A Passion For Classics
Hidden Valley Auto Parts
Jeff Hoctor loves classic vehicles. It’s a love that runs deep in his family. His dad, Donald Hoctor, started Hidden Valley Auto Parts in Maricopa, Ariz., an auto recycling facility that specializes in classics, in 1961. Donald was a body man and had the idea to buy some property to store and recycle vehicles used for repair. As it turned out, he couldn’t part with the vehicles. “We wanted to keep the cars instead,” explained Jeff. Hidden Valley Auto Parts soon amassed a large inventory of classic vehicles and organically became a large classic specialist, in fact some of the original cars are still around.
“There’s cars out here that dad bought in the early 1960s,” Jeff acknowledged.
Jeff started odd jobs at the business around 10 to 12 years old and came on board full-time after he graduated from high school.
Today Jeff and his brothers, Matthew Hoctor and Joseph Hoctor, all run the business, along with Jeff’s wife Cheryl. Hidden Valley Auto Parts (www.hiddenvalleyautoparts.com) currently has about 1,500 vehicles on 10 acres. And while the business does have some late-model vehicles (those seven-years-old and newer) it really is known for its classic selection.
It’s that great word-of-mouth that keeps the yard full of classics. Jeff admitted that his stock of vehicles largely comes from the public. He doesn’t buy from auctions, like a typical recycler. He said the business has been around long enough that people know to call them when they want to sell their 20 years and older vehicles.
“We’ll buy everything, but we prefer - and will pay more - for the older cars,” said Jeff.
And just like dad, who still owns the business but is retired, Jeff and his brothers only crush small amount of vehicles per year, 100 to 200, just for the space. Although Jeff does admit that some classic vehicles just don’t sell, like older foreign vehicles. Jeff explained mostly it’s because restorers of those vehicles have a hard time finding quality replacement parts. On the other hand, the 1967 - 1969 Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird remain constant favorites for collectors.
The cars are stored outside and kept as whole as possible. The dry, Arizona weather keeps the metal in great shape, even on cars that have been there since the beginning. Engines and transmissions are pulled and stored in a small warehouse. If somebody comes in or calls for a part, Jeff or one of his brothers will go out and pull it. It’s a full-service location, but some people just like to visit to walk through the “museum.”
“There are things out there I don’t even know are here,” he said. In fact, there are vehicles there that have been on the site since it opened in 1961.
For those that can’t get out to Maricopa, Ariz. to search for classic treasure, Jeff said they will ship, for a price. They have shipped everything from small parts through UPS and USPC to entire vehicles by freight. “It can be very expensive, but we can ship anything,” he acknowledged.
Although Hidden Valley Auto Parts is on Car-Part.com, the actual inventory is still on paper. The computerized Hollander Interchange only goes back to 1965, but Jeff said they have the older books and refer to them for interchange parts earlier than 1965.
Hidden Valley Auto Parts’ inventory is also on The Locator’s new online Classic Search. Go to www.partslocator.com/Classics.