I used to buy from quite a few but as time as gone on, and when I had to consider buying parts for 3 cars (not to mention my Subaru Forester) it consolidated down to a key few larges vendors for sourcing the bulk of my purchases as well as a few smaller ones for what I consider more specialized or system-specific items.
I need to preface this that ultimately, it comes down to a few key requirements I have to really spend money with a vendor:
I’ve been meaning to post a record of all of the vendors I source parts from (and at the same time create a cohesive easy to click list) if I’m mobile and don’t have my bookmarks handy.
- Low Shipping, Or Free Shipping after $100 or so in a single purchase.
- Compare prices at the major vendors and a few of the vendors and if necessary, wait until the major ones have sale periods to take advantage of any added discount.
- If I suspect the generic part is just going to be an EMPI product then just aim to buy it at the major vendors during sales periods.
- If possible, play the “Fuel Perks” and “Bank Cash Back” game by utilizing gift cards or pre-paid VISA cards through my Kroger to ultimately get the best value for my larger purchases.
- If the same (or very similar) item is available at an Amazon (or Amazon Reseller) with Prime, take advantage of it for the return policies as well as the free return shipping that entails.
There are some VW parts places I would love to spend more money at but ultimately, when I do a part for part comparison between sites, their shipping costs just end up being the deal breaker for me.
While I mostly by from North America vendors, I would not be averse from buying from other vendors for specialty items, or for decent quality.
Frequently Purchase From…
As I mentioned, I have several stores for most general things that most often meet my criteria.
California Import Parts (Canada)
Probably my most frequent basic parts source, they have decent sales every 2-3 months (especially around US holiday times) and they offer free shipping for $100 spent. Their customer service has always been excellent and for the most part, if I suspect a part will just be EMPI or another generic Chinese part, I see no reason to spend more for the part so I’ll save up a large list and do bulk orders from CIP when they have their sales. What I’m really impressed with though is the timeliness of their DHL shipping. I have been amazed that I can order on a Sunday sometimes and DHL will have to to me within 3-4 days!
So Cal Imports (US)
So Cal Imports is another site I frequently buy from, and once again I look out for their specials and sales. Their customer service has been exemplary and they’ve corrected any mistakes they made on my orders on the spot!
Dune Buggy Warehouse (US)
I realized that a lot of what I was buying on Amazon was coming from Dune Buggy Warehouse down south of me in Hamilton, Ohio. While still far enough away to be inconvenient, I’ve found that their turnaround is pretty quick since they are within the state. They also have some great technical information available. The also have the best consistent price I’ve seen on basic EMPI big valve heads. A little over $400 for basic new heads these days is great.
Mid America Motorworks (US)
I used to use them quite a lot but then realized that for the most part, I could get the same items from CIP a few bucks less during sales time. While MAM has sales from time to time, it seems like key things you would want from a sale just happen to all of a sudden be out of stock. I’ve also had to deal with a lot of back ordered items. Hell, a simple order of stainless steel tin screws ended up showing up one day and I realized I’d ordered it like 4-5 months earlier and completely forgotten about it. I may still order from them for a specific part if the price is right and the shipping is free.
When I first got back into Beetles bought frequently from JBugs. But as time has gone by, and as my experience (and expectations) have grown with product, so much I ordered ultimately ending up being EMPI or generic Chinese parts, the governing rules shifted me to other vendors. However, I will say, their online materials are excellent. Their YouTube channel is great too. Their online store is probably one the best out there and they are always improving it. If there sale prices were more in line with others I’d probably still be buying a lot more from them.
There’s quite a few sites/stores out there that I would consider specialty-focused, often on racing or other Type 1-centric things.
TopLine Parts (US)
I don’t think I’d be lying if I said TopLine is probably the main US vendor that caters to 1302/1303 Super Beetle specific parts. Yeah, the A-Pillar/Dash back is most the same from 71 to 79 regardless of standard or super, but up front there’s enough differences to be thankful there’s a specialty shop out there. I’ve purchased my strut braces and a variety of brake parts from them. Some people swear by their brake kits.
