very difficult to close. Instead, use only the recommended amount of weatherstripping that is designed and made for your vehicle’s specific application. Individual weatherstripping components as well as complete weatherstripping kits are available for almost all popular GM classics and they are accurately designed to ensure correct fit and easy installation on your specific vehicle.

#2. Maybe the Old Weatherstripping is Still Usable
If you think your old weatherstripping may be in pretty good shape but it is letting in air or water get through in just one or two very small areas, try applying extra weatherstripping adhesive under the loose portions, or use a clear silicone sealer to seal the specific areas that leak. If the old rubber still has some pliability, it can still probably make a good, if somewhat temporary, seal.

#3. Match the New to the Old
When installing new weatherstripping, first check to see whether the new weatherstripping is exactly the same as the old seals you’re replacing. The new weatherstripping should have the exact same shape, thickness, holes, channels, and rubber studs on the inside as the original parts you are removing. Obviously, if the new seal is lacking the exact same dimensions and specs, it won’t install or seal correctly.

#4. Plan for Some Seal Shrinkage
Most new weatherstripping materials will shrink a bit and flatten into place after the glue sets up and the surfaces are opened and closed with pressure. You can account for this shrinkage by leaving an extra 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch of seal material (that can be trimmed later) so that you will have a perfect seal after the rubber flattens into place through use.

#5. Start Down Low
When installing new weatherstripping, begin the installation and gluing process in the center of the lowest portion of each seal, as that is where splashed-up water will most likely gather before it drains out and exits the vehicle. This would be the bottom-center location for inner doors, windows and windshields, and around the striker plate in the trunk. Closing the seam with proper-fitting weatherstripping in these areas helps ensure that any water trapped inside the seals or in the doorjambs in that area will drain away properly and not promote rust situations in the same area later on.

#1. The seal material must lay flat or your doors and windows won’t close properly when the weatherstripping is bunched up or layered in any one spot.

#2. If your existing weatherstripping is still somewhat pliable it can probably still do its job temporarily.

#3. The new weatherstripping must have the exact same dimensions and specs as the seals you remove or it won’t install or seal correctly.

#4. New weatherstripping materials will shrink a bit in length after the rubber flattens into place through use.

#5.  Begin the installation and gluing process by starting in the center of the lowest portion of each seal as that is where moisture is most likely to collect.

Shop for restoration parts at www.opgi.com.

Click this link for weatherstripping. The example is for a 1970 Chevelle, but OPGI offers a complete weatherstrip selection for all years and models.

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Posted in Auto Body Parts, Body Moldings & Trim, Interior Soft Trim, Interior Trim, Weatherstripping & Seals

OPGI’s “New” 1987 Buick Grand National Comes Home

The latest addition to OPGI’s fleet of perfectly restored GM classics needed no restoration work at all. With just 9,797 miles on the odometer, this 1987 Buick Grand National was delivered to OPGI in better-than-excellent condition. The purchase included everything but that “New Car Smell” from 30 years ago.

In addition to the primary business of supplying and manufacturing restoration and high-performance parts for classic GM cars, Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) also maintains its own fleet of restored cars for in-house parts testing and use as display vehicles in advertising, at trade shows, car shows and other special events. Of course, it goes without saying that all of OPGI’s classic cars have been completely restored to the highest degree of original authenticity using OPGI parts. Every car in the OPGI fleet has its own story to tell, and the most recent addition to the fleet has proven no different in that respect.

Original Parts Group acquires its cars in many different ways. After purchase, some cars are rebuilt from the ground up, while others might be purchased in nearly totally restored condition. However, most of the time it’s somewhere in the middle. OPGI buys cars that are partially built and proceeds to build them some more. The procedure for a full rebuild of an OPGI classic usually involves sending a car out for a full-frame-off restoration and drivetrain rebuild. Of course, OPGI supplies all of the restoration parts and related accessories needed for each restoration/transformation job, but work on the engines, transmissions, and final paint and body work is usually handled by outside partners or suppliers.

Today, we would like to introduce the latest addition to OPGI’s fleet of classics with the 1987 Buick Grand National (GN) you see displayed here. With the upcoming release of OPGI’s tenth and newest annual parts catalog aimed at Buick Regal variants and the 2017 SEMA Show looming large in the not-too-distant future, OPGI’s “new” car this year just had to be a Buick Grand National. However, unlike the majority of the cars in the OPGI fleet, this Grand National did not need a rebuild of any kind, or any new parts at all for that matter. That’s one of the perks when you buy a 30-year-old car with less than 10K miles.

When was the last time you saw a 30-year-old set of GM car keys in this condition?

