October 5th, 2015

“Prototyping is $10,000, minimum.”

That’s what we’ve gotten used to saying here at Fesler. The phone rings at least once every two days with someone who wants a part custom-made for their car. Most of the time it’s hood hinges for a 70s model Caprice, or a such-and-such Buick, or a newer C-10 truck.

Fesler C-10 hood hinge

The truth is, prototyping a hood hinge doesn’t cost $10,000. By the time you add up all the factors, it costs about $30,000. And that’s the just the capital.

Maintaining Fesler Billet’s reputation for quality means training a small team of professionals that know the ins and outs of their jobs perfectly. We’ve interviewed a number of machinists who just can’t wrap their heads around the weird shapes that make up a Fesler hood hinge. Likewise, we’ve tried subbing production work out to other shops, rarely getting back samples that will measure up to our standards – and then the price is generally astronomical.

So, when it comes time to prototype new parts, current production has to stop. That means we have to rely on stored supply to fill new orders, usually coming dangerously close (or worse) to running out of more popular items. Chances are, if you’ve ever had to wait on a part from Fesler Billet, it’s because we are trying to squeeze in time to work on a new product.

Fesler 1st Generation Camaro hood hinges and their alternate applications.

Fesler Billet parts are not chosen at random. Careful survey is used to determine which classic cars still have the most representatives on the road or in shops being restored or retrofitted. Those cars, like the 1969 Camaro, are the ones with the largest target audience and present the best chance to sell a part designed for them to a large market.

The 1969 Camaro, a great example of a car that sells parts!

You might be building what will one day become the best Ford Pinto on the show circuit, and people do – nothing wrong with that, but the chances that we mock up a hood hinge for you are slim to none. In building that hinge, the bet is that it will sell the volume needed to recoup 30 grand. (Basically, 70+ sets in the first year or two and a steady amount after that.)

And, believe us when we say, we’ve lost that bet before.

Of course, we are working on new products all the time, watching the market to see what is rising or falling in popularity. Don’t be discouraged when you hear we aren’t interested in making a part for your make, model and year, it may just mean not enough people have shown interest yet.

Check out our line of superior billet aluminum products at www.shopfesler.com and see what we have for your build!

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