30th Anniversary of the Annual Seal Beach Classic Car Show

Although many Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) customers know that OPGI is headquartered in Seal Beach, California, it seems not many know where that small beachside community actually appears on a California map. The confusion may stem from the fact that Seal Beach is just one of many small beach towns that populate the California coast along the Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1) as it winds its way through both Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The city of Seal Beach occupies just over 11 square miles of coastal lowlands and wide beaches that offer some of the best seaside scenery anywhere, with “perfect sunset” views that include Seal Beach, Long Beach, mountains, jetties, dolphins, seals, and plenty of surfers. These scenic qualities combined with the charm of a small, California seaside town also make Seal Beach the perfect location for a car show.

This year marked the 30th Anniversary of the Annual Seal Beach Classic Car Show and as in years past, Main Street in Seal Beach closed down to welcome thousands of visitors and hundreds of show cars. A combination of automotive enthusiasts and local businesses, along with the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and the City of Seal Beach, once again worked together to produce one of Southern California’s most memorable free automotive events. With 30 categories of classic cars (and motorcycles) on display, the annual show always offers something for everyone.

As the northernmost beach town in Orange County, the Seal Beach Show seems to draw cars from many different beachside communities up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. A high point of the show for OPGI was that a great many of the cars on display were absolutely stunning examples of our favorite General Motors (GM) classics from the 60s and 70s. Along with many great Chevrolet cars in attendance, there was also a great turnout of Pontiac’s, Buick’s, Caddy’s and Oldsmobiles too. Because it has often been said that a picture is worth “a thousand words,” here’s a photographic look back at some of the best GM classics on display at the recent show.

A long time sponsor of the Seal Beach Car Show, the OPGI booth was surrounded by several OPGI display cars. Here we see the red 1970 “Executive” OPGI Chevelle Project car.

Other OPGI Project cars in attendance included the big-block 1972 El Camino, 1967 Buick Skylark GS and 1968 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.

Al Hartman’s 1968 GTO

 

Alan Rodriguez’s 1970 Buick Skylark

 

Bill Kirchner’s 1962 Catalina

Jim Course & Mark Demer’s Blue 1970 Chevelles

Dan O’Connor’s 1967 GTO

James Daurio’s 1976 Cadillac Eldorado

Tom Williamson’s 1962 Grand Prix, which was featured on the cover of our 2016 Grand Prix Catalog

Jim Fernandez’s 1965 Riviera was just one of many nice Buicks on display.

Jim Huey’s 1967 GTO

Mark Adamson’s 1964 Malibu Convertible

John Chambers’ 1962 Grand Prix

Michael Wettstein’s 1970 GTO

Mike Schuster’s 1970 Malibu

Phil Nathan’s 1968 Riviera

Paul & Loretta Gonzalez’s 1968 Malibu

Rich Kilar’s 1965 GTO

Rick Brown’s 1964 GTO

Robert Berkhart’s 1966 GTO

Rocky Pebley’s 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

Shannon Foster’s 1965 Malibu SS

Rick Lorenzen’s award winning 1970 4-4-2. Rick’s 4-4-2 was chosen to receive the coveted 2017 OPGI Award by the OPGI Sourcing Team.

More great GM classics at the Seal Beach Show….

 

 

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Posted in Articles, Car Shows, Industry News

OPGI Employee Car Spotlight: 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle

It is time to take a look at yet another Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) employee–owned GM classic car. This clean 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle belongs to OPGI Showroom Representative Jeff Miller. Working in OPGI headquarters’ showroom, Jeff gets plenty of face time with the public and is well-known to many of our local customers. However, what most of our customers probably do not realize is that they are actually far more familiar with Jeff’s car than they are with Jeff himself. The reason? Jeff’s Chevelle has been viewed by more people, in more places, than any other car associated with the OPGI brand. To find out why this particular Chevelle has enjoyed this level of attention, we have to travel back to the beginning of Mr. Miller’s ownership.

Jeff purchased the 1971 Chevelle from the original owner in El Monte, California back in 2001. Jeff planned to use the car as his daily driver at the time, and had plans to “fix it up” with OPGI parts over time. For the first two years of ownership, Jeff just drove his car, and didn’t work on it much. At the time the car was green with a green vinyl roof.

