(Editor’s Note: This story ran in April of 2010 — Since we’re running some cool Then and Now content with the stuff Mike is doing in their machine shop we thought that digging this one up for you to enjoy made sense. Hit the link below to skip to the gallery for old parts nirvana!)
We know where the old parts live. They live among the inventory of Then and Now Automotive, in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Then and Now is a business that specializes in the gearhead impossible. Need king pins for your 1914 Durant? They’re on the shelf in the original boxes. How about a coil for your Model T? They have them in spades. We were invited to tour a portion of the inventory that Then and Now has at their location and at one of their several remote storage houses. We were left slack-jawed. The tour was given by BangShift.com member Mike Casella, the machine shop manager, and Tom Hannaford, the owner of the business. It was a march through American automotive history the likes of which we’d never seen.
The business has been in operation for decades and Hannaford accumulated the majority of the inventory the old fashioned way. He toured the country and bought old stock, unsold items, and stuff that people had just plain forgotten about in the store rooms of old auto parts stores. From there, it’s been following up on leads about old stuff people found in their attic and other stories of that nature.
The Weymouth headquarters is so tightly packed with parts that the local fire department has told the business that they were not going in if the place was aflame because they’d never find their way out. The rows are tightly packed and the stacks go from floor to ceiling. There are no computers. Catalogs and sheer force of memory guide the workers to the parts needed.
We’re convinced that they have some items in greater inventory than there are cars of that make and model left to use them! Ever heard of a 1928 Roosevelt? Neither had we, but they have parts for it!
It’s not about hot rod parts, it’s about antique parts and that’s fine with us. We’ve darkened the door of the store in several instances. They had parts on the shelf for our old Worthington tractor that others scoffed at even attempting to order.
Another fascinating part of the business is the machine shop which our pal Mike Casella runs. If there’s something you have that they don’t make parts for anymore, and it’s broken, they’ll make them. Your prehistoric touring car breaks a motor mount? Send the pieces in and Casella will build a mold out of billet aluminum and repair yours. Your 1940s Tatra (a weirdo European car) has a dead fuel pump? Send it along and Mike will make internal parts, gaskets, and whatever else it needs. We’ll be featuring the machine shop soon, but this is all about the parts.
We shot nearly 300 photos the day we toured the business, and we’re not even giving you a good glimpse at what this place is all about. It’s truly incredible and thankfully this is not a story about some weirdo hoarding all this stuff. These guys are in the business to sell, and they do.
Hit the link below and settle in for a look at some of the neatest components, packages, and pieces you’ve ever seen.