Kerscher Tuning (Germany)
Kerscher Tuning creates and carries a wide assortment of performance parts for 70’s VW, Porsche, and many other European cars. There 2018 Käfer (Beetle) Catalog PDF has quite a lot of stuff you won’t find in the US. They are currently the front runner for a possible new suspension for Żuczek. And I am all about the ATS Cup wheels they have!
CB Performance (US)
CB Performance’s focus is on high performance and racing, without the restoration/maintenance clutter and accessories stuff. They produce some amazing looking Engine Kits, and I’ve been using their general design for a 2110cc engine as one of the potential future performance engines for Żuczek. They offer quite a bit in the realm of carbs and tuning and have quite a lot of useful information available. Shipping can be a deal breaker for some things though, as I’ve had some shipping charges go over 50% of the order.
Chucks Convertible Parts (US)
As if the name didn’t explain the specialty nature, this is definitely the place for parts for convertibles, and one day in the future I will likely be ordering a full top/headliner kit for Murbella when her original one finally needs to be replaced. While I’d love to make it 7 years (so as to get Ż done) I have no idea if Murbella can hold out that long. They do haqve quite a few other products, as well as a lot for non-Beetles.
SCAT VW (US)
SCAT has been around forever and are known for their performance and racing parts. They offer quite a bit of product, and a lot of what they produce is available online through many resellers. They have an amazing range of engine kits, and some of their parts are downright affordable. My first build’s crank, cam, lifters, and springs are all SCAT products. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of how their “store” works. You essentially have a typical online front store with a cart system that then puts everything on hold pending someone from the sales team inspecting the order. I would say it delayed my order far longer than it should have. Still, their parts are good and you do have a person handling your request. If I didn’t like to get my hands dirty, I could see myself just having them provide me a zero-mile long block.
Custom Speed & Parts (Germany)
An amazing German site for high quality parts with quite a lot of focus on a lot of 1303 unique stuff. There are some US/Canada resellers that carry some of their parts so it makes acquiring something fairly affordable. My experience so far has been great, with the quality of the items I’ve gotten top notch, but of course carrying a price tag too! I am looking to the flared fenders to provide me the look I want in the future. They are one of two vendors that see possibly providing my future performance exhaust as well, and their Super-Competition Exhaust-System with Heat Exchangers, while overkill, will give me the sound I want and the appearance I want. They also have an amazing assortment of brake upgrade kits.
Gene Berg Enterprises (US)
Given the name and founder, you pretty much know they are one of the key places for high quality custom performance parts. The tech tips are great and there’s so much to dig into. However, and this is one of the saddest things I can say, the “store” aspects of the site are archaic and I so wish they would invest in a proper content system/online store front. It is rather hard to go through, being only text-based, and feels like you’ve stepped into 1997 and the earliest online stores. I don’t think I’m the only one that can find it frustrating to shop there. But, you’ll be getting quality!
Sewfine’s interiors are amazing. If I don’t attempt to create my own interior for Żuczek than Sewfine is where I’ll be sinking my money. The quality of their work is obvious. Hell, even their mail order catalog is amazing and I highly recommend having a copy on hand. I can easily see Ż’s interior in their Highway 1 style doorcards. They also have a special order Purple Tweed! I’ve spent hours looking and interior porn pictures here! Sewfine supplied (and installed) the interiors on the television show Bitchin’ Rides, doing both The Big Brother Type 2 and The Bitchin Little Sister. They did the interior for this Kindigit 65 Type 2 that sold for $302,500 a few years ago.
Vintage Speed (Taiwan)
Vintage Speed in Taiwan offers an assortment of amazing exhausts and other custom made parts. The great thing about their exhaust products is that they usually have an accompanying video that really helps you determine if it is the kind of sound you want or not. If I don’t get a CSP exhaust I will likely get a Vintage Speed. I’ve been eyeing their SS143 Super Sport Exhaust! I really like their Classic 14″ shifter too. Quite a few of their products are available from US-based resellers as well.
Summit Racing (US)
While not a VW-centric store, they are resellers for quite a lot of SCAT products, including long blocks even. They offer great shipping prices, have quite a lot of decent sales, and I have found that many of their engine parts and consumables are quite good. It helps for me that they have a store up north of here since I can get stuff really quickly when ordered.