Several months ago, Casey Mohr and Tony Giroux of the OPGI Sourcing Team were tasked with finding a nice clean Grand National that could be restored back to original specs and performance. Making that task difficult was the fact that Buick didn’t make too many of these cars in the first place, and the ones they did make seem to have already been snapped-up by savvy purchasers who know that their cars are both rare and desirable these days. They are also immensely fun to drive, thanks to the turbo-charged 3.8L V6 putting out 235 hp and 330 lb-ft. of torque. At the time, the 1987 GN was one of the quickest cars on the road and performance enthusiasts could not help but notice that the little turbo V6 allowed quarter-mile times that were faster than the latest V8-powered Chevrolet Camaros of the day.

After scouring the “Grand National For Sale” ads in all the usual  (and some unusual) places, it looked like Casey and Tony were going to have to make at least several different road trips to examine and hopefully purchase one of the handful of cars available that met most of our requirements. Unfortunately for the Sourcing guys, the best cars were strung across the country from west to east, and many were scattered at points up and down the East Coast from New York to Florida. Then, as if by providence, Tony discovered a clean, low mileage GN listed for sale in the San Francisco/Bay area Craigslist. The pieces of a deal were starting to fall into place when Casey volunteered that he had a friend in the Bay Area who might be able to examine and photograph the car for them, negating the need for an initial trip to San Francisco. Perfect.

The first batch of photographs sent to OPGI concerning the purchase of the car included this small but very important detail photo of the GN’s odometer showing the mileage to be just 9,797 miles. The passage of over 30 years time is not apparent anywhere on this car.

Casey’s friend Drew Alexy from the little town of Danville, California met with the car’s owner (Tarek Mohamed), took over 75 photographs, and then forwarded them to Casey along with a general, glowing report on the car. In real estate deals, brokers often tout the main feature of a house as being “Location, location, location!” When it came to Drew’s initial report on the desirability of Tarek’s Grand National, he could have saved some time by simply shouting “Mileage, mileage, mileage!” The figure of  9,797 miles means that this entire Grand National has an odd sort of time capsule status about it.  Other than a few very minor details involving the passage of a few decades, this GN is “right off the showroom floor” and nearly brand new in many important ways, both inside and out.

Upon further examination and negotiation, the mileage was verified by service receipts and a deal was struck. The 1987 Buick Grand National formerly belonging to Tarek Mohamed of Oakland, California would now belong to Original Parts Group, Inc. Because this car and absolutely every part on it are nearly in brand new condition, it requires no lengthy rebuild and can be pressed into service in the OPGI test fleet right away after a quick general tune-up and the addition of fresh fluids and perhaps some new tires as well. The paint is original, the tires and brakes are original, and there is no wear on the seating surfaces at all. And the turbocharged V6 is very strong! This car is as close to a brand new 1987 Grand National as it gets.  Even the ignition keys look oddly “clean” without marks or wear on them of any kind. The less than 10K on the odometer indicates not even enough miles to properly break the car in. Despite its age, it is a new car in many ways.

Bringing home the bacon. Caser Mohr and Tony Giroux from OPGI’s Sourcing Department were tasked with a nationwide hunting trip that ended with the successful capture of a fully-mature Buick Grand National with a youthful 9,797 miles on the odo. Here the team gasses up Tony’s Silverado at a Shell station off the 5 Freeway outside of Kettleman City, California, a place that Casey described as “The Actual Middle of Nowhere.”

Despite some dust, light rain and squashed bugs, the Grand National arrived back at OPGI Headquarters no worse for the wear….and the mileage on the odometer stayed exactly the same.

All parties agreed to all terms and conditions, and the last remaining bit of business was to physically go up to the Bay Area, put the car on a trailer, and take it home to OPGI Headquarters in Seal Beach. Casey and Tony agreed to finish what they had started and Tony even volunteered the use of his own Duramax-equipped Silverado to haul the OPGI trailer and the Grand National back to Seal Beach. The “new” OPGI Grand National is a beauty, and even though it was “all the way up” in the Bay Area, that’s a lot better than driving to Jacksonville, Florida and back to secure it. Something like that that would have been an unpopular “ride to remember” for sure!  For Casey and Tony, the actual trek was not too bad and the duo didn’t even have to stay at bad motels thanks to the hospitality of Casey’s Aunt and Uncle who live in the small town of San Ramon near the Bay Area. Staying with Casey’s relatives at least assured that their road trip would include good food, clean beds and good company!

Look for more coverage of OPGI’s “new” Grand National coming up soon. The car will be appearing in both Web and print advertising, and with the 2017 SEMA Show coming up in just a few months, the Grand National will make an appearance there, too!