Realizing the potential beneficial use of Jeff’s car as a rolling test bed for many of the company’s fine Chevelle products, OPGI’s management approached Jeff with the idea of using his car to complete various technical articles in conjunction with the most popular Chevrolet-oriented magazines and websites at the time. The first of those articles appeared in Super Chevy magazine back in 2003, where Jeff’s Chevelle was fitted with a new suspension system utilizing parts from the OPGI Chevelle catalog. Still wearing its original green paint, the Chevelle appeared in both “before” and “after” photos to display the new suspension setup.

After a few more years of daily driver duty, Jeff was approached by Jim Holloway (of Mothers Waxes & Polishes) with the premise that Mothers wanted to use Jeff’s car to shoot an infomercial. Jeff was told that his car might receive “some extra parts and goodies” in the process. The plan sounded good and when Jeff dropped his car off and picked up a rental car at Mothers’ HQ in Huntington Beach, he told the crew “Just do whatever you want to it.” Little did Jeff know at the time just how important those words would eventually become. That’s because the premise of “shooting Mothers wax infomercials with the Chevelle” was a complete fabrication.

One week later Jeff returned to Mothers to retrieve his car and take a look at a screening of the “infomercial” it appeared in. Jeff was a bit thrown off when he couldn’t find his car anywhere on the premises. His green Chevelle was nowhere to be found. There was a beautiful ’71 Chevelle on display in the shop area, but that was not Jeff’s car – or so he thought.

As you might have guessed by now, Jeff was tricked into leaving his car for a full week of rebuilding and restoration by none other than Chip Foose and his Overhaulin’ TV show team. Jeff’s car was subjected to a complete custom transformation in just one week as the Overhaulin’ crew shot what would become the very first episode of that very successful TV show. The original notes from that first episode revealed the extent of the “trick” when they included this entry: “Jeff works the counter at Original Parts Group in Huntington Beach, CA. Jeff has a rather ratty ’71 Chevelle. The team, led by Chip Foose is ready to turn this ratty rod into a rad rod, but they need to get the car from Jeff, first.”

And that is how Jeff’s “rather ratty ’71 Chevelle” became an instant TV star. In just one week the Foose Team rebuilt, reworked and repainted just about every inch of Jeff’s car. As an Overhaulin’ star, the Chevelle became a radical custom classic car in just 7 days, and as a result, has been viewed over time by an audience of millions thanks to the extensive television coverage the show enjoys.

Following its debut on Overhaulin’, Jeff’s Chevelle was campaigned across the country by the Mothers crew who employed it in the 2004 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour. Given its new radical custom appearance thanks to the Overhaulin’ overhaul, Jeff’s Chevelle has been seen by even more people on the Web, at the SEMA Show and in numerous other car shows as well as a host of various product advertisements and commercials. The ultimate testament to the fame of Jeff’s 1971 Chevelle might be the fact that in 2006 the car was reproduced in two different sizes of die-cast miniatures. You know your car has really “arrived” when you can buy toy versions of it!

Today, the car still appears at selected car shows and Jeff still drives it to work at OPGI occasionally, but not very often – as it has become just too famous and too valuable to risk as an everyday driver.

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Posted in Industry News, OPGI Employee Car Spotlight, Uncategorized

Industry Spotlight: The American Muscle Car Museum

There is a new museum in Melbourne, Florida that we thought would be of interest to our automotive-minded audience. Because Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) focuses on classic GM iron, we felt a new auto museum dedicated to domestic muscle cars might be of particular interest to our customers and guests, especially when the name of the facility is the American Muscle Car Museum.



The new museum houses the collection of Mark Pieloch, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur who amassed a collection of over 250 valuable and interesting vehicles. Back in the 1970s, Mark founded several very successful veterinary supply companies that worked with animal foods, medicines and supplements. Mark started collecting cars in 1978 (beginning with a 1957 Ford Ranch Wagon) and as his pharmaceutical companies grew, so did his car collection. By the year 2000, Mark had collected 50 cars. By 2010 he had 145 vehicles. Today, Mark owns over 250 cars.

