Many modern kit cars are designed using a variety of parts and components rather than a single donor vehicle. This is done for a number of reasons, from ensuring the often more powerful vehicle is safe, to a purely engineering standpoint such as a shorter wheelbase requiring a different prop-shaft.
For whatever reason it would not be possible to use a single donor, the parts have to be sourced from somewhere. This is where car salvage yards have provided the solution, often at a much lower cost than say, buying new parts off the shelf.
But many people are wary of using parts from a salvage yard as you don’t know the history of the component. For many parts such as rear light units it is not a problem as a good visual inspection will reveal any problems.
However, for some of the more important safety components such as brake calipers it is often a false economy to try to find serviceable units at a local scrap yard. A browse through some of the larger car accessory websites will often bring up a number of aftermarket alternatives that are very competitively priced and I find that it is worth paying that little bit extra for new parts to give me peace of mind.
There is another point to consider when trawling the scrapyards for bits and pieces. That is, you need to be sure that the bits you salvage are from the exact model and often the right year of manufacture in order for them to fit your kit project. This can be frustrating if the parts you need are from a model that had major design changes during the life of the car.
A friend of mine had to make three trips to the salvage yard just to get a rear light cluster that would fit. It seemed that each vehicle had very minor changes that rendered the previous units unsuitable.
So, you know the exact make and model you require and the part you are looking for. It is worth telephoning the salvage yard ahead of time to ask if they remove the parts for you or if you need to wrestle with a big lump of scrap iron yourself to retrieve the components you desire. If they remove the parts then you need to confirm that you are getting everything you need, including brackets or connectors for example.
If you are expected to remove the parts yourself then you will need to take with you any tools you may need as the tool kits used by car salvage yards are often well worn and potentially dangerous. Safety must be your absolute priority when removing bits as injuries are common.
Overall, trawling your local scrapyards can be a fun and rewarding way to source the components you need without breaking the bank. Just remember to be careful out there!