Don’t Be A Dicker, Pay The Sticker – Why Spending More On A Classic Boat Part Is A Good Thing!


Original bag that held parts

I was reading a Facebook post from a car group I follow, from some guy complaining about high priced parts and trying to find the same part at a cheaper price. Of course there were over 50 comments, and they were divided. What hit me, was how quick many jumped in to defend the parts that were more expensive. They were right.

Mmm ya, what isle are the ignition parts for a Chris Craft?

Here is the thought when it comes to our passion. Classic Boating. Let’s say there is a part at Walmart that your boat needs. Like a distributor cap for a M Chris Craft Engine. Ya I know.. It’s a metaphor… It’s $5 cheaper than the one at one of our classic boat parts people. What’s the smarter buy?

Use your thinking cap.

Here is what that $5 savings cost all of us. A company that supports you. A company that makes the right cap. A company that also can invest in other parts that Walmart can’t source. And don’t even get me started about Amazon, which encourages the race to the bottom of pricing.

This is far more than an emotional plea!  The “little man” argument is romantic, but honestly there is a reason Amazon and Walmart is huge, because in the end, we feel like fools if we spend more on something thats the same.

BUT, investing a little in those that invest in you is. Walmart doesn’t care about your M engine.  There are to few of us. And chances are it fits, but is sourced from a cheap ass supplier and will fail. By the way, the part described is a metaphor, Walmart is a metaphor in this as well. The point is. Pick a parts place you like, pick a restorer you trust. Don’t be a dicker. Pay the sticker, and support our passion. Here is a wonderful song from Alan Jackson on the subject.

22 replies
  1. Robert
    Robert says:

    You are supporting a family with small businesses and they know your name.
    Taylor, butcher, etc.

  2. jim g
    jim g says:

    I’ve got about 20 off those Chris Craft parts bags and they still have the paper mailing label on them.

    Chris Craft would send you small parts in them to your home.

    You know the old saying you can have it Good, Fast or Cheap.
    Pick 2 you can’t have all three.

  3. Jaxon
    Jaxon says:

    And unlike the big box places it is totally acceptable to bring the living door bell treats!! Or a toy that won’t roll under the couch. If you happen to forget treats are on the shipping counter out of my reach.

  4. Cincinnati Kid
    Cincinnati Kid says:

    Small business, innovation, creativity, risk, dedication and entrepreneurship built our country.
    You can think global, but you better act local.
    Support those who support you and your community.

  5. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Matt is right on about specialty parts like those described. But as to the generic stuff…oil…filters….etc… is a tale from just last week when I changed the oil in my Perkins diesel. Went to a well known national auto parts chain….got a case of 10W 30 Penzoil and two spin on filters..wanting a spare….cost $130!!But the store was closest to the boat. Price per quart was 3 bucks higher than the same oil at w…mart….and I paid double for the filters. Seems this national company has become a “convenience store” for parts.
    Beware or be square……John in Va.

  6. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

    …John Ruskin, The Common Law of Business Balance

  7. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    Besides for supporting the small guy (well X-Large in my case) You have a better chance of getting the correct part the first time because old boat parts are all we do. We have the knowledge to know what fits or the manuals to look the stuff up. And if you have an issue you can call and get talked through it. Try explaining to the kid at the auto parts store you have a 1920s Dodge water car with a small block Chevrolet in it and you need an ignition coil. I watched Lindsey Hopkins do it on a river cruise. Kid was totally lost. I stock them. $19 Now if you have a 1970s boat, sorry, I don’t have manuals that new.

    • Carla
      Carla says:

      Great article, Matt. I will take the “little man” every time. Neighborhood hardware store where they know your name and service is the game..
      Jimmy are spot on!!

  8. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    You get what you pay for. A boat is not a car, You can’t just pull over if something goes wrong. You are suddenly victim to current, wind, darkness, and other boats. Do you really want to risk all that to save a buck.

  9. Darthtrader
    Darthtrader says:

    Great song to use Alan since he’s a Woody Boater. Listen to his song “Drive” he talks about “nothing rides like a wooden boat”.

  10. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    Dam, that song just wants me to jump into my new F-150 and hit the back roads. Pent up winter cabin fever syndrome…

  11. Dave Bratset
    Dave Bratset says:

    A management mentor told me 40 years ago, “There are two ways of doing things. The expensive way and the more expensive way. The more expensive way is doing it the cheap way first then having to go back and do it the expensive way after all”.
    His other saying was, “Don’t spend any money unless you have to but if you have to then spend with both hands.”
    Still true today unlike the other advice he gave about dealing with female employees

  12. Scott Ales
    Scott Ales says:


    Just bought this NOS pump for $175 for the MCL in Puff…

    Hope the 90 degree rotation adjustment goes well.

  13. Scott Ales
    Scott Ales says:

    90 degree rotation successful..

    Had to disassemble without damaging 70 year old diaphragm.
    Tap new threads into alternative housing flange holes. Fortunately they were pre-drilled!
    Punch new holes in the rubber diaphragm using leather hole punch hand tool. Which required putting the tool in my vise! Slowly tighten….listen for tic!. Don’t bend the handles!
    Turn 90 degrees, reassemble.

  14. Mark Saunders Signature56
    Mark Saunders Signature56 says:

    For me it’s about being able to handle the part before I buy it. You can tell much about quality and fit/finish as soon as you open the box.

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