The Great Debate - NOS, Restored or Reproduction?

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Jan 19, 2018
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Harrison, Idaho
My Car
1971 mustang grande 351c 4v c6. grabber lime, tracpac
Today a friend and I have been messaging back-n-forth about a couple of posts I've made about restoring an original part or praising another member about how good their restored part looks, when a new or reproduction part might look fresher or less "weathered". Aside from the shear joy of making a used part look good, sometimes a brand new or NOS part just doesn't look right.

Specifically, he thought it was ridiculous that I commented on a pair of NOS hood locks were too nice for my convertible. He really, honestly laughed out loud and he enjoyed taking a couple of shots at me at my expense... all in good fun.

So, that evolved into a discussion about what I feel is a quirky part of this hobby. When is it appropriate or necessary to "keep" a used/refreshed/restored part and when must/should you replace a part with a nice NOS or reproduction piece. And, for discussion sake, I'm not talking about survivors, or uber rare part(s) or 1 of 1 cars with history and lineage. I'm talking about a nicely restored #2 car that is owned and driven by the majority of us.

For me, a moving part or one that is touched, turned, rubbed, handled, opened, pushed/pulled on, etc. is acceptable to have some age or patina as long as its clean, refreshed and functional. For instance, foot pedals, radio knobs, door handles, steering wheels, gas caps, wheels, hood locks & latches, etc. On the flip, there are parts that should not show wear & tear and look better as NOS or reproduction parts. For instance, under hood & dress-up parts, windshield trim, chrome/bright moldings, fender emblems, drip rails, bumpers, bumper guards, other bright work, etc.

And then there are the "main" components that are always in the mix like paint, carpet, upholstery seat & interior trim. After safety and mechanicals, I'll put money into these things. I'm curious what you guys think?
i am an original kinda guy. i wont even consider reproduction parts until there is no other option. i have had great success restoring most all of my parts myself. only reproduction parts on my car thus far is my fuel tank and upper A-arms. i even prefer to restore a given part instead of purchasing a nos item. i enjoy keeping the original parts on my car that it came with from the factory. using reproduction parts seems like the easy way out to me. anyone can do that, and requires zero skill. no sense of accomplishment in that route.


Well-known member
Jul 3, 2022
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Bayville ,NJ
My Car
1971 Mach1
Then there are the parts that do not age gracefully:
I have lost count of the number of original 71-72 Mach 1 grilles that have literally crumbled in my hands. In most cases, this is probably due to prolonged exposure to the sun.