About Jim Carter, Classic Chevy and GMC Truck Parts
The Jim Carter GMC & Chevy Truck Parts Story...Past, Present and Future
Our Showroom a few years back
The Jim Carter Truck Parts Company has been providing Chevy and GMC truck parts and helpful information for many years. Although many of our customers are miles away and even in other parts of the world, we still maintain a modest showroom where people can come in and visit when they are in town
The Early Years
Jim Carter Truck Parts is a company that grew from a life long interest in older American vehicles. The roots were set in the mid-1960s with a strong appreciation of the Ford Model A. To supply parts for a total restoration of a 1930 Ford Coupe and to help with college expenses, a small in home used parts business began.
|Ford Model A
The part time business was supplied with used parts from Midwest salvage yards, swap meets, and occasional finds of New Old Stock items. Well placed national ads provided the needed customers and business took off!
|Model A Ford||1957 Metropolitan|
|1957 American Motors Metropolitan|
After my college years, I obtained employment with a national corporation where I worked for 15 years. I finally dropped the Model A business. However, I kept my original Model A, but began a hobby collecting and selling related special interest vehicles. I was in love with Chevrolet cars of the '40s, Studebaker, Avantis and early Ford Thunderbirds. One day in 1978 IT happened! I had a 1957 American Motors Metropolitan for sale. A potential buyer wanted it, but lacked adequate cash. We finally negotiated the sale. I took partial payment and his 1950 Chevrolet 1/2 ton truck.
Hard Work & Dreams
While having a new home built the next year, the '50 became my "trash truck". I hauled construction scrap daily to a local dump. It was a great little truck. It was always ready for work and never failed its duties. A year later the house was finally completed. Now, I needed to find something I really wanted to do. That little truck had been growing on me. How about a complete restoration like I did on the Model A during my school days?
The Rest of the Story
While restoring the truck I found many other truck owners with the same needs. They required rubber parts, bed wood, tailgates and straight sheet metal. While on parts hunts I purchased additional Chevy truck parts for other truck owners "Parts Wanted" lists. This made the restoration much less expensive and I now found myself in a very small, but growing truck parts business. This was almost like the old days with the Model A parts operation.
Then, I got daring. After a few well placed ads selling bed parts in national magazines, I knew something was starting to happen. Items sold and people requested other parts. I found myself back in salvage yards on Saturdays and attending local swap meets. Next, I needed to hire a part time employee and then made the BIG decision. I refused my company's request to transfer to a growing city 1,000 miles away. This made me look as if I did not want to grow with them, and maybe I didn't. I quit!
Now, I had to either get other employment or try harder in the General Motors truck parts business. Yes, you guessed it - I was totally committed to the new business - sink or swim!
Since jumping out of the "security nest" in 1981, I never looked back. I spent my time learning, researching and providing the personal touch that our customers love. Growth soon required two additions to the barn behind my house and buying some local rental houses for storage. I even had to hire a local body shop do the final touches on the original little '50 1/2 ton. It is now in our showroom.
Here we are many years later. Our 15 year old large two story building has had a major addition. There is a separate structure just for bed wood production. We have 18 employees five days a week, eight phone lines plus five special fax order lines from overseas countries, and several UPS trucks and U.S. mail pickups each day. Oh yes, we still do the used parts thing! A salvage yard three miles away has about 40 GM trucks from 1936-71 for finding those special requests.
Look What We Found!
In some stored papers we found this front page newspaper article for our local paper in 1995.
The Examiner Evening Edition
Independence MO, February 20, 1995
Jim Carter has found a niche selling parts for old pickup trucks, a business that grew out of his longtime hobby.
A 1950 Chevrolet pickup truck bought to haul trash ended up as Jim Carter's vehicle on the road to success.
Carter took the half-ton pickup 16 years ago as partial payment for a 1957 American Motors Metropolitan he had restored.
"I was building a house the next year, and it became my trash truck," said Carter, a life long Independence resident. "I hauled construction scrap daily to a local dump. It was a great little truck. It was always ready for work and never failed its duties."
That little truck still doesn't fail its duties.
In fact, it has helped turn a hobby into a business, one of five mail order companies in the country that supplies parts for 1934 to 1972 Chevrolet/GMC pickups.
Restored with all original parts and polished to a shine, the 1950 pickup sits in the showroom of Jim carter's Antique Truck Parts, 1508 East Alton St., as a reminder that where there's a will to fix a truck, there's a part.
The roots of the business were set in the mid-1960's with Carter's appreciation of the Ford Model A. To supply parts for a total restoration of a 1930 Sport Coupe and to help with college expenses, a small in-home used parts business began, supplied by materials from Midwest salvage yards.
After college, Carter worked as a safety engineer for a national corporation for 15 years. While working there, and after building his house, he began looking at that 1950 truck in a different way.
"It really grew on me," he said."I decided I'd like to make that truck look a little cleaner and a little neater."
While in the process of restoration, Carter had some extra bed wood so he advertised in a couple of national magazines.
"Before you know it, I'm selling bed wood," he said. Carter bought more chevy truck parts for other owners while looking for his own.
"This made the restoration much less expensive, and now found myself in a very small, but growing truck parts business."
Soon after that, he refused to transfer with his company to another state and jumped full time into the parts business.
"I just decided I needed to do something different in life, and I've never looked back." he said.
Why should he? Thirteen years later, Carter employs 24 workers, stocks 4,400 parts, mails 400 catalogs every two weeks and doubles his business every two years. His customers are located throughout the United States, Germany, England, Australia and Canada.
Growth required two additions to the barn behind Carters' house and buying some rental houses for storage. He later moved to the two-story building on Alton, where he's started a second major addition.
"I'm not rich, but I'm stirring up smoke," he said. "Trucks are really in. There is something going on in this country that is making old trucks hot."
When Karla Howard, purchasing agent, began to work for Carter, she remember thinking "there couldn't possibly be that many old trucks out there."
"There are," she said. "We have six incoming lines, and they all ring every day of every week of every year. People are finding trucks in old fields, buying them from old farmers..."
When people call, she said, and find out the company has a part they're like "You're kidding, I've looked all over."
"He kind of has the corner on the market for certain parts," she said. "very few deal in used trucks. You just can't find parts for '30 and '40s anymore except here.
"Everything you see here on this (1950) pickup, you can get here.... We have old radios restored, we have the old speedometer... ever thing down to a knob."
Howard explains people's attraction to old pickups as this: "It's the macho man thing. It's the guy in the old Chevy. It's the big fat crown fenders. Old vehicles have always bee neat, whether you're young or old."
Parts for 1947 to 1953 trucks are the most requested, Carter said.
"People tend to get more excited about the type of vehicle they had when they first started to drive," he said. "
We are registered with General Motors to reproduce their trademarks and logos on all parts that require it. We hold the hundreds of other parts we reproduce to the high standards as when the GM factory produced them.
When you need restoration items for your 1934-1972 Chevrolet or GMC, please give us a try. The solid growth of our company relates to the trusted reputation we have earned, and the quantity of new and used merchandise we stock. We are here when you are ready for us. Call Today! 1.800.842.1913
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