Story and photos byTannon Weber
As part of their continuing series of Members’ Garage Tours, the Arizona chapter of Mopars Unlimited was invited to visit Mr. Moparts in Phoenix suburb of Surprise in April 2013.
Founded in 1988 by Robert and Barb Chentfant and their sons Mark and Mike, Mr. Moparts specializes in more than 4,000 reproduction parts for sixties and early-seventies A, B, and C-bodies, many of which they manufacture themselves, on-site. As enthusiasts, Robert had many Mopars over the years including several Furys and Dodge trucks, and his sons have several Duster-style A-bodies and a Road Runner. After Robert's passing, Mike and Mark have continued the family business, visiting a dozen car shows in the Western United States annually and selling through Internet/catalog sales.
Their catalog is very impressive. Focusing on those mostly non-mechanical parts like clips, trim, soft gaskets, and soft interior parts, they supply many of the fit-and-finish parts that are necessary in restoration projects for cars forty to fifty years old. They prototype all of their kits themselves from original research, and don't refer to aftermarket parts from other companies when creating their products, instead locating original cars to document every part they wish to offer. They also don't make claims about parts without having first verified the application.
When planning the trip out to Surprise, some sixty miles from my part of town I expected just a warehouse with a bunch of boxes. Instead I found a wonderful home-based business with strong family ties and a very positive attitude among three generations. While there certainly are bins and boxes on shelves, they've got mills, lathes, drills, welders, benders, press-cutters, die-cutters, and a plasma cutter all available to produce all manner of parts. They also understand the differences between Dusters and Demons, between Satellites and Chargers; they understand that within the various platforms there are several variations and that some parts for one vehicle may not be the right parts for another platform-mate, and they manufacture accordingly.
Before the facilities tour we visited the personal garage of one of brothers, Mark. Mike’s son is mostly into GMs, and they've been restoring Novas, but Mark himself likes his Mopar A and B bodies and had several cars out back waiting for rotisserie and lift space, including an oddly-optioned A-body that originally came with swivel bucket seats. The candidates-in-waiting were in fairly rough shape even for Arizona, but after we returned to the main facility I have no doubt that they'll be able to do whatever they need in order to get those cars back on the road.
Mr. Moparts has managed to cram a whole lot of facility into a couple of acres. They have separate working areas for each kind of production and storage. Their fastener room has hundreds upon hundreds of bolts, nuts, screws, adjusters, metal clips, plastic clips, and any other number of fasteners used in our cars, and they hand-assemble fastener kits themselves. Along with their alter ego Southwest Reproductions (for non-Mopar applications), they distribute 293 different fastener kits. While they buy their screws and most of their other metal fasteners, they've found American domestic manufacturing to produce the parts whenever possible, finding quality and consistency much easier to maintain when buying here as opposed to outsourcing overseas.
In their machining room they cut, turn, weld, and otherwise form steel and aluminum to make engine accessory brackets, door hinge and detent kits, shifter brackets, antenna parts and tools, and all sorts of other metal products.
Some of the metal parts have to be cut from steel plate. They employ a CNC plasma cutter to turn out the blanks, which are then machined and coated to form the finished product, such as these door hinge detents.
As a newer aspect of their business they die-cut to make many soft products such as taillight gaskets, door lock cylinder gaskets, and flexible inner wheel well liners. Some of their dies are six feet long, like those for the '66 Charger's taillights. In just a minute they walked us through the process of cutting taillight gaskets for the '72 Charger.
Some of their highest-demand products are their soft color-matched interior parts. They color the material before casting or forming whenever possible to ensure that the parts don't need paint to match the interior, and to prevent the customer from having the experience of paint cracking or peeling on soft parts like armrests and door pulls. They manufacture these parts themselves, and can often turn out production runs as few as a dozen units, making small-batch group buys possible for special colors or limited applications.
They even have molds for a dozen types of fan shrouds.
Mike and Mark are always looking for more models to cover, and are looking into opportunities to supply for the late-seventies cars. (author's note: I could really use some late-seventies sail-panels, so all those with me, please step up and be heard!) Right now the Aspen and Volaré are becoming hot cars, so expect to see offerings for those soon.
After the facilities tour, Mr. Moparts further welcomed Mopars Unlimited members with lunch on the patio and time for one-on-one questions. Some members knew of original cars that they might want to investigate to identify parts for new kits, others had already found parts they needed for their cars. We were very impressed with the operations and thrilled that someone not only is interested in supplying aftermarket parts for vehicles that have been sorely under-served by the distributors, but that they're actually enthusiasts for these cars themselves.
European and other overseas Mopar enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Mr. Moparts ships internationally as well.
Even though my own car, a 1978 Chrysler Cordoba, is out of the normal year range they specifically identify that they cover, I'm going to cross-reference-check for compatibility. Many parts from the ’71-74 B-body will fit my ’78, and I expect many mid-seventies C-body parts to fit the last generation C-bodies as well. As they continue to look for new markets I expect more to help those like me, who've been previously unsupported in the aftermarket.
Mr. Moparts can be reached at MrMoparts.net, or by phone at (623) 975-7053.
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