I am looking for a couple body parts for a 1979 Lincoln Continental. Since I must buy these via the internet from far away sources I need to know from others who I can trust. How do I know a salvage dealer is reputable?
It’s far better if you can see, feel, and touch the body part before taking delivery. With buying body parts off the internet, it’s crap-shoot. Sometimes you get a good part, and sometimes you get a part that’s in worse condition than the body part you’re trying to replace.
Understood I am trying to avoid the crap shoot. I asked one dealer to send photos of the part and am still waiting. I am hoping serious collectors and antique admirers will know companies who are reputable.
You can usually judge the character of salvage yard owners/employees by the way they treat the dog that patrols the lot. Really you can test this business the same way you would any other, perhaps do a test purchase and see how it goes.
maybe you could call a few repair shops / body shops in their area. check the BBB.
you could also try Hemmings.com. most advertisers there have good stuff
If you have a relationship with a local body shop, he may be your best source even if it costs a bit more. He knows which sources are reputable and which ones he avoids like the plague; we usually don’t. Any additional mark up is worth it in my opinion.