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MG MGA - Lucas supplying FAE parts

I've decided to start a new thread on this subject because I suspect that it's a wider issue than my own particular problem.

In an earlier thread entitled Brake Light Switch Replacement I explained that I had ordered a new switch from MGOC which turned out to be an FAE one. Barney's site has a whole list of switches to avoid, and FAE was one of the worst, only lasting for 250 miles in one case. To be safe, the advice I received was to buy a Lucas switch, which I did through Auto Electrical Spares in the UK. It arrived this morning, in a green Lucas box with part number SMB423 on the label, but inside was an FAE switch part number 21010. So in other words, exactly the same as the MGOC replacement.

I've just finished speaking to the guy at Auto Electrical Spares, who assures me that this is a "genuine Lucas part" even though it's made by somebody else and that it's the only one that Lucas supplies these days. He also told me that it comes with a 12 month guarantee and that he's never had a single complaint about any of the ones he's sold in the past.

His comments have certainly helped to reassure me, but I can't help feeling that this is tantamount to misrepresentation!
Robert Sinclair

Not an uncommon situation - most car parts are manufactured by other than the seller/brand name.

Chris at Octarine Services

Bought a set of Bosch ign. points the other day, same nice old yellow cardboard box but inside was the crappiest set of points I think I've ever seen, the contact on the arm was at an angle and missed lining up with the base contact by about half the contact area
AND they looked really tinny whereas they used to be the best solid looking sets about
Ended up with a nice set of ventilated Fuelmiser points for 1/2 the price and 100 times better
William Revit

the ones AES supply will be Lucas but probably not as you were expecting. Going back I can't remember how long Lucas in the green and white boxes can be poorer quality parts or even possibly copies/counterfeit.

That isn't to say that they all are or that it applies to the SMB423 you have been supplied.

NOS Lucas can be good but it often depends on how old is old and new or old bad stock can be in batches so ones before and after that batch can be good.
Nigel Atkins

"LUCAS" is just a label.

Lucas as a manufacturer of parts ceased to exist at least 15 years ago.

Whatever is in a box labelled "LUCAS" is probably whatever the owner of the name can currently source at an advantageous price; original specifications and quality control might well be lost in history.

There are several old automotive parts supplier names reappearing recently, sometimes on parts that were never previously available under that name. They are not all bad, but finding out which are good is something of a gamble.
J N Gibson

Agree with JNG...Lucas hasn't been around for many years. These manufacturers are just "using" the name to sell crap parts.It's a wonder that there isn't a trademark ownership on the Lucas name?
Gary Lock

IIRC some poor quality NOS Lucas parts go back more than 15 years (2004), more like 25 years.

Having said that I got a new Lucas lights stalk column switch from Bad Boys Classics a few years ago and it's been working fine on my every-day midget with H4 headlights (without any relays).
Nigel Atkins

I got new points awhile back for the MGA. Took out the old points, compared them to the new points, and then lightly filed the old points and put them back in the distributor. The new ones were really poorly made. Not much quality control by whomever contracted them.
Bill Haglan

In the USA wouldn't you use Jeff Schlemmer of Advanced if you wanted decent dissy parts as we would use the Distributor Doctor on this side of the pond(?).

(although I can't get Ads web store link to work for me)
Nigel Atkins

25 years???

I remember Lucas being called the Prince of Darkness 50+ years ago!
Chris at Octarine Services

It's probably a lot more complex than this but basically Lucas or LucasVarity as it had become was bought by TRW in 1999. Various bits were sold off and largely still exist under new owners. TRW was later bought by Northrop Grumman who disposed of the remaining automotive assets.

The Lucas name is now owned by Blackstone Group, an American private equity company based in New York City. They have licenced the use of the name to ELTA Automotive based in Coleshill in the English Midlands. I don't think ELTA actually make anything. They claim that Lucas is the longest continuously trading automotive brand in the world.

Malcolm Asquith

This thread was discussed between 16/05/2019 and 18/05/2019

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