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Newbie Question: Are the “big Mustang shop” parts made in the U.S.A?!

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Hello all…I recently bought my very first vintage Mustang, a numbers-matching, 1965 K-Code 2+2. I’m wondering if the parts (exterior/interior trim pieces, etc, etc) sold by the several big, online Mustang stores (we all know who they are) are made in the USA. I would truly hate to put anything on or in my car that is not American-made. Any insight here?! It’s remarkable, but none of the “About Us” sections on any of the store websites say anything about their parts’ country of origin. This concerns me as I’d think it would be something to showcase to an American muscle car audience (if, in fact, their parts are U.S. made). Thanks for any info!
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I would say most of the time, they aren't. Usually it is advertised if they are made in the USA. If you want to investigate further, you could go to the website of the part (most have them) and see if they say where they are made.
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I've been driving my 68 FB for a long time. Changed engines and trans a few times.
The best parts are the ones that came on the car. Even if they start to look old.
The worst has to be electrical stuff. That will put you on the flat deck.
With 30, 40, and 50% origin of manufacture it gets harder every year to know which is real
and which is memorex.
People always ask me if I'm going restore it? My answer. Why would I want a Chinese car.
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I would say most of the time, they aren't. Usually it is advertised if they are made in the USA. If you want to investigate further, you could go to the website of the part (most have them) and see if they say where they are made.
I’ve tried investigating further and it seems they never provide that information. Without being paranoid, it’s pretty clear that they don’t wish to divulge the country of origin if it’s not U.S. made. It’s heartbreaking to imagine a Chinese horn ring (for example) adorning my American icon…
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Congrats on the Pony, Very nice!
I would venture to say the majority of repop parts are made over seas especially sheet metal and electrical. You may want to try and source NOS on fleabay and West Coast Classic Cougar carries some NOS and used parts that can be refurbished.
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I've found if it doesn't say Made in USA, it's not. I second the comment on reusing original parts when possible if USA versions cannot be found. I ordered a set of rear brake adjusters. Had to use the starwheels and the cable, but the new metal adjuster was a POS. Cleaned up the old one and reinstalled it.
Case in point. My original seal is done. I just bought a replacement seal. It's crap and made in China. And it's wrong.
Put the crap on? Find a NOS? Right 🤣 I can't do it. I'm going to try gluing.


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Case in point, where the heck is this thing made?! My horn doesn’t work and I need to figure it out fast with all of the zombies driving out there. I see versions of this (who knows, maybe they’re all the same but they often have different part numbers) sold by a half dozen different Mustang shops. It doesn’t say it’s made in the USA so do I assume it’s Chinese?! Some of them actually say that they’re licensed or recognized by Ford, no idea WTH that even means, if anything: https://www.topflightautomotive.com...s-correct-standard-horn-ring-assembly-w-ford/
Hello all…I recently bought my very first vintage Mustang, a numbers-matching, 1965 K-Code 2+2. I’m wondering if the parts (exterior/interior trim pieces, etc, etc) sold by the several big, online Mustang stores (we all know who they are) are made in the USA. I would truly hate to put anything on or in my car that is not American-made. Any insight here?! It’s remarkable, but none of the “About Us” sections on any of the store websites say anything about their parts’ country of origin. This concerns me as I’d think it would be something to showcase to an American muscle car audience (if, in fact, their parts are U.S. made). Thanks for any info! View attachment 896761
Welcome aboard the "crazy train". lol.

Hoping Rick (@69bossnine) will provide his valuable insight, in general terms, of course.
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Nature of the beast. You'll find that the majority of the major components (sheet metal/trim) are largely made in Taiwan, not China. Make no mistake, there is a whole different level of manufacturing and quality control between the two countries. All depends on what kind of build you're looking to do. If you have the patience and financial fortitude for a car that is worth doing it for, then you'll hold out for a good/restorable used part or an NOS part. If not, then you will make do with what you can get.

Having started the hobby 35+ years ago (and making my living in it now) as a Mopar guy, it always ticked me off that the Mustang, Camaro, and Nova guys could pretty much lift up a radiator cap and drive a replacement car under it, while I had to scrounge every junkyard in the land for a door handle. There are definitely pluses to having good deal of aftermarket support, and there are a lot of high quality options to be had.
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NOS or very good used original parts are the best (exception being some of the Ford produced replacement bumpers in the 80s and 90s, they were crap), but they command a higher price (worth it in many cases) and are getting more scarce. Another exception may be original rubber parts and seals because that stuff actually degrades on the shelf. There are a few really good USA-made parts still available thanks to folks like Daniel Carpenter, and ACC carpets are usually top-notch, but even they have their exceptions. Most of the best and better quality stuff is coming from Taiwan. The crap is coming from China and some other next-to-nothing wage countries. I try to save, restore, recondition, and preserve every original part I can.
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Nature of the beast. You'll find that the majority of the major components (sheet metal/trim) are largely made in Taiwan, not China. Make no mistake, there is a whole different level of manufacturing and quality control between the two countries. All depends on what kind of build you're looking to do. If you have the patience and financial fortitude for a car that is worth doing it for, then you'll hold out for a good/restorable used part or an NOS part. If not, then you will make do with what you can get.

