Welcome to our resource for MG Car Information.
MG MGA - Scarborough Faire
|As others were commenting on LBCC's good service, I just wanted to put my two cents in for Scarborough Faire as well. I called because I needed some flex brake and clutch lines for my Magnette. Celia carries some Magnette parts and is very knowledgeable when it comes to which parts are intechangeable with the MGA. Celia was away at the NAMGAR GT in Whistler, so they called her that evening with my request. She then spoke with my dad, who was at the show, about the car and made some additional suggestions. Her counterparts in Rhode Island called me back the next day with the order all ready to go, just needing my cc number. Shipped Wednesday, received Friday. I can finish my project this weekend. It's not the first time she's gone above and beyond, so I just wanted to pass my experience along to the rest of you.|
|Mark J Michalak|
|Here's hoping you don't have to return anything.|
|Cecilia Bruce of SF was awarded the NAMGAR "Mac Spears" award at GT32 - a well deserved honour.|
|Cecilia is one of those rare business owners who tries to help you NOT buy parts from her. She always offers advice on the cheapest workarounds to try out before resorting to ordering new parts. As Peter says, the Mac Spears award was well deserved.|
|just to chime in here. I met Cecilia at GT32 and spent hours talking with her. She really does know the MG parts business inside out and, like Peter said she gave me advice on the best route to follow in rebuilding Twin-Cam brakes. And that route did not lead to her business. I appreciated her candor and I am sure that I will be sending orders her way in the future. I think that her old style New-Yorkish way of doing business may put off people who are used to the modern way of doing things, She isn't afraid of offering an opinion but will go to great lengths to help out her customers.|
|I concur. Cecilia and SF have been a fantastic and indispensable help to me in maintaining my MGA 1600 MkII by providing both original and aftermarket parts (including handling returns) and much excellent advice. I'm glad hear she's been recognized by the award at the NAMGAR GT. Only the day before she left for Canada I had called her in urgent need of a brake caliper adapter plate and she took the time to rush me the part so I could complete the restoration of the front end on my car in time for a show. She also remembered every detail of my plans for refreshing the car, which I had described to her over two years ago. Congratulations, Cecilia! Well deserved! Thanks for being there for us.|
|Who else will replace a part after 6 year no question asked. ONLY Cecilia I'll buy from her over any one else.|
|I too have had good experiences with Cecelia. When restoring my car i had purchased many items, among them were the metal brake lines. After a few years, I got around to installing them. I found out there was a difference between early 1500s and late 1500s. I had the wrong ones (my mistake when ordering them). A call to SF and Cecelia knew exactly my problem and rectified the situation...No questions asked or blame placed. A great supplier and she knows her stuff about MGA's! My only problem, is getting her to answer in shorter dialogs. Boy, can she can talk!|
|I also find her very helpful. As said in previous posts, she talks a lot but that is her way and she is very knowledgable on many MG's. Unlike Moss who has a more liberal return policy, she will still try to work with you on a one to one basis. As long as you know that about her return policy, her parts are one of the best and the quality is good too.|
|Celia went way beyond anything any body has ever done for me and my 1956 MGA that I have had since 1970. She|
gave me the exact part number for Moss that mosses people didn't even know they had and I ordered it,received it and it was correct. It went to my look a like alum. side curtains moss sold to a guy in Hawaii
that I bought on e-bay minus the hardware several years ago that I am restoring.It was the hardware pack.
|> Cecilia is one of those rare business owners who tries |
> to help you NOT buy parts from her.
In my case, she's succeeded brilliantly at this.
|I would say that Del had had a bad experience with SF. He has not elaborated on what that might be, but he gives a hint that he had to return some things. I have had positive experiences with just about everyone selling parts, Moss, SF, Victoria, NTG, etc. For one thing, they pretty much sell the same stuff from the same supplier. I have had to return things also, but usually it is because of problem with the part number or human error either on their part or mine. It happens, but it always gets resolved.|
My 2 cents.
