"Fast, cheap, and good, pick two. If you want all three, we can't help you.
We hear it all the time. "My buddy bought a mint one of those at a yard sale for five bucks." To that we say good for him, see what he will sell it to you for, or better yet, what he will sell it to us for. When people ask us why it costs so much there are a hundred reasons. First, we had to pay to go looking for the parts, passing on 98% of them because they were not of sufficient quality. This is why you do not see every part you need available all the time. Then we had to invest the labor, materials, time, and specialist services in repairing, refinishing, restoring, replacing, reassembling, and recalibrating the parts. Along the way others were finding and dumping new troves of old dealer stock on the market, or creating reproduction parts of various qualities that would either temporarily or permanently depress the market price below our costs. In addition, parts break while they are being restored, necessitating the purchase of assemblies or whole cars in some cases to obtain a hard to find, suddenly discontinued, or commonly worn part in good condition. Sometimes we create the tooling and make an item we cannot find with acceptable quality. Because the minimum cost of initial engineering, tooling, and minimum batch sizes is so high, it can take years to sell enough just break even. This does not include the cost to insure or store the parts, the tools required to reconstruct them, or the resources to advertise them, answer questions about them, package and ship them. Finally, there is the matter of timing. We typically have to buy parts we do not need at the moment, but they are of high quality and the seller wants a timely transaction. In such cases, we have to tie up our resources in inventory, so it will be conveniently ready when you are and you can keep your project on schedule. We have been involved in restorations that took 15 years, and had suppliers take our order and then start looking for a part they could supply profitably. We have been doing this for over 35 years and frankly the supply of good used original parts is dwindling faster than the aftermarket is willing to make concours quality replacements. We suspect it is because they have done the economics and it either isn't profitable or they would rather explore how much they can disappoint their customers and still get paid. The most expensive part of your restoration is still the part you buy and don't put on your car.