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I've only placed a few parts orders over the last few years, with both of them, and my observations are:

Centerline:
- tends to be a bit pricier on some things, but it may be a part from a different supplier (better brand?). Service was good.

IAP
- I had a bad shipping experience once with IAP (cross border) although I paid an upfront premium to avoid a surprise COD, I still got dinged extra at the door. To a degree they made good on it, but I really had to chase them as they initially gave me the impression that I should just move on.

- My biggest criticism of IAP has to be they never seemed to have everything I ever needed in stock that I could get everything in one shipment, and only get kicked in the nuts once.

Like Herb22 wrote - competition is always a good thing!

I recently came across a couple posts mentioning Alfissimo on the forum and just placed an order with them (Jason). Seems like a really nice guy, insists on only selling good quality parts and the prices are good-fair (as were the shipping charges). I believe he's a relatively new start up, so the order process may take a bit more as he is currently a one man shop and is still building his website (so all available parts and prices are not shown yet). Give him a chance?
 

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I am not at all surprised at this. As pre-1990s Alfas age, are wrecked or get taken off the road, the demand for Alfa parts shrinks. We have been fortunate to have 4 or 5 parts suppliers in the US (although a few like Vicks and Alfa Parts Berkeley have poor on-line shopping cart implementation) and the current market has probably gotten too small to support all of them.
 

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these guys get alot of my "coin". Very weird for an Italian company to know what customer service is and these guys do. They sell other makers parts, I just linked to the Alfa page/portion. I have no affiliation, just very satisfied...

ALFA ROMEO : AUTORICAMBIFIRAT.IT, Ricambi d'auto d'epoca

ciao, chris
 

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Maybe Paul at IAP was ready to retire and simply sold the business.
 

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Placed my first Centerline order today

Have time for shopping since my brakes went south on Sunday. They will pump up and stop (eventually). Pulled the tires and checked all wheels and under hood, under car and see no leaks. Also the fluid level is still at the top max line. So I have ordered a new Master Cylinder.

Added a replacement badge for the boot lid as the clear layer on the top is going fast.

Stopped by Harbor Freight for some nitrile gloves, shop rags, and their brake bleeder last night. Grabbed a couple of pints of brake fluid at the neighborhood parts store this morning.

Will be sitting out, dodging the heat over the long weekend while I await my shipment.

Was really glad that I was a block from home when the brake issue started. We made it to Stow, MA and back, last Thursday for Italian night at Minuteman Airfield. That was a blast. Good turn out of old and even a couple of new Alfas! Well done!

John
 

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Many, if not all, industries go through game-changing shifts from time to time. The Classic Alfa business model has taken its toll. Outstanding customer service, very wide parts availability for even the unusual models, super-competitive prices, and delivery speed and cost that apparently can't be matched by domestic vendors. I recall a company I once worked for that did a lot of things very, very well, but a direct competitor was enough larger that they negotiated a deal with UPS that EVERY package that shipped would be charged something like $5.00 without regard to size or weight. To get this, the competitor just had to guarantee they would pay a flat rate for an entire container of boxes every day. We couldn't make that volume, so had to pay the going per-box rate. It was a powerful inducement.

A lot of old-line parts vendors grew up believing that a warranty claim should be honored only if it was truly defective, and that returns would be limited and charged a restocking fee. Customers would be challenged for the honesty and accuracy of their claims. While these things make perfectly good sense, the "Wal-marting of America" has changed customers' expectations, particularly in the retail market.

So, whatever drove this acquisition, it is in the normal scheme of things. Industries will always consolidate from time to time. The overseas competitors are stronger than ever right now, given the exchange rate imbalance, and some of our cars are enjoying upward trends in market interest.

Not a bad time to be restoring an Alfa, I think.
 

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As an Aussie that has to order most of his parts internationally you guys are lucky to have such well stocked and knowledgeable suppliers. We have a couple of smaller operators but they have no where near the range.