|Actually, I have posted my experience here in detail before, but didn't feel like repeating it all. If you are really interested, it is in the archives somewhere. Basically, I was sent a decidedly inferior quality part, and SF could not or would not send a better quality unit, and flatly refused to refund my money so I could buy a correct part elsewhere. Thus ending about 20 years worth of selling MGA parts to the Rawlins family. Between my father and I, we had done many thousands of dollars worth of business with them over the years. And they threw it away over a $45 part.|
|I'm afraid I'm with Del on this one. I don't mention this very often, and I will keep it short. During restoration of my car in late 1986 I bought some parts for an engine rebuild from SF, and some other smaller orders. It should have been the budding start of a nice long term relationship. A while later when I placed another order, they sent some expensive parts I hadn't ordered, and charged it on my credit card, quadrupling the charge amount on that order. When I wanted to return the stray parts they immediately claimed that I had ordered the parts, and it wasn't their problem. After a while they offered store credit for returning the parts, but I had no idea when I might ever order that much from them again, just wanted my money back. To get a cash refund they wanted to charge a "restocking fee" of 20 or 25%, which only means they want their profit whether the customer is satisfied or not (even on unordered parts). When I didn't want to pay the extortion fee they then refused to take the parts back under any circumstances, and no credit of any sort. The solution ultimately came by cooperation of the bank processing the credit account, but it took many months to "force the resolution". I don't have time in my life to do business that way, so I tore up their catalog. I have since spent many thousands of dollars with other parts suppliers. Like Del's first comment, here's hoping you don't have to return anything.|
|I have to chime in here, and strongly disagree with Del and Barney. I'm currently restoring a 60 MGA Coupe and have been dealing with Cecilia and SF for the last 12 months. I have received the best advice and help from Cecilia. She is a wealth of information and never too busy to help you. I have returned parts where I have ordered the wrong part or that have not been required or good quality and always received the best service. In my opinion this is the ONLY place to order "A" parts. I think that anyone who has not done business recently with C should try again. I have only the highest praise for Cecilia and Terresa. I only wish they sold "B" parts. I'm tired of returning parts to Moss and given up with VB.|
67 B Roadster
74 B GT
60 A Coupe
|As I have posted before, all SF has to do to earn my business back is A) apologize for the way we were treated, B) either send me a decent part or my money back, and C) change their return policy so that if the parts sent are not acceptable for whatever reason, they can be returned for a refund. This is how reputable businesses in the rest of the western world operate. Because they are not likely to do any of those things, I will continue to warn others of the potential pitfalls of dealing with them. If you don't like that, you don't have to listen.|
And to clarify, this was not a case of the wrong part being ordered, or any other error of mine. I ordered two parts, a right and a left. One was a good quality unit in every respect, and the other was total crap. They simply refused to make it right.
|I simply refuse to do any further buisness with SF. I had similar experiences as Del and Barney, in fact I |
still have $160 in store credit, anyone interested? She may have knowledge and advice, but nothing I can't get off this site and with much less frustration.
|I am very confused how people could be getting the wrong parts. |
I have always faxed the order in. The part numbers are there in black and white.
When I get the order, I always check through the order. Never had a problem with SF.
Their prices are great, too! That has to be worth something in this whole situation.
|Hey Ken, you can send me the store credit. I still have to get some parts and at least if I don't get the right ones. I will not be out any money|
|A question on relative times. From a superficial reading of these posts it appears that possibly the bad experiences were some time back and there might have been a change in attitude/policy?|
|It's still run by the same person, and last time we had this discussion, other group members indicated that their return policy has not changed. Like Ken, I probably still have some store credit that I will never use. But it's been a few years (mid 90s) so I am sure they have written it off.|
|I've done business with S/F for over fifteen years and have never had a problem with product or service. Will continue in the future. Marvin|
|I too have done business with S/F for many years, for the most part their quality and service are very good. I recently ordered front wheel oil seals, from S/F, they were 5mm too large, I called Cecilia; she said, "Sand them down." I then ordered them from Moss--they were the same wrong size seals! Cecilia at least|
told me how to make them usable.
|Sorry, if a supplier told me to sand a seal down, I'd tell them where to shove their seals. I had a similar experience last year with another stateside supplier, and it seems that what I perceived as very substandard service is just about the norm in the US.|
It seems that US consumer protection is still way behind what we have in Europe. If a part is not right (substandard, not as ordered (in any way)) the supplier must take it back and give a full refund. In certain countries they MUST also pay the return shipping.
I know that the suppliers I deal with would NEVER argue about a substandard part, and many of them will say "there is this option, but it's really not up to the required standard, or there's option B, C, D etc." and the parts are not really any more expensive than what you guys in the USA pay.
