Hooniverse Asks: What Old Car Part Do You Refuse to Throw Away?

See that hubcap up there? That’s off of the first car I ever owned. That means it’s like 23 cars ago, and that’s a long time. When I got my ’61 Chevy Corvair it was in pretty good shape externally, while the notable exception of one hubcap – yeah, you guessed it, that one – which had a noticeable bit of curb rash. I replaced it on the car with  a clean one from the junk yeard, and put this one up on the garage wall. It has followed me years and three garaged later.
That’s the  kind of automotive talisman that we all probably have laying around. Maybe its the guilty rod that punched a hole in a block, or a shift knob from a beloved ride sold long ago to fund your insatiable drug habit your starting of a family. Whichever it is, if you haven’t dumped it by now, chances are you never will. What exactly is that precious part?
Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

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31 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What Old Car Part Do You Refuse to Throw Away?”

  1. Diamond Hell Avatar
    Diamond Hell

    I have an exhaust manifold and downpipe from my 1.8 RHD Golf Syncro which I just can’t bear to part with because VW only made 650 of them and there’s only about 100 left and although my Golf Syncro will never go back to standard, someone somewhere might pay proper money when their manifold has cracked.
    (they won’t)

  2. Kiefmo Avatar

    Do license plates count? I keep old plates, but nothing else.
    However, I let my kids have and play with anything not dangerous that I take off of any car. Usually, my son is the only one interested. I clean them up the best I can so he doesn’t ruin his clothes and I don’t feel the wrath of the missus. His current favorites are a nearly-complete set of deceased Honda Odyssey engine/trans mounts (missing the front, active mount because it’s fluid-filled and a freaking mess).

  3. JayP Avatar

    By looking at my work room… I keep all of them.

  4. GTXcellent Avatar

    Funny this question came up – just yesterday my 6 year old son noticed for the first time, the timing chain and sprockets from a Mopar big block hung up on a wall in my shed. Long story short – 20 years ago the timing chain jumped in my GTX. It lead to a months long scour for a correct ’68 440 block and subsequent build up. That timing chain set has followed me around for half a dozen moves. I keep this grand delusion of turning it into a clock, but never do.
    Another story I’ll add – back 30+ years ago, a family friend lived in Hawaii for about a decade. He sent me a Hawaiian license plate that was a great elementary show-and-tell, and a neat conversation piece. It hung on a wall in my parents garage forever. I’d always been meaning to grab it so my sons could have a cool show-and-tell too. Unbeknownst to me, 2 weeks ago my folks had a garage sale. They got $20 for it…rotten, no-good, s#$*(*#(*)*#@#

  5. Maymar Avatar

    I still have the 3.5L 24 VALVE V6 badges off my old Intrepid, but that’s about all I have for car parts. That said, I still have a traffic cone I found years ago which I won’t get rid of (to my wife’s chagrin).

  6. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    I have a pair of axle shims for a Wrangler. I ordered CJ ones and these were sent by mistake. They sent me new ones and didn’t want these back. I can’t bring myself to throw them away. Free to good home.

  7. nanoop Avatar

    The old tach had a burned coil, but I kept it, slightly tuned:

    View post on imgur.com

  8. acarr260 Avatar

    I have an old hubcap that has an Indian on it that I found on my parents’ farm years ago. I keep pulling it out to polish it up, but then I always decide that the patina is too cool and I put it back away. If it would fit on my VW…

    1. dukeisduke Avatar


      1. acarr260 Avatar

        Yes, I think it’s a 1951 Pontiac. I found it half-buried behind a barn. It looks like this:

  9. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    I have a rear lamp cluster from my first Rover. I keep meaning to wire it up and have it permanently lit somewhere, but wifey is less enthusiastic to give it house room.
    One day, when I get that aircraft hangar or barn I hanker for….

    1. Alff Avatar

      Sounds like that would be a lovely way to light your doorbell.

  10. mr smee Avatar
    mr smee

    GM original hood-pin cables from 71 Chevelle SS. Likely got the last ones in stock 20 years ago.

  11. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I have the remarkably heavy front license plate mount from my first car.
    Not a picture of mine, but it looks just like this.
    It’s a useless piece of crap that I took off the car because I had no plans to mount a front plate. By virtue of having been removed, it stayed behind when the rest of the car went away. Now, all I have left of my Spitfire is what I didn’t want of it at the time. Among the literal tons of car parts that I have scattered about, it is the one thing that I will likely never find a purpose for, nor get rid of.

    1. William Robinson Avatar
      William Robinson

      Did they use them as the crash protection?

  12. ayuvar Avatar

    I’ll never throw out the dented and chipped grille badge I saved from my Impreza as it was going to the accident-damage auction.
    Hell, I’d frame it if I could.

  13. dukeisduke Avatar

    Crap, I’d have to make a list. A set of four ’60 Corvair hubcaps (like the one in the lede photo), four Vega trim rings, three Monza 2+2 plastic wheelcovers (had four, until the ’76 Vega threw one on the freeway, after which I put a set of GT steel wheels on), exhaust hanger donuts for my ’78 Audi Fox, etc., etc., etc.

  14. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    The only part from my car I’ve ever kept is the original Roundel from the hood. We had to replace it when that area of the hood needed to be repainted.
    But my grandfather should reply here… his garage is full of parts from (I’d guess) ever car he’s owned in his life. I’ve only ever seen a small portion of it but I’m told there’s a bunch more.

  15. Sjalabais Avatar

    You can throw away car parts?

      1. mve Avatar

        You don’t throw away car parts; you repurpose them as wall art, yard art, house art….

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          That cat-haired-shelf-in-the-unlit-backend-of-the-garage-art is my best practice though.

  16. hwyengr Avatar

    When my dad sent my first car to the scrapyard, he salvaged some of the better parts that he thought I’d like for momentos, like the good fender, the grille, various badges, and the steering wheel. So some day, my 1986 Volkswagen GTI shadow box will be a reality, and hanging proudly in the garage.

  17. Alff Avatar

    Pretty much all of them. I’ve still got replacement parts I never got around to using for vehicles I sold 15 years ago or more.
    Least convenient are the spare Alfa Nord and 5-speed transmission, both needing rebuilt, in the corner of the garage. I’m not sure I’ll ever use them for anything.

  18. salguod Avatar

    I saved a fender badge from my ’76 Camaro (1st car) and a nose badge from my ’80 Monzda (second car). I’ve got a slightly mangled Mazda badge from my ’05 Mazda3 (current car) from when I rear ended a RAV4. Nothing but pictures of the rest.

  19. engineerd Avatar

    I have quite the license plate collection. Starting with the California plates from my ’87 Crown Vic wagon to several Michigan plates from cars sold but not immediately replaced.

  20. peugeotdude505 Avatar

    Steering wheel badge from my old peugeot

  21. greggbc Avatar

    I still have the lugnut wrench from my 73 RX2. Just cannot bring myself to throw it away.

  22. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

    The keys to my mother’s old Datsun 280ZX that we flipped over in, back in the early ’80s. I’m glad to not remember most of the wreck itself, but it definitely makes me appreciate that I’m still breathing. I think it has kept me from taking life for granted in some ways. I’m not sure off the top of my head where the keys are at this moment, but I’m sure they are around here somewhere.

  23. Guest Avatar

    I found Alberta license plates from 1956-1974 (1974 is when they quit doing yearly plates here) while cleaning the garage where I keep my car.

  24. Sean McMillan Avatar
    Sean McMillan

    I have a jar of spare keys to most of the cars I’ve owned plus some of my dads and some that might have been his dads. One day I’ll make some sort of wall art with them.