As a kid, I used to relish taking the time to fix a problem on my then current ride of choice. My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so my cars were usually whatever I could purchase with the money scraped together from a couple of part-time jobs. The fact that the car I was buying may not be running at the time of purchase never really deterred me (just ask my friends) as I knew with the right parts and perseverance I could get it running. Part of this process usually involved a trip through the labyrinth of junked and abandoned car shells littered across the grounds of the local junkyard. With a box full of wrenches and the resolve to spend the time to find whatever I might need I knew I would/could get the car running again.
Well, let me tell you, times have changed, and drastically. No more searching and hunting for a car with the right part. No more getting lost in the maze of dusty cars and trucks wondering if the dog you hear barking is that proverbial “junk-yard” dog or just a neighborhood stray. Read on and you'll understand.
Finding Used Porsche Parts
Sara Darkamen is the VP and Co-owner of Los Angeles Dismantler. Sara and I first met through Linkedin and the Porsche network there. Ever since then, we have corresponded through email and a number of various social networking sites including facebook and Rennlist. What I’ve come to know about Sara is that she is passionate about networking and even more passionate about Porsche; two of my favorite things. As a result, I asked her to write up a brief overview of her company so that for those of you who are the DIY type, and need quality parts, have another venue (if you weren’t already aware of them).
Here’s what Sara had to say:
Walking into Los Angeles Dismantler for Porsche arouses mixed feelings. On one hand, there is a bit of sadness in seeing so many wrecked Porsches. On the other hand, wheels immediately start turning in the head.
What would it take to swap a 996 Turbo engine into something a little older, or a little lighter? It doesn’t stop there though. The interchangeability of parts through various generations of Porsches leaves the possibilities nearly endless. Brakes, transmissions, interior pieces, even front end conversions are possible with a bit of ingenuity and work.
The sight of 100’s of Porsches in conditions ranging from completely destroyed, to nearly perfect is impressive to say the least. Every car has a story, and for most of them, it comes to an end at this lot. When a car comes in, it is photographed and documented. Usually two or three guys stand around and try to piece back together the cars last moments. Some cars fates appear obvious, others remain total mysteries. Either way, questions of how and why are rarely answered.
Demand for Used Porsche Parts is Growing
Most cars come in with salvage titles, so even if the car could be brought back to life, it simply wouldn’t be worth it. The few cars that arrive in running, drivable condition rarely last long that way. The unfortunate reality is that almost all the cars that come in, are worth more in pieces. New Porsche parts can be extremely expensive, and some parts are nearly impossible to find for older models. The demand for used parts grows with every mile Porsches are driven.
No matter how destroyed a car is, there are still valuable parts that can be salvaged. These parts are bought up by various mechanics, body shops, and enthusiasts. Little of the car is wasted, components that can be resold are shelved or shipped, and any scrap metal is recycled. The average Porsche owner is not one to neglect their car. Fortunately, this is reflected in the parts that come off the cars.
LA Dismantler is the end of the road for many of the cars that come in, but it is far from a junk yard. Junk yards are dirty, unorganized, and overcrowded with all different kinds of cars. LA Dismantler’s facility has only Porsches, and they are organized in custom built racks. The facility is kept clean, all work is performed indoors in a shop that most mechanics would be jealous of. Every Porsche that gets dismantled helps keep many more Porsches on the road.
I’m looking forward to visiting the yard for myself on my next trip out to LA. I’m not sure how I’ll feel standing amongst all those broken and busted Porsche shells. It is safe to say, I hope my Pcars are with me for a long, long time before getting up close and personal with the likes of this place.