The new 123,000 square foot museum facility houses Mark’s 40 year collection in a complex that includes 90,000 sq. ft. of vehicle display area, an 18,000 sq. ft. showroom and an adjacent 15,000 sq. ft. building that serves as an on-site maintenance and restoration facility. The collection is focused on the variety of classic 1950’s to 1970’s American muscle cars that Mark collected over the years. Mark says he did not sell any of his vehicles because he had put so much work into them. He also says that he didn’t do it to make money.

In fact, the museum is operated by a non-profit organization that will manage it as a private museum that will not be open to the general public at all. Instead, it will host non-profit activities and invitation-only car shows exclusively. The stated goal of the new museum is “To provide charitable fundraising activities, car club shows and activities and education for the youth of this country.” Although the museum is not open to the public, there are plenty of charitable events scheduled that will give the public an opportunity to see the cars with a small donation to selected charities.

The museum is literally a display of the “Who’s Who” of American Muscle cars, with 40 different Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars and Trucks, more than 30 Shelby-badged cars, over 80 first place national show winners, and the most extensive Yenko car collection in the world featuring at least one Yenko car for every make and model ever built. Within the collection there are over 60 cars with less than 100 original miles, 30 cars with between 100 to 999 original miles and 25 cars with between 1,000 to 9,999 original miles. In addition to the cars, the collection also has vintage bicycles, auto related neon signs, antique gas pumps, juke boxes, pedal cars, vintage soda coolers, motorcycles, and more related automobilia.

If you find yourself in the eastern central Florida coastal region, give the museum a call at 321-914-4322 to see what events are scheduled. Or just log-on to the American Muscle Car Museum website at https://www.americanmusclecarmuseum.com/ to see a full schedule.

Shop for restoration parts at www.opgi.com.

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Posted in Articles, Car Shows, Industry News

The Cars of Original Parts Group

Here at Original Parts Group, we have a pretty nice collection of cars – some muscle – and some sweet cruisers. We maintain a healthy fleet for parts test fitting, for the show field, and just because we love these wonderful classics! All OPGI cars receive regular maintenance and take their turn being displayed in our showroom located in Seal Beach, California. If you’re in the area, drop on by sometime!

The following are just a handful of our cars, ones we recently took out for a little asphalt pounding. They paused here briefly for a quick photo session before being tucked back inside, safe and sound.

1970 Chevelle SS454 “The Executive” (Click here for the full story)

1970 Olds 4-4-2 W-30 (Click here for the full story)

1987 El Camino SS

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1987-El-Camino-OPGI

1968 Pontiac GTO

1964 Buick Riviera

1967 Buick Skylark GS

The other beauties that reside at OPGI? Here’s what we’ve got hiding in our warehouse…

1965 Chevelle Convertible (Just got through a complete detailing, hence the car cover!)

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1966 Chevelle SS396 (Great color combination, plenty of low end grunt)

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1972 Chevelle SS454 (a ragtop that’ll pin you to your seat)

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1972 El Camino SS454 (Click here for the full story)

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1968 Cadillac Coupe DeVille (A kingpin ride if there ever was one)

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1963 Cadillac Eldorado Hardtop (Yes, a Hardtop, not a convertible. Click here for the story)

1963-Cadillac-Eldorado

1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (Getting detailed by OPGI employee Tony Giroux)

1976-Cadillac-Eldorado

1968 Buick Skylark GS 350 (A cruiser with plenty of style, and torque!)

1968-Buick-Skylark-GS350

Shop for restoration parts at www.opgi.com.

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Posted in Articles

Fully Assembled Center Console Kits for 1966-1972 Chevelle & El Camino, 1970-1972 Monte Carlo

Back in July of 2014 we announced that Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) was producing complete center console reproduction kits to fit the 1966 to 1972 Chevelle and El Camino. At the same time, OPGI also began offering complete center console reproduction kits for the 1970 to 1972 Monte Carlo.

A classic car’s center console is not only the housing for the shifter; it is an interior centerpiece that is both highly visible and an essential control component at the same time. It is also one area of the interior that can really look outstanding when restored to original specs. That’s why OPGI is pleased to offer complete console kits containing everything needed to replace a worn or damaged console in one convenient package.

Manufactured on new tooling by RESTOPARTS®, each individual center console kit component is an exact reproduction of the corresponding factory part, thus ensuring the complete kits meet all OEM specifications for fit, finish and functionality.

