Most likely they don't manufacture anything. Most of these Repop suppliers are just selling stuff that is imported (usually junk) from a single source or made in the US from a single source. Sometimes the US stuff is good sometimes even the US stuff is JUNK.
An example is some of the repop GM wood steering wheels. They look great and they have a nice fake wood rim. I put one in my car had took it right out. The Rim was about as rigid as a limp noolde. Any fore and aft pull distorted the rim CONSIDERABLY.
Now Lets just say I got this from supplier "A". Prior to buying the wheel I had called supplier "B" who I know semi personally and who I have done business with for a long time. He said.."I don't sell those repop wheels because ....the rim ....da da da ". Well he was RIGHT and he was HONEST.
All this "who makes the best repro this or that" is a waste of time. Consider this kiddies. The volume on this stuff is VERY VERY low from a business perspective. While you may think there are millions of Chevelles undergoing restoration the costs associated with tooling up for some of these larger parts like the 70 72 console or the steering wheels is just plain prohibitive.
Once one manufacturer tools up and enters the market it is HIGHLY unlikely that any others are going to enter the fray with that same application part. Just not cost justified. At the end of the day the console ya get from vendor A is likely the same console ya get from vendor B just like the repro wheels. You might get a better price from vendor A or vendor B but as to what comes outta the box it is almost sure to be from the same manufacturing source.
One exception is interior stuff like door panels and seat covers. Indeed there may be different manufacturers and different levels of quaity. This is because the basic igredient is hand labor stitiching and cutting the material. If the "grain" and or color material is available and a shop is already in the sewing business the incremental tooling cost for starting a new product for a different car is ZERO. This is because they already have sewing machines and skilled cutters and sewers. Not the case with injuction molding...you gotta make the molds for consoles and what not each time you want to produce something that was never on the market. Even though you have the injection molding machine you must make part specific molds. The equations is sometimes profitable sometimes not profitable even when no else is already makin the part. The chances of makin a buck beaing a 2nd or 3rd supplier of something are considerable lessened. Most times one supplier enters the market and that is it.....that one manufacture will likely always be the ONLY manufacturer. Basic business finance 101.
Oh yeah I sure do know about wanting something versus NEEDING something.
An idea here as far as a wheel. I got an original Corvette wheel from a mid 70's Vette for my A-body. It bolts right to the "wood" wheel hub and all the horn stuff is exactly the same also. Best part is the wheel has that nice thick rim and the rim is leather. It has 3 brushed aluminum spokes at 6 9 and 3 Oclock. Not cheap to be sure but it is original GM and it looks good.
Zip Corvette Parts recovers the wheels in new leather (your color choice) and the work is top notch. Even better the wheel is smaller in diameter than the Mack Truck take out wheel that was in the older cars.
Very nice! I'm looking for the optional one tho, the one with 3 stainless spokes. Do you know the name of the supplier? Maybe they carry the optional one also. I read somewhere that the ones to get have a metal band running around the edge like the originals.
Might be that it is in the later Vettes as RedmanF1 says. Did not think they were that late but it is possible. The earlier 3 spoke wheels ad the small diameter rim and I just can't readjust tot hat after driving "fat wheel" cars for as long as I have. It is sorta charming grabbing one of the old thin rims for about 5 seconds but then they just get old to me.
The point about the metal band is correct. Without that FORGET IT they are just about as solid as a limp D-----. Or sorta like your average invertibrate crawling around the earth on its belly. I think the aftermarket wood thing I had was just a plastic rim with no support imbedded inside the rim. All the GM ones that crack expose a metal spine inside the rim.
Ya know I have a picture of that wheel that I could send ya. I put it in my Vette for a trial and took a picture. Send me a current e-mail address at [email protected] and I can foreward the pic to ya.
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