I really do not care what those Jokers on Corvette Forum do.Hi Brian
I think we are seeing another transition starting. Many of the long time players are retiring or dying out now. Some of the remaining rebuilders are more interested in quick profit than integrity with the work they offer. I have seen "custom" diff work on some forums where the rebuilder clearly cut corners in the work yet no one had a clue what they were looking at and could only offer dumb struck phrase.
Over the past few years we lost Tom Reina - corvette steering
Pat Ikerd, Ralph Eckler, some local car guys, and the rebuilding crew and now the owner of Tom's. In the meantime the age group for C1-C3's as increased while the younger age group does not have the numbers to support hobby as the generations past have. Restomods are overtaking restoration work which will peak in time due to the high cost that won't be able to sustain it.
Part quality is going down. 5 cut gears, as you know are history. USA made gears, for the 63-79 vettes were only offered by Toms - made by US Gear. Richmond,Motive,and Yukon I believe are all imported. Richmond closed it's US plant about 5 years ago and sold out to Midwest truck I believe. I haven't heard of any changes since but then I didn't bother with them either.
SO what does the future hold- who knows but I moved my shop in January, down sized,and sold off a lot of parts. Once Tom's parts are gone that could be the end of the run.
I think Prices on C3 Corvettes will rise.well I have 10 years on you! Many of those we lost never hit 70.
I will build as long as I still enjoy it, can still get good parts, and people want quality work, yeah time's are changing.
You're correct, others can make the HP parts but the market has changed. The cost to have say 30 HD axles made would be high and could take time to move. ROI would be low that's why no one challenged Tom on the vette parts over the years. There are those out there now with new $10k 9" IRS diffs or billet housings in the same price range, some will buy them but most will not.