Always looking ahead. It looks like Tony is already prepping OPGI’s new Grand National for an upcoming display or show venue.

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Industry News, New Products

OPGI’s Top 5 Tech Tips: Sheet Metal Installation

It’s a pretty good bet that when you restore a vehicle, no matter the make, sheet metal work will be in your future. It’s becoming pretty rare to find a classic car out there that is rust free or in no need of any panel repair. Obviously, this is a factor when shopping for your next restoration project. If you choose a brand that has a plentiful supply of restoration parts available and you have the equipment, you can pick something that is in rougher shape. You can rest easy knowing that sheet metal parts such as floor and trunk pans, quarter panels and fenders are available. That being said however, sheet metal work does take skill and practice, even if it seems as straightforward as cutting a rusty panel out and replacing it with an identical new panel. If this sounds like something you would like to tackle, the following five tech tips will give you some pointers on successful panel replacement.

Click here to shop OPGI’s  selection of sheet metal.

OPGI’s Top 5 Tech Tips: Sheet Metal Installation

#1. Seek professional help. If this is the first time you have attempted to replace or repair sheet metal on your project, seek professional help. Do not start cutting on your car without researching what is involved and the equipment required. The internet has become an excellent resource in the form of forums, dedicated websites and thousands of Youtube videos that show step by step instructions. The number one best help to have is a person who has successfully replaced body panels looking over your shoulder – guiding and giving pointers.

#2. Do not start cutting until you have the replacement panel as a reference. One of the biggest mistakes amateurs make when replacing panels is cutting away the old sheet metal before having the new panel as a reference. It’s very easy to cut away too much and then be left with gaps you will have to fill. Remember, not every square inch of sheet metal may be available and cutting into an area where there isn’t a replacement patch or panel to be had will require some fabricating.

#3. Be careful not to warp the metal when welding. When welding sheet metal, be mindful of how much heat is being put into a single spot. Jump around the seam while tacking and let the weld cool before moving back to a previously welded area. This will ensure even heat distribution and limit the chance of any of the metal warping.

#4. Have the right tools available. When replacing sheet metal, it makes all the difference in the world to have the right tools available. Not only is it more efficient, it’s also much less stressful. Cut-off wheels, grinders, spot weld drills, chisels, magnets, measuring tools and of course safety equipment are all essential in replacing body panels correctly the first time.

#5. Support the body when changing structural panels. Before an entire floor pan is cut out and removed, especially in a convertible, it’s necessary to reinforce the rest of the body by welding pieces of metal from the cowl to the door striker area and from side to side. This will maintain the structural rigidity of the body and ensure it won’t collapse in on itself before the new pan is welded in.

#1 Seek professional help

#2. Do not start cutting until you have the replacement panel as a reference

#3. Be careful not to warp the metal when welding

#4. Have the right tools available

#5. Support the body when changing structural panels

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Posted in Uncategorized

OPGI’s Top 5 Tech Tips: Cooling System

The cooling system is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. It requires regular inspection and maintenance of all the components to ensure optimum performance. At heart of the cooling system is the radiator. This wonderful invention is responsible for cooling the engine coolant and maintaining system temperatures. Bigger engines, higher horsepower and air conditioning will quickly find the limit of an inadequately sized radiator or poorly maintained components. Even a small failure will have you on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Use the following five tech tips to help you keep your car on the road and your cooling system happy.

OPGI’s Top 5 Tech Tips: Cooling System

#1. Make sure that your current radiator or new radiator is the adequate size for your particular application. A radiator that is too small for any application will not provide adequate cooling especially if you plan on having air conditioning. Engine size, power output and accessories will dictate what radiator you should run. For example, using a radiator for a 6-cylinder car that has a 500 hp big-block swap will be inadequate. Call OPGI at 800-243-8355 and we’ll help you determine the correct radiator for your car.

#2. Check to make sure your radiator is not clogged. Symptoms of this are overheating while at freeway speeds, but normal operating temps when driving around town. Visually inspect the core of the radiator. Are the fins excessively beat up or blocked with debris? Make sure the exterior of the radiator is clean and not damaged. Open the radiator cap and look inside; can you see excessive build-up of deposits on the tubes? Using a radiator flush may help depending on how bad the build-up is. Also, use an infrared thermometer and check the temps at different spots on the radiator. If the results are wildly different from one spot to the next, that could also indicate a blockage.

#3. A properly operating thermostat is essential. Sometimes the coolest thermostat is not always better, so make sure you have one that fits your needs. If your application requires a 195° thermostat, then use it. Never run your vehicle without a thermostat, which could lead to drivability issues.