So hats off to Bob West, Fritz Koller, Ludwig Lawrenz, Motobuild, Brown and Gammons, Oselli, and (some of) the Moss guys (not realy the same since Darlington closed).
|Dominic, the best way to deal with poor suppliers on this side of the pond is to charge your purchase using a credit card. If you run into a wall with a vendor call the credit card company and ask them not to pay the charge. Given that you have a reasonable complaint they will go to bat on your behalf.|
|Well, it seems some folks have had some REALLY bad experiences with SF. It seems that Barney and I were restoring out A's at about the same time. I started mine in December of 86. I will say that I am surprised that the Moss horror stories have not surfaced here. I think I have read WAY more bad experiences with Moss on this BB than appear in this thread. I confess that I have not had the problems listed above, but I do occasionally get the wrong parts and it is usually a hassle getting them returned and/or getting the correct part. As far as getting a quality part, like I said, and I think as David found out, it is the same stuff for the most part being sold by everyone. If you want quality, you have to buy NOS, and those are getting hard to find. I agree that there should be a return policy that is fair and consistent across all vendors. It should be stated up front. As far as I am concerned, taking your money and then not returning it, as happened to Barney and Ken, is theft. You were charged without your permission and got nothing in return. You might as well have had your cc number stolen. |
I think I am up to 4 cents now.
|I did post a gripe about Moss' shipping policy a while back, but haven't had any complaints as to the quality of their parts (yet). From what I have read here and elsewhere, they are at least willing to work to improve their parts if they are made aware of a problem, and have a reasonable return policy. |
The shipping thing is still annoying to me, and I will no longer order directly from them because of it, except for once to redeem a gift certificate I was given. They charged me their full UPS air rate for shipping my order to Alaska, even though they shipped it USPS as I requested, at less than half the cost. My intention had been to save money since I didn't need the parts right away, but they pocketed the difference themselves. Turns out that was perfectly within their posted terms and conditions, but I think it was more than a little unethical. I also should have phoned my order in and asked for a shipping quote, rather than ordering online and just requesting priority mail shipping through the website. UPS also offers ground service to Alaska these days, but Moss refused to ship any other method but UPS Air (or USPS mail at the UPS air rate...) when I requested it.
One of the members of the local British car club is a Moss distributor and he gets a better deal on shipping, and passes along the savings to his local customers. I'm not thrilled that most of the money is ultimately going to Moss, but at least if I have a problem with a part I can return it, and some of my money goes to a local enthusiast. VB has the same stupid shipping policy as Moss, so there isn't much to gain by ordering from them.
But SF's return policy and attitude are simply unacceptable to me. If I am ordering hundreds or even thousands of dollars of parts, I need to know that I can return any that do not meet my standards for quality, and get my money back. I'm really not so much upset about the bad part. That happens and it is the reality we have to deal with today. As somebody else mentioned, the NOS parts are mainly a thing of the past. On the one hand, the availability of reproduction parts is probably better today than it ever has been. That's critically important in the absence of original replacement parts. But the downside just sucks; so much of our manufacturing capability has been lost to overseas, and so many of the parts that we have available now are of noticeably inferior quality when compared to the originals.
It's a sad fact that cheaply made goods will usually drive quality goods from the market, but it is happening because we in the west are addicted to paying the lowest possible price for everything. Shopping on price can be a good thing, but the extent to which we have been sacrificing all else to that end is going to eventually turn around and bite us in the ass.
The only partial solution to this that I can see, is the cottage industry of parts by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. A good example of this is Serge's data plates. Nobody really liked the plates that are available from the usual sources, but had been willing to tolerate them because nothing else was available. Well, along comes Serge, who wanted a more original appearing plate, and decided to do something about it. Now, getting one plate made would have been cost prohibitive, but a small run allowed him to realize enough economy of scale to make it worthwhile, and those of us lucky enough to be in the right place, at the right time (this forum), got to benefit from his legwork and willingness to risk some capital. Lo and behold, his run sold out in a matter of days, and he is in the process of organizing another.