* The complete center console reproduction kits for classic Chevelles, El Caminos and Monte Carlos are each available in three different versions to fit 4-speed, Turbo Hydra-Matic, and Powerglide transmissions.
* The kits include everything you need for a complete restoration including console bases, doors, hinges, back light assemblies, finished top plates, correct indicator lenses, dial assemblies, sealing strips, lock latches, screw kits, and even the mounting brackets.
* Consoles bases are injection-molded with correct mounting bosses, factory-authentic grain patterns, satin black paint, bright chrome accents, and brushed aluminum fascia, all features that make them virtually indistinguishable from the original factory parts.
* The fact that all of the center console kit components can also be ordered from the OPGI catalog as separate items adds to the flexibility of restoring existing center consoles as well.

Today, OPGI is pleased to announce that it will also begin offering fully assembled reproduction center console kits. The fully assembled kits can also be ordered with or without shifter assemblies as desired. This means that you can now restore an old console, assemble your own complete replacement console, or simply drop in a brand new completely assembled console. Designed for 1966-1972 Chevelles and El Caminos, as well as 1970-1972 Monte Carlos, OPGI has your center console needs completely covered. For more information on specific applications, availability and pricing, visit OPGI.com or contact your OPGI sales representative toll free at 1.800.243.8355.

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Posted in Interior Accessories, New Products

New Tail Fin Lamp Lens for all 1963 Cadillacs Now Available!

A worn or damaged tail lamp lens can really ruin the appearance of an otherwise excellently restored classic car like the big 1963 Cadillacs. Original General Motors (GM) 1963 tail lamp lenses are not easily restored, and they are not easily replaced either, as new old stock factory parts are simply not available.

That’s why Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) is pleased to announce the availability brand new, exact reproduction tail lamp lenses for all 1963 Cadillac’s. If you’ve got a 1963 Cadillac of any description or any level of restoration, your car will undoubtedly look a lot better with a set of brand new tail lamp lenses. The new lenses are injection-molded on brand new tooling in OEM correct red acrylic and come with factory-accurate horizontal diffuser lines and pre-drilled mounting holes for a perfect-fit installation every time.

The Tail Fin Lamp Lens for 1963 Cadillacs are sold individually under OPGI part # CE11224 for $59.99. The lenses are also sold in pairs under OPGI part # CE11224-PR for $109.99. For more information, visit OPGI.com or contact an OPGI sales representative toll free at 1.800.243.8355.

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Posted in Auto Body Parts, New Products, Tail Lamps

The Pilot Chevelle Story

Back in November at the most recent SEMA Show, we learned something new about Chevelles. It was at the Show that our staff discovered Dave Harter’s ’70 Chevelle SS and learned of its’ history as a General Motors Pilot Car, built for pre-production testing, product development and promotional purposes, and never intended to be sold to the public. Apparently all Pilot Cars were supposed to be crushed when their testing and development lives were over. Pilot Cars were hand-built, non-numbers-matching vehicles and none would have normal build sheets because they were assembled outside of the actual production line.

Although GM built pre-production Pilot Cars across a variety of models and platforms, very few escaped the jaws of the crusher. Records indicate that while there were 49 Pilot Chevelles built for the 1970 model year, perhaps only a dozen made it out of the factory and into the hands of private owners. Of those dozen, it is thought that Dave Harter’s car might be the only restored, registered and rolling 1970 Pilot Chevelle SS still on the road today. How Dave acquired the car and how it came to be restored as-new today is an interesting tale, and one worth sharing.

Dave told us he first spotted his car several years ago in an Auto & RV photo ad magazine published in the Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan area. The ad listed the car as a “1970 Chevelle SS with low VIN number” and said it was located in New Hudson, Michigan. When Dave and his cousin Tony McAfee went to view the car in person, they found a Chevelle that was mostly intact but had been “picked over pretty good” and many parts were missing. The seller stated that he had started to rebuild the car, but abandoned the project due to poor health. Although the cousins could not find a build sheet in the car, they did take note of the unusually low VIN number (136370F100042), and after negotiating a price, Dave brought it home.