#4. Fan shrouds are essential to cooling system performance. When these cars were built, they were designed to be used with the correct fan shroud and fan. Make sure that the shroud is not missing or cracked and that the fan does not have any damage. If using electric fans, make sure the air flow (CFM) is enough to provide an adequate amount cool air through the radiator to keep the engine cool.

#5. Inspect your cooling system components regularly. It’s always a good idea to inspect your cooling system on a regular basis. Check for obvious leaks around the hoses, thermostat housing, water pump, radiator and freeze plugs. Is the seal on your radiator cap cracked? Do your hoses look like they have seen better days? Are the hose clamps old and rusted? Be safe and replace. A little investment in maintenance now will save lots of money down the road.

#1. Make sure that your current radiator or new radiator is the adequate size for your particular application

Click here to shop radiators and components.

#2. Check to make sure your radiator is not clogged

#3. A properly operating thermostat is essential

Click here to shop thermostats and accessories.

#4. Fan shrouds are essential to cooling system performance

Click here to shop fan shrouds and accessories.

#5. Inspect your cooling system components regularly

Click here to shop radiator hoses and accessories.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Getting Started in the Collector Car Hobby

The single biggest expense involved with owning a classic car is obviously the initial cost of acquiring the vehicle or building the vehicle in the first place. While there are available collectible vehicles to suit nearly every level of budget out there on the market at any given moment, parking any classic in your garage will present the hurdle of an initial buy-in cost to overcome before you can get started in the game.

After a suitable vehicle is has been built or purchased, there are also other financial factors to deal with concerning your ownership. One, is that you probably should not buy a vehicle purely as an investment. The days of a volatile and constantly appreciating market filled with speculators willing to pay whatever it takes to secure a vehicle are over. Unless you own some ultra-rare classic that was produced in extremely low quantities, it is now a better strategy to simply own something you enjoy using and enjoy just for what it is. Viewing your classic car as a strict financial investment only is likely to disappoint. Your vehicle may or may not appreciate, and there’s no guarantee you’ll come out ahead after a few years of ownership. It’s better to invest in something that you’ll love to own and enjoy being around. That’s a payoff you can’t put into dollars and cents.

Paying the right price to purchase or build the classic car of your dreams is another financial factor to be dealt with. Although prices are mostly determined by the age, condition, features and the scarcity of a vehicle, the market can change quickly, and not always in a good direction. Niche markets within the greater overall collector car marketplace often exhibit their own price adjustment ups and downs.

Finding out later that you paid too much for a vehicle can definitely spoil a lot of the attraction. It won’t help on the investment side, either. Better to research the car(s) you’re interested in thoroughly, and if you can’t or don’t have the ability to become an absolute expert on your targeted vehicle, find someone who is an expert to help you out. You can check the value of a particular car on websites for the National Automobile Dealers Association, Hemmings Motor News and Hagerty Insurance, but finding an actual person who knows the exact model you are buying is better. Classic car clubs in your region as well as some classic car dealers might be willing to help in researching the vehicles you’re interested in. Don’t overlook these valuable resources and remember, this is one instance where you can never have too much information.

Classic car ownership presents yet another ongoing financial factor in the form of the ongoing cost of containment and associated expenses related to maintaining your vehicle once you have it at home, tucked safely in your garage. Garage space has never been free, but it has not been outrageously expensive either – depending on the level of service chosen. Just as you can’t park a valuable classic car in a driveway and forget about it, garage space rental facilities across the country are probably not lacking for customers these days.

The thousands of classics hidden away in commercial rentals are usually watched through 24-hour video surveillance, and many spaces also provide heat, air conditioning and a battery charger when needed. The cars also need to be started up occasionally, or the brakes will seize, the clutch will stick, and the engine will get dry. The more cars you have, the more difficult and expensive this can be. Those with the means often go to great lengths when storing their cars. Comedian and vintage car collector Jerry Seinfeld spent almost $1.5 million to have his own car storage facility built. Well-known collector Jay Leno has a full-time staff on the payroll, their sole job being keeping Jay’s stored cars in tip-top shape. Obviously the average collector cannot go to such lengths, but even the average collector will find that if you can’t store your vehicle at home, even minimal “safe” storage off-site can present another significant cost of ownership.

None of the initial hurdles of collector car ownership are so great that they would diminish the experience of owning and driving a classic car that you love. After the initial costs have been dealt with, you have the rest of your life to get on with the truly important part of this hobby; enjoyment. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?


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Posted in Articles, Industry News


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