That can work for other parts too. A man of average means like most of us, even if he is willing to pay extra for quality, can not often justify the expense of having a one-off part made to order. But get enough like-minded enthusiasts together and it becomes more reasonable. You'll never be able to touch the mass produced parts on a price basis, but you might be able to get the part you want, the way you want it, at a price you can squeeze into the budget. The proof is that a bunch of us just paid about $30 for a little piece of aluminum with some printing on it, when a nearly identical and equally functional item normally sells for around $10.00 or less.
|I like the idea of the cottage industry. There is a guy here in AZ who was making a limited run of steering wheel centers for Magnettes because none were available. The problem with the cottage industry is that the guys who have the skills to do it are getting fewer and fewer. Here, most people go to college (2 or 4 year) and become professionals of some kind. The numbers of people becoming metal workers and other skilled craftsman is in serious decline. This is partially due to the jobs being lost overseas as you mentioned. For example, if I want a brick layer around here, I can almost guarantee that he/she will be from south of the boarder. I guess my point is that we are kind of screwed here. We want to keep our cars up and in good condition. We want quality parts, but they are becoming scarce. Looking at the trends in the collector car field, it predicts that in 20 years, there will be a serious decline in the numbers of people interested in our babies. I personally think that since after the 1970's, the cars were crap for the most part and will never be collectible, so there is hope that the enthusiasm for our cars will continue. |
|This is going off topic, but it's interesting that Dennis says he doesn't consider cars beyond the 70's as being collectable. Previous generations viewed our beloved LBCs just as old cars that were not collectable. That's why so many were simply put out to pasture to 'rust in pieces'. As future generations age, they'll probably fall in love with the cars they remember from their youth. Those that we never really considered collectable.|
|I just received my first order from Scarborough Faire, and I must say I am quite pleased. The service accuracy and promptness of shipment was as good as the best I have experienced from any supplier. I will be placing more orders with them.|
|When I found SF it was like a gift from heaven. I've been buying form Moss and VB for over 6 years for my mgb restorations and have to say that I've sent as many parts back than kept. I started my 60 Coupe restoration (body off and every nut and bolt) over a year ago and have bought many shipments from SF. Most time reaching the trade cost level. I've always received the best service and assistance from Cecelia and Teressa at all times. Cecelia is a wealth of information and will help anyone with anything. How anyone can criticize their customer serviceis beyond me. I'd just say buy from Moss or VB and get inferior and more expensive parts. I just bought a complete front bumper and rear bumper for my A and you can't beat the value for money. The rear bumper is almost perfect in every detail. The correct thickness steel and correct cross-secton. Cost less than $100. The cost to have my original straightened and rechromed was over $300, and probably wouldn't looked any better. In my opinion SF are the best place to get A parts.|
|Don't get me wrong, SF was great to deal with when everything was going okay. But forget about getting them to admit to a mistake, or that there might be something wrong with one of their parts. Mistakes, or the occasional faulty part are inevitable. It is refusal to admit it and make things right that I have a problem with.|
|I think its time to BASH Moss and leave SF alone...|
|I have known Cecelia Bruce probably longer than anyone on this list. Back then (1971), she and her husband Ken were operating out of an old chicken coop and got into the MGA business when they decided to part out their Coupe to pay for college expenses.|
In any case, you will not find another individual more enthusiastic,dedicated or knowledegeable about British cars than Cecelia. She cares about our cars with a passion that you will not find in any other vendor.
Like all of us, we have our own quirks. We live with them and without her help, many MGA's would not be on the road today. So live with her (It is not actually her)method of doing business and quit complaining.
|Well, I suppose that since it turns out she is God's gift to the MGA world, I should just drop it. Sorry to have been such a bother. Next time I will just take whatever SF sends me, and be happy to be getting it. Right.|
|Don't take it so personally Del. You've already voiced your opinion seven times on this thread alone. We get it, you had a bad experience and so did some other people. Thank you for sharing and let's move on.|
|Del, Send me your credit slip so I can buy some free parts. Thanks|
|I don't recall them having sent me a credit slip after I sent them back their POS battery rack, but if I have one, it is wherever I put all of the old receipts and packing slips including my dad's paperwork dating back to the late 70s. Been a while since I've seen any of that stuff. It's entirely possible that I would have thrown it in the trash.|
As for taking it personally, it ceased to be about that a while ago. I could just let it go, and not post another word about them, but when (not if) they do the same thing to another forum member, I would be complicit through my silence. If you think that I am being unreasonable in continuing to respond to criticism of what I have written, or providing an alternate view of a supplier that seems to be mostly well liked here, you are certainly entitled to that opinion.
I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again. The dollar amount involved was insignificant. I probably would have let it go at the time it happened, had their attitude over the phone not been so obnoxious. We'd built up the same sort of trust with SF that many of you have posted about, and they threw it away and stomped all over it. Had they just admitted to the possibility that their part might not be correctly made, and offered an exchange or refund, I would probably today be one of their strongest supporters. And they would have made the cost of that part back many times over.
