TMCP #529: Ask Rick – New Year 2023! Ken Block Memories, Pickup Truck Restoration Market Growth, Return on Investment Cars


Rick Schmidt – Ask Rick:

Happy New Year and welcome to 2023! It is once again time to talk with Rick about the burning questions of New Year’s goals, blue chip muscle cars, and the best the restoration market will continue to grow (likely trucks). Unfortunately, as most of you have likely already heard, the death of Ken Block is where the initial focus of this episode is dedicated. Ken left a legacy in our work akin to Dale Earnhardt in some way, and he defined the pursuit of passion. He had two entirely different careers in founding DC Shoes and Hoonigan, and he is one person who will always leave an impression on all of us who are following in his footsteps. In the end though, he was a man who had a wife and three children, all of whom are now without him. Our sincere condolences and prayers go out to all of them.

Ken Block

Rick’s Take on Planning Goals for 2023:

With this being the New Years 2023 show, I asked Rick about his goals for life and NPD. Rick and his dad have grown the business by “the seat of their pants” and are not ones for in depth strategy planning for the future. He pointed out that no one knows the exact future and any plans can be thwarted by wars, weather, or family and then everything is out the window. Of course he does do essential planning and responds to changes in the market place but he likes to keep his options open and stay light on the proverbial feet in business.

Rick’s Take on expanding restoration markets:

As owner of National Parts Depot, Rick always has his finger on the pulse of the restoration parts market. I asked Rick where he thinks the biggest growth will be for 2023 and surprisingly (or not) his answer was that it was trucks! Cars are the eye candy and always what one thinks of when it comes to classic vehicle restoration but the iconic well known vehicles have been picked over pretty well and it is getting rare to still find one in a barn. Also cars had to look good or they were sent to the scrapper so even examples in bad shape are long gone. Not so with trucks. Every one knows of at least one clapped out, trashed around, limping on its last legs example of an old pickup truck that was probably seen even in the last week. Truck are kept on the road much long than cars and even maybe well past their safe drive expiration date. That means there is still an abundance of them around to fix and restore. These work vehicles are also what most people remember as the model a loved one always drove to get something done. Many childhood memories of “a day at the farm” or of time spent with grandpa/grandma/dad/mom doing errands in the trusty family pickup are fueling the restoration market for trucks.

Rick’s Take on selling a business to a private equity group:

I wa curious if Rick had considered who the next owner of NPD might be, especially in light of so many corporate (private equity) acquisitions in the aftermarket as of late. Rick has certainly had those thoughts and he believes his daughters could take over at some point if they wanted that to be their focus, but he has no desire to sell to private equity for a multitude of reasons. If he were ever to sell his desire would be to sell to the employees of NPD first and foremost. They have the desire, experience, and passion that has propelled NPD to the forefront!

1970 Dodge Challenger Convertible as seen on eBay

Rick’s Take on “Investment” Auction Cars

This month, for the car purchase picks I chose all high end blue-chip muscle cars and wanted to know which one could have the best return on investment (ROI) at the end of the year.

Number one was a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach I 428 Super Cobra Jet with the drag pack option and four speed transmission. The title said it is one of two but Rick said you can do that with almost any Cobra Jet if you drill down far enough. The pictures were horrible and the price was all of the dollars but the car looked like a great show car but the price was maybe $20k on the high side.

The second auction car was a 1969 Chevy Nova COPO 396. Rick admitted that he does not know how to verify the COPO authenticity but said it is a stunning looking neat car. At six figures it is very high for a Nova and may actually be closer to the right price than the Drag Pack Mustang.

The last was a Mopar and it was a MCACN Gold show winner. It is a 1970 Dodge Challenger 440 R/T Convertible and they were asking $180k. It looked amazing and the Blue with white stripe is eye catching and looks like a magazine super model. Rick pointed out that it is a convertible with air conditioning. This is the car Rick thinks would still have the best ROI at the end of the year and also is the one he would buy. He thinks this is a car that would hit a quarter of a million in some future sale.

You can find out more about NPD at the website National Parts Depot, or on social media via NationalPartsDepot or on

Thanks Rick!

-Rob Kibbe

This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!


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