Transforming Classic Cars

Transforming Classic Cars

Phoenix business helps customers restore the past

By Dave Ficere

Fans of the Transformer film franchise will want to pay special attention to the setting in the new Transformers 5 movie. That’s because much of it takes place at the Phoenix location of Desert Valley Auto Parts.

[The movie crew] “used our location as their base camp and set during the three months of filming.,” owner Jason McClure says, “and we weren’t able to talk about it or anything going on with the filming.” The latest installment in the franchise, starring Mark Walberg, hits theaters on June 23.

Desert Valley is the largest antique car junkyard in the world and gained a lot of notoriety from their appearance on the Discovery Channel’s hit Reality TV show, “Desert Car Kings.”

“It was huge and everyone thinks we got paid a ton of money for it,” McClure says, “but that wasn’t the case.” What it was, he added, is the kind of exposure that money can’t buy. The show featured cars that were restored during the episodes and later auctioned through one of Desert Valley’s sister companies, 5 Star Auto Auction.

While other companies specialize in specific cars, Desert Valley is the only one that handles all classic American cars from the 1970s and earlier. Founded in 1993, Desert Valley Auto Parts has become famous for its 40 acres of entire cars and parts to cars many collectors thought they could never find. McClure says his family has always been in the wrecking business and he simply branched off into the antique business.

Operated on two lots – the main facility in the Deer Valley area north of downtown Phoenix and a second facility south of Phoenix in Casa Grande – “DVAP,” as it’s affectionately called, is an auto parts treasure with customers from literally around the world. A third location – in Black Canyon City – is currently being rebuilt after a fire gutted the facility.

Customers are generally amazed and impressed by the amount of classic car inventory on both DVAP lots – with so many that not every car and car part has been able to be inventoried online – yet. “The selection is so big,” McClure says, “that if you do search our online inventory and don’t find what you’re looking for, don’t stop there.” In that case, customers can fill out the “Request a Part” form.

“Our staff loves cars, but even more so they love a search challenge and they will scour the yards looking for a requested item,” McClure adds. “You’d be amazed at what we’ve been able to find.”

And it doesn’t stop there. McClure tirelessly searches the nation for classic cars hidden away and acquires them for the yard, meanly DVAP’s current stock is constantly growing.   

So what is the allure about classic cars? In one sense, McClure says, it’s people wanting the cars they drove in high school to relive their past. Especially among Baby Boomers who grew up in the 60s and 70s and want to go back to those cars they drove then. For example, the man who is now in his 60s who fondly remembers the 1964 Mustang he drove in his teens.

In addition to some people wanting to relive their childhoods, McClure says parents often want to restore cars either for or with their children. And, because nostalgia is also a part of it, McClure says car makers are picking up on that, producing new cars with the classic or “retro” look and feel. “In the old days, most people needed a part to get or keep their car running,” McClure says. “Now, people want parts to restore their cars and Arizona is great for car parts” because we don’t have the weather extremes that damage cars in other parts of the country.

So, as you plan the transformer process of your classic car, check out Desert Valley Auto Parts. They are open Monday-Friday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. The main lot and corporate office is located at 23811 North 7th Avenue in Phoenix. You can call them at 800-905-8024 or check them out online at dvap.com.

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