Working at home, Dave began disassembly of the car while keeping an eye out for a build sheet. No build sheet was ever found, but Dave did notice that there were mysterious ID Labels in the interior panels that said “PILOT” or “ADVANCED BUILD”.  Next Dave found yellow “PILOT” labels on the trunk (wiring) harness, dome light harness, the fuse block and the firewall. There were also “PILOT” labels on the back side of dash instrument cluster and in the engine bay. By this time Dave realized he had an unusual Chevelle and began researching the codes on the trim tag.

The trim tag codes revealed the car was built in the 3rd week of May (05C) in 1969. It was built with a black vinyl bench seat and the paint code (75 75) indicated Cranberry Red from top to bottom. After contacting the GM Heritage Center for more info, Dave learned that he had something very special. His 1970 Chevelle SS was a rare Pilot Car and this fact dictated a new approach to how he would restore it. As a Pilot Car, Dave decided to retain as much of the original metal as he could and replace only what he had to.  Upon embarking on a complete rotisserie restoration, Dave found that just about every part he removed had a hand written part number on it. The numbers were found throughout the interior, under the hood and even the bright work and window regulators had numbers hand written on them.

Examining the powertrain, Dave found a 396 CE block, with 4 bolt mains, dated Aug 5 1969.  However, the block was incomplete with only the crank, rods and pistons still inside. With more research Dave learned the tach redline indicated the car was an L34 396, not the L78 version, and that the “CE” block was originally a warrantee block or “counter exchange” component.  After locating the correct replacement heads, intake, water pump, carb and distributor (all date correct), Dave enlisted his cousin Tony to rebuild the motor in correct L34 configuration. A rebuilt, code correct TH400 transmission was installed as well.

Dave next enlisted the help of Rick Nelson, owner of Muscle Car Restoration and Design in Pleasant Plains, Illinois to restore the dash, wiring harness and steering column back to factory specs. The dash was a bit unusual as it contained a non-working seat belt light that had no wiring harness to power it. Dave (and GM) speculate that since dash-mounted seat belt lights were first introduced in late 1971, and mandated by the DOT for 1972 builds, the 1970 Pilot Chevelle’s non-functional seat belt light was probably installed for testing purposes only, and not put into actual use.

Although Dave did as much paint and bodywork as he could, he employed Doug Call at T&D Motorsports in Fort Wayne, Indiana to complete the job. Using a small piece of metal that still had factory color on it, T&D used Automotive Art Paints to “match the paint 99% to the original color.” The original frame was restored with new body mount bushings and bolts. The original suspension and brake system were restored. The original bright work was polished and reinstalled and all of the original glass was restored (with exception of the driver’s door glass).

Dave also restored the interior using as many original parts as possible. The original seats were recovered, and the original rear panels and arm rests were retained.  New door panels, carpet, padding and head liner were necessary, and new window cranks and door handles were required as well. The original seat belts dated 1969 were replaced to bring the car up to current DOT safety standards. The SS-style 14×7 wheels are not original to the car, but they are coded and date correct for 1969.

Upon completion of the restoration, Dave set out to find out where his car was originally from and although a few clues led to Ver Hoven Chevrolet in Detroit, Pilot Cars were never supposed to be sold at dealerships at all. Ver Hoven Chevrolet closed back in 1982, and no further information was available as records were not retained when the dealership closed.  Dave Harter is understandably proud of his rare Pilot Chevelle, and says “Being able to get this car back to its original glory and show it at SEMA 2016 was a great experience, and this restoration would not have been possible at all without the help of so many talented and skilled people.”

As found in New Hudson, Michigan…mostly intact but “picked over pretty good” and many parts missing.

The first clue to the rarity of this Chevelle was the ultra-low VIN number.

This Shipping Stub reveals the fact that this was an original Pilot Car.

The “Pilot” designation was evident in many different places inside the car.

Researching the Trim Tag confirmed this car was one of a very few 1970 Chevelle SS Pilot Cars.

The frame and suspension were rebuilt prior to installing a period-correct drivetrain.

The original block was an L34 396 CE  with 4 bolt mains, dated Aug 5 1969. The “CE” designation indicates this was originally a warrantee block or “counter exchange” component.

The rebuilt 396 received a rebuilt, code correct TH400 transmission behind it.

Owner Dave Harter (without headgear) enlisted Doug Call at T&D Motorsports in Fort Wayne, Indiana to handle the paint and body work on the Pilot Chevelle.

