Following a string of transactions in the automotive aftermarket, private equity firm Baird Capital Partners announced the first bolt-on acquisition for portfolio company Eckler's Industries, a marketer of restoration parts and accessories for classic cars and vehicles.

Baird, the private equity arm of Chicago financial services firm Robert W. Baird & Co., purchased Eckler's in July. In November, it picked up Mac's Antique Auto Parts, a seller of classic Ford auto parts and accessories based in Lockport, N.Y.

The deal expands Titusville, Fla.-based Eckler's services to various types of vehicles, which currently include classic Chevy's from the 1950's. Meanwhile, Mac's focuses on pre-World War II models such as Model T's, Model A's and Flathead V8's.

Expect to see more deals in the auto parts industry. We've identified several would-be buyers. On the hunt for potential targets is Standard Motor Products Inc. (NYSE: SMP), an aftermarket manufacturer in Queens, N.Y., which acquired Compressor Works, a temperature control company in Dallas, for $37.4 million in May. Dorman Products Inc., which sells to auto aftermarket retailers and warehouse distributors, is also believed to be looking to buy. Another strategic buyer that is flush with cash and expected to make moves in the space is Fras-le SA, a Brazilian manufacturer of car parts and brake pads.


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