JEGS High Performance (US)
Another store that really ins’t VW-specific, JEGS does offer a lot of engine-building products, and I am thankful I have a brick and mortar store just a few minutes away as I’ve come to rely on them for a lot of lubricants, tools, AN fittings, and such.
Many other stores and some I occasionally buy from…
There are many places to source Beetle parts from. Some I like, others I’ve never used.
In alphabetical order, with commentary as needed.
- AA Performance Parts (US) I’d buy from them but the shipping kills.
- Airecooled.net (US) A great site with amazing resource information and I would love to buy from them but once the shipping calculates it kills me every time. If they could just do something about that shipping cost I would likely buy from them quite a lot.
- Appletree Auto (US) Quite a lot of parts and accessories. Decent shipping.
- Air Head Parts (US) I find there site difficult to search. Never have bought anything from them.
- Airkewld (US) A lot of custom parts.
- Avery’s Air-Cooled (US)
- Awesome Powerdercoat (US) The place for tins, tin work, and miscellaneous tin parts.
- Bugcity (US) A wide assortment, including NOS parts.
- Bughaus (US) Nice store. Great customer service. I’ve picked up things from them every now and then. While their store is a bit antiquated, they have really easy setup with parts and clearly defined keys to the items.
- Bugeyed.net (US) I’ve picked up a few things from them.
- Bus Depot (US) Lots of Beetle parts.
- Concept-1 (Canada) Some real nice stuff, including what I suspect is the finest aftermarket Fan Shroud out there, incorporating elements of the Mexican Beetles, as well as Type 4 oil cooling. This is future Żuczek shroud for sure!
- Chirco (US) Good shipping prices.
- Daften Classic (US)
- Dan’s Performance Parts (US)
- Doghouse Repair (US)
- eVWParts (US)
- EISParts (US)
- FAT Performance/Rimco (US) They offer machine shop services and quite a lot of long block and turnkeys. They have Type IV long blocks too!
- Fisher Buggies (US) Quite a decent price on refurbed stock heads.
- German Supply (Canada) As with many non-US sites, they offer a great many complete, or near complete, kits. I really don’t understand why my US vendors don’t do this. Their Beetle FI fuel line/seal kit is worth every penny I paid and I’ll be installing the rest of it on Murbella in Winter 2019/2020.
- Gilmore Enterprises (US) One of the major places for air-conditioning for a Beetle. I am back and forth on AC for Ż, but since I’m going for more of German Look-ish style, I can seriously think about sacrificing some of my suspension elements for the inclusions of AC. They make a kit specifically for 1302s.
- Import Parts Connection (US)
- JayCee Enterprises (US)
- JCS Volks Masters (US)
- Jim’s Custom VW’s (US) I really should try to get up there sometime.
- Jus Bugs (US) Good shipping!
- Kaddie Shack (US) Quite a lot of decent resource material and videos. I know nothing about Kadrons but I’ve been told this is the place to go for your kadron needs.
- Larry’s Off Road Center (US) Another Ohio store I should probably get to since they are the closest to Columbus.
- Latest Rage (US)
- Machine 7 (UK) US vendors could learn a thing or two from their bundles.
- Mofoco Enterprises (US) Store and machine shop services.
- Moore Parts Source (US)
- M&T MFG (US) Another store I find myself struggling to use.
- Pacific Customs (US) Good shipping price. I’ve picked up a few things from here.
- Paruzzi (UK)
- Pierside Parts Unlimited (US)
- Powerhaus VW (US)
- Precision Alloy Ltd (US) – The TF-1 looks to be the best Type 1 engine block out there.
- Racho Transaxles (US)
- VolkzBitz (US) The place to get your stock Solex carb redone! Period!
- Werk34.de (Germany)
- Wolfsburg West (US) Focusing on stock restoration more than anything else, they have a nice line of products and apparently have some of the best rubber seals out there. I have heard major good things about their floor pans.
- Westcoast Metric (US)
- VW Heritage (UK)
There are many many many more out there as I will update as I shop or my experiences with specific vendors.