I must say IAP always looked like they had great parts etc but their international shipping was insane compared to Centerline, hence I have bought a fair bit from Centerline and Spruell. A pretty website also helps and I have always found Centerline's easy to navigate. Best wishes for the future Joe and I hope the merger only makes your business stronger and more successful. +1 on the vetting of repro parts too. No one wants to pay for something that nearly fits....
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Thanks for the kind words!

Thank you also to those offering advice and criticism. We are listening.

We will in fact be honoring returns and cores for things sold by IAP. Nobody wants to leave customers hanging or dissatisfied. There are some procedural issues to be worked out, but we will definitely make sure everyone gets what they were expecting.
 

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Massive undertaking Joe! Thanks!
Best, Gordon
 

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Let's not forget that Alfa Romeo did not stop producing cars after 1994. They just got out of the NA market.

Up here in Canada we are starting to see more and more 916 GTV/Spiders. In 5 years, these will be legal for import to the US.

This fresh blood should be enough to replace the pre-1994 Alfas that are being broken for parts and maintain a demand for Alfa parts IF US suppliers adapt.
 

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Centerline buys IAP

I'm assuming many of you saw the news earlier this week.
This is from their Facebook page:

Centerline Products is excited to announce that we have acquired International Auto Parts (IAP) of Charlottesville, VA.
To commemorate this change, and to honor IAP’s long history, Centerline Products will become Centerline International. All operations will remain based out of Centerline’s longtime Colorado location.
For nearly 40 years, Centerline and IAP have engaged in friendly competition. With this acquisition, Centerline International will continue our quest to passionately serve our customers by providing products and service worthy of the Alfa Romeo marque. Whether you drive a classic Giulietta, GTV or Spider, or have a brand new 4C you can look forward to increased staffing, new and innovative products, and the largest inventory of Alfa Romeo parts and accessories in North America.
At this time, I would like to encourage all Alfisti to thank IAP founder Paul Opiela for his many years of dedication and hard work, and to wish him well in his future adventures. There are also many other members of the IAP staff who have provided excellent service to our community over the years. They have all asked me to express their gratitude to the many long-term customers and friends they have met along the way.
 

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The restoration supply market was a little crowded and there just wasn't enough demand for their regular parts. There aren't too many older Alfas and FIATs on the road, comparably speaking. There's probably 1 vintage Alfa or FIAT in 10,000 cars you see? 20,000? Anyone's guess.

Also, I don't think there aren't enough vintage racers driving Alfas much anymore which was one of their other big area. The rules have changed in vintage racing and it costs a lot more now, at least that's what my Alfa friend told me at Sebring back in March. He quit because the cost tripled, thanks to Bill France (NASCAR) having bought Sebring and Road Atlanta in a package deal from Panoz. There were no Alfas in the historics race that weekend. The previous year, there had been 3 or 4 Alfas.

So, how many vintage Italian cars are actually on the road or are in garages and are either in restoration are road worthy?

Correct me if I'm wrong about things.

-Clark
 

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It's too bad that the competition has been reduced, but I'm honestly not surprised. Frankly, I was astonished when I bought my Spider that there were as many different parts suppliers as there are for a brand that hasn't been imported for 20 years.

Unfortunately, the number of people owning and maintaining classic Alfas is only going to go down over time. That dwindling number can only support so many businesses.
 

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I'm a little surprised at how fast it happened. Usually the things like core charges and credits etc are worked out before hand. Not after like one person posted about.

I'm not saying anything bad about core credit issue. Centerline honored it. Just commenting on how fast IAP went away.
 

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Perhaps Centerline will use the opportunity to upgrade their website.

Because IAP's website functionality is quite good, while Centerline's is well,...less than good.
I agree completely. I found myself shopping at IAP more than centerline because IAP was easier to find what I was looking for and easy to order. Their shipping was also quite prompt.

Hope Centerline steps up to the plate, web wise.
 
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