Dave Harter and his rare 1970 Chevelle SS Pilot Car. (Photo by Jennifer Andrew)

 

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Posted in Articles, Customer Car Spotlight

Beyond the New Year

2017-predictions

The New Year has arrived and Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) would like to wish all of our customers a Happy New Year! It looks like 2017 will be a very good year for the classic car restoration industry and hobby. The recent proliferation of so many new classic car events, auctions, TV shows, along with rising classic car values, all show that America’s love affair with classic automobiles has not waned.

No one really knows how many unrestored old cars are still out there across the U.S. waiting to be discovered, but given the size of this country, it is probably more than anyone would guess. We firmly believe the classic car industry will continue to grow as new generations enter the game. Even though different demographic groups may enter or leave the classic car restoration hobby, a strong appreciation for the venerable American V-8 powerplant (both classic and modern) is still with us, and the ability to rebuild and restore classic cars has never been easier or more affordable than it is today.

Having stated our optimism, this might also be a good time to look a bit farther forward. It is always fun to hazard a few guesses as to what the future might have in store for the enthusiast community and we have a few predictions to share.

Although interest in vehicles from the ‘20s through the ’40s could decline slightly as the age of car fanatics continues to plunge, we think the demand for quality vintage hot rods will most likely carry on unabated. While prices for vintage hot rods built with radical paint, modern drivetrains and updated suspensions might remain high only as long as the right buyers are found, period-correct cars built with vintage speed parts are becoming much more sought-after, and we feel the values will reflect that going forward. As an aside, the demand for period-correct, prewar vintage motorcycles also appears to be rising right along with the cars.

There is no doubt that the appeal and value of the great cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s is stronger than ever today, and that is unlikely to change tomorrow. However, we do see an increase in the price and demand for ’80’s cars appearing on the horizon. The better cars from ’80’s as well as certain pick-up truck models seem to be enjoying newfound popularity that we feel will continue to grow. Not too surprisingly, a few cars from the ’90’s are also seeing more interest as collectors from younger generations enter the hobby; after all, most enthusiasts seek vehicles that remind them of their youth. Another niche that also appears to be rising in value is that of Japanese cars from the ‘60s through the ’80s. Any time the demand for specific cars begins to outstrip the available supply; the values of those cars will rise accordingly, and as we move toward 2020, it looks like there may be many different cars enjoying new potential.

Speaking of period-correct cars built with vintage speed parts, it appears a sure bet that the recent success of The Race of Gentlemen (TROG) format will likely spawn similar vintage events. Until 2016, The Race of Gentlemen events had been composed of prewar hot rods and vintage bikes engaged in friendly beach-racing competitions held in Wildwood, New Jersey. Last year saw the debut of the first West Coast TROG event (Pismo Beach, California), and despite a weekend of poor weather, the promoters still put on a good overall show, one that we feel could gather some serious steam in coming years. The TROG events have been growing steadily in size, scope, and coverage to the point that we predict there will be different, yet similar events popping up around the country in coming years (and not just on the coasts). The informal TROG “racing” formula provides enthusiasts of different ages a great way to have more fun with their cars (and bikes) instead of just sitting around looking at them on display. Any facet of the classic car experience that helps introduce younger people to the hobby is always a good idea, and TROG certainly falls into that category. However, getting the millennial generation to fully embrace the classic car experience might be a larger challenge. It is probably a bit too soon to ask if we will ever see a “Burning TROG” event attended by thousands of people in the Nevada desert.

Another facet of classic car enthusiasm we are probably going to see a lot more of is the number of classic car restoration and related industry television shows. Thankfully, most of the shows have improved in quality since the first “Pimp My Ride” episodes appeared on the small screen years ago. However, some observers have pointed out that there is very little “reality” in “reality television” and have voiced a desire to see many of the scripted automotive TV shows go away permanently. Unfortunately for those naysayers, reality TV is a very economical formula to put together, and for that reason alone, we believe the automotive TV show genre will continue to multiply. On the plus side, many of the scripted automotive TV shows are actually better than “regular” TV programming, and occasionally, you do get to see some pretty cool cars. Real car guys will obviously want to see more “reality” on the shows, and while there is definitely room for better automotive shows, we suspect there will still be plenty of marginal ones yet to come. Although the market might be close to peak “garage television saturation” right now, we’ll have to wait to see what actually comes next.

