PARTS SEEKERS’ PARADISE
A Treasure Trove of Ford and Chevy Truck Parts
THROUGHOUT OUR TRAVELS TO INDUSTRY EVENTS, CUSTOM TRUCK SHOWS, MANUFACTURER WAREHOUSES, OR EVEN JUST SOME RANDOM GUY’S GARAGE, WE OFTEN FIND OURSELVES DISCUSSING THE CURRENT STATE OF THE TRUCK INDUSTRY. Naturally, our opinion on the matter is going to be a little biased, so when we hear that a major industry player like National Parts Depot (NPD) is realizing the same positive trends that we are, our confidence grows, and our reputation strengthens.
For years we’ve been saying that the truck industry is getting stronger by the day, both directly from the factory and in the aftermarket. Ford and Chevy have seen their largest sales increase in trucks and SUVS, more than any other vehicle in their lines, and NPD is seeing a similar massive spike in its aftermarket truck parts category as well. This is excellent news for readers and our editorial team because it means that we’ll have lots of content to bring to our extremely supportive audience every month. But enough about us, let’s get to know more about NPD.
What started as a simple garage-based business selling 1955-57 Ford Thunderbird parts has evolved into a massive aftermarket parts superstore in which any enthusiast would love to get lost. If it wasn’t for Kimber, marketing director for NPD and our extremely helpful tour guide, we probably would have gotten lost ourselves and been forced to beg a ride with one of the warehouse employees. (They move through the massive building on three-wheeled bikes.) With a total combined floor space of 375,000 sq-ft, you can understand why NPD’S employees would rather take a ride when the sales guys need a part up front. Success like this definitely doesn’t come easy, but with a history of hard-working and dedicated businessman in the family tree, guys like Rick Schmidt (vice president and COO of NPD) are confident that they can get the job done.
Now more than 40 years after Rick’s father Jim started the business in his basement,
both father and son oversee 570,000 sq-ft of fully stocked warehouses around the country, more than 150 full-time employees and nearly 110,000 unique parts available in store and online. The numbers are impressive and a little surprising, but once you get to know the company or any of the team members, you quickly realize the secrets of their success, and it’s not the number of SKUS they have in their database.
When customers call NPD they generally have a good idea of what they’re looking for and likely have already done a little research. They call the company to take advantage of the staff’s expert advice before purchasing a major item they’ve been saving for months to buy. The peace of mind you feel after ordering parts from a solid, reliable company is second to none: no worries about being overcharged, no damaged or secondhand parts and extremely helpful advice about the installation. With 500-plus suppliers and multiple locations all over the U.S., NPD is consistently expanding its reach in order to give its customers a smoother shopping experience with faster shipping times and top-of-the-line quality control. Now that NPD has focused its sights on the truck market, we can all get a little more excited about the project we’re ready to build.
Follow along as we walk around NPD’S Ocala, Florida-based headquarters, which just happens to house the Schmidt family’s car and truck collection consisting of more than 160 vehicles in pristine factory condition. We’re not just talking classic cars and Model
Ts, although they have those too, we’re referring to the unrestored showroom-quality trucks they have on display, like a ’98 Chevy SS with only 16 original miles or the ’67 C-10 with just 20.
CLASSIC FORD AND CHEVY TRUCKS ARE DISPLAYED IN A CLIMATE-CONTROLLED FACILITY TO SHOW OFF HOW THEY ARRIVED FROM THE FACTORY. YOU CAN GET A GOOD IDEA WHICH PARTS MIGHT BE MISSING FROM YOUR RIDE ONCE YOU SEE THESE EXAMPLES.
NATIONAL PARTS DEPOT’S MAIN HEADQUARTERS IN OCALA, FLORIDA, HAS A TOTAL COMBINED FLOOR SPACE OF 375,000 SQ-FT.
ABOVE. WAREHOUSE AISLES ARE ALL NEATLY AND STRATEGICALLY ORGANIZED BY MAKE, MODEL AND PART NUMBER. IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, YOU CAN SEE NPD EMPLOYEES ON BIKES BETWEEN THE SHELVES.
ABOVE LEFT.THIS ALL-STAR LINEUP GAVE US CHILLS, ESPECIALLY ONCE WESAW THE ODOMETERS. THERE ARELESS THAN 20 ORIGINAL MILES ON THAT GREEN FORD. THESE TRUCKS ARE IMMACULATE, BUT WE STILL WANT TO CUT THEM UP AND LAY THEM ON THE GROUND— IT’S IN OUR BLOOD.
THE FULL-TIME, IN-HOUSE MECHANIC KEEPS THE COLLECTION IN TIP-TOP SHAPE, SO WHEN THE BOSS PICKS A CAR FOR THE WEEKEND, HE KNOWS IT’S READY TO ROLL.
RICK AND HIS FATHER ALSO COLLECT CONCEPT CARS AND TRUCKS LIKE THESE TWO FORDS.