FEDERATION TAKES ACTION AS PARTS SHORTAGE NEARS CRISIS
FBHVC to pour resources into supply and remanufacture research
Britain’s classic car clubs are having to find new ways of finding spares to keep their cars on the road – because producing new parts is no longer cost-effective for many traditional suppliers in the sector.
Pooled resources to invest in 3D printing, as well as overseas manufacturing, have been mooted as paths to affordable supplies – and spares sourcing is now placed high on clubs’ agendas. This follows a survey by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, after the issue was highlighted at the organisation’s annual meeting.
The report found that at least 60% of clubs are already involved in either sourcing or remanufacturing replacement parts, and another 30% said they expected to be involved with making or sourcing spares. The most difficult items to find are body panels and brightwork.
The full findings of the survey are due to be published in the next few weeks. ‘When we spoke to our affiliated clubs three quarters of them said their members had encountered problems getting parts fro their classics. That shows just how significant an issue this is for classic clubs,’ says communications director Geoff Lancaster. ‘It has strengthened our resolve to help classic owners, not by getting involved in parts remanufacturing ourselves but to do more research, to build up databases of parts suppliers who can help classic owners, and also to build relationships with suppliers and remanufacturers.’
Among organisations that have had problems getting parts is the 6/80 and MO Club. ‘We should be pushing for 3D printing as one of the solutions,’ says club spokesman Colin Poland. ‘We’ve written to the FBHVC and suggested that member clubs pool together to get a 3D printer, which could be used for remanufacturing.’
The Standard Motor Club says it has become involved with parts remanufacturing to supply spares for its members – and is one of the few to get parts liability insurance in order to sell parts to US classic owners.
‘All too often the problem is finding suppliers who can reproduce fairly small quantities of parts at reasonable prices. We have something like 200 different models catered for by our club and there’s not a lot of parts commonality, which means the numbers of parts needed is usually fairly low,’ says vice chairman Phil Homer. ‘We’ve investigated 3D printing but we haven’t been able to make it economical. For us, the cost of suppliers tooling up for things like rubber items is prohibitive.’