Dealing with back orders
For the most part, I’ve been lucky to have avoided the long back orders I’ve heard other people talk about. Back orders are a fact of life when it comes to the auto restoration hobby, and it’s easy to understand when you consider that there isn’t enough demand to keep most parts in constant production. Their focus on reducing or eliminating back orders is, of course, why National Parts Depot has enjoyed so much success with restorers and hobbyists, including me. But every once in a while, I’ll come across an item that’s priced much higher at NPD than other outfits are offering. Such is the case with the rear quarter window assemblies – NPD is asking $481.95 each, while CJ Pony Parts has them for $343.99, a savings of more than $100 each that’s multiplied by the fact that NPD charges sales tax on the higher amount while CJ’s not only doesn’t charge sales tax outside of PA, but they also offer 5% back in reward points.
Over the past few years, I’ve ordered several things from CJ Pony Parts that have been out of stock or have been on back-order with the manufacturer, but I’ve never been in a rush and I’ve been willing to wait a week or two in exchange for saving some money and being able to earn RPM rewards. Yes, NPD has the quarter window assemblies in-stock and CJ’s states “Delayed Availability,” but it can’t be that bad, can it? So in August I ordered quarter windows for each side. The driver-side window shipped two weeks after I placed my order, nothing major. The passenger side window, though, still hasn’t shipped. It’s been five months. It’s not CJ’s fault, maybe NPD bought up all the stock from the last run, but it does prove the point that waiting on back orders can be a hassle.
I don’t yet need the right rear quarter window, but I’m getting closer to the point when I’d like to have it. In a week or two, I’d like to put the rear quarter windows in.
That begs the question: is there a way to re-use the original quarter window? Yes and no. The glass is fine, as is the stainless trim piece that holds the rear of the glass to the frame. The rollers on the frame are fine, too (they’re riveted on with some magic tool and completely unavailable in the after-market, so broken rollers would end the discussion). The issue is the frame itself, which is a chrome pot metal similar to the vent window frames, and which is therefore terribly pitted both inside and out. Unlike the vent windows, though, the rear quarter window frame isn’t available separately; it has to be purchased as a complete assembly with the glass, weatherstrip, and trim already installed. It’s a little frustrating since the only thing I need is the frame, but that’s the way it seems to be. Initially I’d discounted the possibility of having the frames re-chromed as too expensive and difficult since the rollers are, as I mentioned, not removable. But all this waiting has me wondering if I could get the original frames re-chromed for the same price or less…probably not, but certainly worth checking into. Either that or maybe I can find a good-used original…