Thirty members of the Villages Vintage Car Club had a wonderful experience Wednesday May 11, 2016. They traveled to Ocala to visit NPD National Parts Depot. A parts warehouse—not exactly. Vintage cars are like works of art. Just 30 miles from the villages is a world class collection. The owner treated us to a walk thru and story telling about each of these works of art.
Pictured above is Rick Schmidt posing with some of the 200 classic cars and trucks in a collection at National Parts Depot in Ocala.
At foreground left is a 1956 Continental owned by William Clay Ford Sr, one of fewer than 3,000 made.
National Parts Depot owns four locations nationwide: Ventura, Calif., Canton Mich., Charlotte N.C., and headquartered here in Ocala. The Ocala headquarters is a 160,000-square-foot warehouse, three-quarters of which is packed full inventory. The remainder of the space is the sales department, shipping and receiving departments, corporate offices and a classic car collection. They have about 130 cars here in Ocala.
Rick’s father had been buying, selling and dabbling in collector-cars his entire life. They still have a few cars that date way back, including his first car that he bought when he was 14 (a 1928 Ford Model A), and a 1957 Thunderbird that he purchased in 1964. The remainders were acquired mostly from 1989 to present. Each car has its own story of how it was found or where it was bought. There’s no “store” they shopped at; they came upon opportunities in all places through advertisements, or car shows, or auctions, or through word-of-mouth. The collection is quite diverse, mostly American-made cars from 1903 up to present-day. The main focus was extremely low-mile original unrestored examples. He feels that these types of cars, some of which have fewer than 100 miles on them, are the most prized and rare finds. He also have a large number of restored vehicles, but again, with a heavy emphasis on high quality and originality. There’s a heavy amount of Lincoln, Cadillac, Pontiac, Ford and Chevrolet, with a smattering of Oldsmobile and Buick mixed in. With only a few Mopars.
If he had to choose favorites, his father’s would be his 1930 Lincoln Model L Sport Phaeton, and Rick’s would be his 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429.
After the visit to NPD the group had lunch at Mimi’s Café reminisced about the cars they had seen.