Shop for restoration parts at www.opgi.com.

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Posted in Articles, Car Shows, Industry News

OPGI Employee Car Spotlight: 1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Convertible

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Once again it is time to take a look at another Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) employee–owned GM classic car seen at OPGI’s Seal Beach, California headquarters. This clean red 1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 convertible belongs to OPGI Showroom Representative and Huntington Beach resident, David Salisbury. Working in the front showroom, Dave is well-known to many of our local customers. Although he doesn’t drive his ’69 Olds to work every day, he does drive it often enough that most of our Oldsmobile aficionado customers are familiar with both Dave and his car. The car may also be somewhat familiar to Seal Beach residents too, as it was recently pressed into service hauling several local celebrities around in the annual Seal Beach Christmas Parade.

As with many GM classics, Dave’s 4-4-2 has a bit of family history behind it. This car has been in Dave’s family since it was new, and it has always been treasured and taken care of as it passed from generation to generation. Instead of retelling the story we’ve heard, we’ll let Dave tell you about it in his own words:

“I am the proud third-generation owner of this 1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 convertible. The car was built in Fremont, California and has been lucky enough to spend its whole life on the West Coast, as it was originally purchased new by my grandfather in 1969 at an Oldsmobile dealership in Los Angeles. It has a 400 engine, power top, power windows, power disc brakes and factory air conditioning. It even came with a cool vacuum operated trunk release that was an uncommon option in 1969.

After many years of faithful service in its original configuration, my grandfather passed away and my father and I inherited it. My father and I then decided to start replacing some things, and first up was a Stage 4 Interior kit from Original Parts Group. With little issue, everything in the interior kit went in and fit great. Next we turned our attention to the exterior and started replacing things like moldings, bumpers, and other trim items along with most of the brake lights and side markers.

This is obviously a numbers matching car, and we wanted to keep it that way. My dad and I went through the engine back in 1990, and when we tore it down, we found that the block was in such good shape, we did not even have to bore it. We had the crank turned, honed the block, put in some new pistons, added a new cam and buttoned her back up. We rebuilt the transmission a few years later, but the rear end has never been touched and is still going strong. The most recent work we’ve done was to replace all the weatherstripping on the car.

Overall, I’d have to say that I’ve been very blessed to be able to work at a business that has everything I need for my car. However, in some ways all those available parts are a temptation that can also be a curse. I do know that my grandpa is smiling down on me for keeping the car as original as possible, though. I have a lot of fond memories of my grandpa and my dad driving this car. It was the first car I ever drove when I was six-years-old sitting on my dad’s lap. It is also the first car I drove by myself when I was 13. Some people may say that a car is just a car, but for me, this car is a family heirloom and will always be a part of me and my family.”
– David Salisbury

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Posted in Uncategorized

Deluxe 1968-72 El Camino Bed Surround Molding Kit

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Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) has announced the availability of new RESTOPARTS® brand Bed Surround Molding Kits for 1968-72 Chevrolet El Caminos. Although GM no longer offers replacements for these highly visible El Camino exterior trim components, Original Parts Group, Inc. has come to the rescue with brand new and complete Bed Surround Molding Kits. Each Deluxe kit is identical to the original GM factory equipment and is manufactured specifically for 1968-72 Chevrolet El Caminos.

These ultra-high quality kits include stainless steel rails and die-cast zinc and chrome-plated corner pieces. Factory-style mounting clips and screws are included to make every installation user friendly. The Deluxe kit also includes both the left and right corner-to-taillight moldings. Chrome-plated and polished to a high luster, the taillight moldings are also available in pairs or individually, separate from the Deluxe Bed Surround Molding Kit.

The complete Deluxe 1968-72 El Camino Bed Surround Molding Kit is sold under OPGI part # BK1029 for $439.99. The Corner Tail Light Moldings are included in the Deluxe kit, but are also available in separate pairs under OPGI part # PZ00205-PR for $50.89. (Visit OPGI.com or contact an OPGI Sales Representative for more details on separate Corner Tail Light Moldings part numbers). For more information, visit OPGI.com or call toll free: 1-800-243-8355.

Shop for restoration parts at www.opgi.com.

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Posted in Auto Body Parts, Body Moldings & Trim, New Products

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