Most auto enthusiasts have been there. Your classic car needs a part or accessory, and the hunt begins. Where do you start? Maybe I can help.
This week I was tasked with finding a new car cover for one of my family's three blue-on-blue Z32 300ZX 2+2s. (Yes, we have a problem.)
Sure, I could have just ordered any cover from any number of reputable accessory companies, but I was after a genuine OEM Nissan car cover made for the Z32 300ZX. We have one for each of our cars, and they are each blue.
The natural way
My first step was to start doing quick searches on eBay and Craigslist. The latter is a little harder because Craigslist doesn't give you the ability to search nationwide without using a third-party site. Cursory searches on both showed I wasn't going to find what I wanted.
Next, I turned to the forums. Sure, the idea of jumping into that black hole may give you night terrors, but the passion people share for a specific make and/or model is amazing. These are the people who may have what you need, and they are often willing to share or negotiate.
Unfortunately, the forums turned up nothing, and while I posted a Want To Buy (WTB) message, I didn't have high hopes.
Z32 Nissan 300ZX 2+2 car cover
The last place I expected to look
Calling a Nissan dealership was the last thing I would have thought about doing. However, I spoke to an auto enthusiast friend and he suggested trying a dealership. I explained why this idea seemed like a waste of time but he pressed on. His logic: You just never ever know what a dealership might have sitting around in a warehouse in a box coated with dust. Friends, there's a vast network of dealerships in this country.
I bit. I grabbed my phone, looked up the number for my local Nissan dealership, asked for parts, and told the guy that I was calling with an odd request. I asked if they had any OEM car covers sitting around for a 1990-1996 Z32 300ZX 2+2 without the factory wing. He didn't expect that, but he offered to call me back after looking up the part number in a classic manual.
Not only did he call me back, he had done a nationwide search of all Nissan dealerships to see if anyone had one sitting around.
There was one in Texas at World Car Nissan. You've never seen someone pick up the phone and dial a phone number so fast in your life.
I connected with a guy named Tom in parts and gave him the part number. He paused, then finally said, "Huh, looks like we have one, but it's up in storage. Let me go see if we actually have this thing. Please hold."
When Tom returned, he said I wouldn't believe it but they had one. It was in his hands. Then I asked what color it was, though it didn't matter because I was going to buy it anyway.
The color? Blue. I nearly dropped the phone. I asked the price, and it was sold. Of course, I asked him to do one last nationwide search to make sure there were no others sitting around. He informed me that I had just bought the last one in the world, according to the dealer's system.
I never would have thought of it without the help of my friend, but dealerships shouldn't be discounted when trying to find a rare or old part or accessory. You would be amazed at some of the things these places just have sitting around from ages ago.
I also learned that, apparently, there are no more in-the-box blue OEM car covers for the Z32 300ZX 2+2 left at this country's dealers. If I'm wrong about that, well, I could probably find a use for another one.