Having started the hobby 35+ years ago (and making my living in it now) as a Mopar guy, it always ticked me off that the Mustang, Camaro, and Nova guys could pretty much lift up a radiator cap and drive a replacement car under it, while I had to scrounge every junkyard in the land for a door handle. There are definitely pluses to having good deal of aftermarket support, and there are a lot of high quality options to be had.
I think Xi disagrees with the whole two countries thing. We may have to make sure he understands there are TWO countries. 🤣 I do agree though Taiwan is at a different higher level than China in all aspects.
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I think Xi disagrees with the whole two countries thing. We may have to make sure he understands there are TWO countries. 🤣 I do agree though Taiwan is at a different higher level than China in all aspects.
Lol, there's definitely something to that, but can say that for the most part, the TW citizens are not particularly worried about Xi's saber rattling. It's a topic that comes up every time I'm over there because so much of my company's import business originates on that island. They know as well as he does that it would do bad things to the world economy if he acted upon it. Same as if the whole island gets wiped out by a typhoon, there goes about 90% of the world's manufacturing capacity for aftermarket collision repair parts. It's definitely a concern, but they seem much less worried about it than we are.
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Maybe some of the larger companies may have a few exclusive items. Over the years we’ve had a few members here including NPD respond to questions on parts being made in the US. It typically goes like this. They can not find companies in the US who are willing to do so. Either they refuse or the cost would be stupid expensive. The company in the US that up to a few years ago stamping sheet metal reused to do it any more. They were too busy stamping parts for Ford and BMW. Switching tooling for a limited run was too costly for them. The truth is if it weren’t for offshore companies willing to make parts, even poor quality, there wouldn’t be any. We probably wouldn’t be able to find even good useable parts let alone NOS. What we could find in any condition would probably be cost prohibitive. Sure I would like everything to be made in the US but it is what it is. Oddly enough a lot of my parts on my car are actually made in the US. Partly because I bought them a long time ago. My most recent purchase is off shore, from the UK but I don’t think too many here are going to buy one due to the price.
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It all comes down to the dollar. Most people who buy the parts want the cheapest price and the vendors want maximum profit. If a part is made in the USA it wouldn't guarantee that it is better but would probably be more expensive whether it was better or not.
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@Coopspeed The stuff made in Taiwan is pretty much the best from off shore as far as I'm concerned.

That being said, if you need a new part, buy it, but keep the old one.
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The issue really is the nature of small volume parts production.

US Manufacturing has seen a resurgence, of sorts, for large volume production where companies build highly automated factories to leverage american workers with automation to boost productivity to the point that the high cost of labor in the US is justified.

Small volume production, by it's very nature is much more labor intensive and difficult to automate. Why would you build an automated feeding, stamping, parts removal, cleaning, painting, sorting, boxing mechanism to make 300 driver's side fenders for an early mustang? You wouldn't. You'd hire some guys and do it all by hand.

Basic economics theory relies on the assumption that production moves to the lowest costing source. Plants in China have unlimited labor to throw at manufacturing. Around here, I had a friend try to hire 100 new workers for a furniture plant. 8 people showed up at a jobs fair. 5 were able to pass the drug test. 2 of those were eliminated due to other issues on their application (convictions or whatnot). after interviews, one more was deemed unemployable. They hired 2 employees. 1 didn't show up the first day of work. The other guy didn't show up for the 2nd day of work.

Hiring new workers for american factories is very difficult.

So getting our parts from Asia is the nature of the beast. BUT....

...we are blessed. BLESSED I tell you, to even be able to buy parts for cars that are almost 60 years old now in some cases.

Buy NOS? Right. You tell that to the kid trying to fix up a coupe to make it into a driver. I could find almost NO NOS parts when I got into the hobby 30 years ago. How many NOS parts have they made between then and now?
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I agree some China parts are pretty lackluster. But often it's better than nothing and without the China part, nothing would be available. These days, factory original parts in good condition have all gone to the unicorn farm. They're out there, but finding them is like finding unicorns. And when you do find them, the prices are stratospheric.

For engine and mechanical parts, I would suggest going to NAPA. But you must tell the clerk you want the best available. Every other person says, "Gimme the cheapest thing you got". I have also found good parts at O'Reilly, but again you must be picky. While I was restoring my Mustang, the guys at my local O'Reilly knew me so well, they would automatically turn the computer around and say, "Which one do you want?".

For anything else NPD is the go to source. They know the best available parts and they typically have them on the shelf. Be aware not every reproduction part is junk. My reproduction doors and deck lid fit better than the factory pieces. I ordered mass-backed carpet for my Mach 1 and it's really nice.

And yeah, I have bought many Made in the USA products over the years which were complete junk. Whatcha gonna do?
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There's already some good replies and insights posted here... I'm coming, because I'll try my best to provide the OP with an insider's perspective of this. But I've got a couple things I need to knock out at my desk first. Stay tuned...

Rick
NPD
Case in point. My original seal is done. I just bought a replacement seal. It's crap and made in China. And it's wrong.
Put the crap on? Find a NOS? Right 🤣 I can't do it. I'm going to try gluing.
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Can you please elaborate on what is "wrong" with the Carpenter seal? Because perhaps I can explain, or at least provide context and options.

We have witnessed several styles of this seal. Versions include foam rubber and solid rubber and 2 different diameters. We carry both versions (diameters) in foam, NPD # 16740-2 (Carpenter made in China) and NPD # 16740-2B (made in Taiwan, but I'll stay mum on my source because I don't think most of our competitors are aware of the source). The Carpenter seal measures 1/2 inch wide at the cowl flange and 3/4 inch tall uncompressed. The -2B seal is the larger size and measures 5/8 inch wide at the cowl flange and 15/16 inch tall uncompressed.

It is our belief that believe the solid rubber version is a Ford replacement style (old NOS service part).

The photos below support that belief, the green car is an unrestored low-mile survivor '67 with its original foam seal. It's "squished", but I believe it's the taller -2B style seal. The silver car is a '67 that we restored in 1979, which received an NOS service seal. It's the shorter profile, in solid rubber. The last photo shows the -2B on the LH side and the -2 on the RH side.

I would contend that the 16740-2B is probably the most solid bet for correctness.

Rick
NPD

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