And as I have posted before, I would be willing to become their customer again, if they would be willing to try earning that trust back. Some of you have known the owner for many years. If you are so inclined, ask her drop me an email and we can discuss our differences privately (I promise to be polite and reasonable). Or don't. It matters little to me.
|Andy, you are quite correct. The trend in collecting is that people want the cars from their youth. Right now, muscle cars are IT. If you doubt me, just watch Barrett-Jackson. The reason that I believe cars from the 80's on will never make that cut is because: 1. they had no style. When the Mustang was introduced in 1964, people KNEW it would be a classic, even then! 2. The cars are not made with any quality. You never heard about an entire run of brand new cars from the 60's that had to be destroyed because they started rusting while awaiting shipping from the factory. Planned obsolesnce came to perfection in the 80's 3. the materials that the cars are made up are flimsy. no additional comment needed here. 4. They are too technology dependant. Unless someone starts making control modules and computers for obsolete cars, no one will be able to drive them anyway. 5. Aside from Corvette, Camero, or other "performace" cars that are aways collectable, most of the econ-box, style-less cars from the 80's are currently rotting in junk yards. If you grew up in the 80's and wanted to collect the family station wagon, there won't be any to be had because none survived. you compare this to an MGA which was made ENTIRELY out of metal (enough in 1 to make a fleet of chevettes), which graceful styling, and quality construction, it is easy to see that until the next generation of transportation comes along, the A's will have it. |
I am inclined to agree with you. But I've always questioned the idea of collecting only cars from one's youth. One thing that bugs me about most contemporary "antique car shows" is that the cars are not what I call antiques. I was born in 1939, but when I go to an antique car show, I want to see cars from BEFORE I was born. Model A and Model T Fords, for one thing, and any Plymouth up to WW II. And what MGs do most of us really covet these days? They're the triple M cars from before many of us were born. While driving from MG2007 to G32, we saw perhaps six or eight Model As driving from CA to WA for a major meet. Outside of MGs, I can't think of anything much more exciting than driving one of these cars on a long trip. Even in the rain, these guys were obviously having a blast. And these cars were already old when I was born.
What do I see at "antique" car shows? Muscle cars and '60s era cars - most of them built during my 20s, and they don't do a thing for me. I still have a hard time regarding them as either collectible or antique. The cars of the '30s, all built before I was born, fascinate me. They are real antiques and seeing a 70+ year-old car still running perfectly makes my heart go pitter-pat.
Getting back to the thread, I've dealt with Cecelia many many times. I particularly like her NOS Locaters for sourcing either originals or high-quality reproductions. I've never had any problems returning/replacing anything with Cecelia and I wonder if (1) there might be an occasional "cultural" issue in interpreting Cecelia's northeastern directness, and/or (2) she might be a different person from the Cecelia I know if put on the defensive. I don't know the answer to that, but how somebody else's experience can be so different from mine rather escapes me.
Speaking as a midwesterner via a 30-year detour through the south, years ago I was a bit taken aback by Joe Curto. The problem is that I didn't know enough New Yorkers. Now that I've corrected that cultural deficiency, I recognize that he's one of the greatest guys in (or out) of the business! I see Cecelia the same way.
As an aside, I would venture to say that Cecelia knows more part numbers than any other combination of MG people I've ever met.
I really like your cottage industry idea, and I've said so on these threads. Here I am, 67 years old, retired, mechanically inclined, and ready to train for a second career building MG parts. For sometime, I've been thinking about building some parts. The point is that, as an enthusiast, I can potentially afford to build parts for a profit margin of practically nil - far below any commercial contracter - even in the third world. Somebody give me an idea. I'd love the opportunity. There have got to be others out there like me. We don't need big profits (even very small ones would be nice), it's enough just to serve the hobby. Let's build a consortium.
|Off the top of my head, I think it would be great to have a good reproduction of the original metal filler cap for the master cylinder. But it would be tough to achieve since it is made up of 2 different sheet metal pressings.|
Another idea I had was a service converting original timing covers to use a modern rubber lip type oil seal. Yeah, you can use a later cover, but this way your original timing marks would still work.
It would probably require foundry work unless you wanted to machine from a huge chunk of aluminum, but a different style of aluminum rocker cover would be neat. I've posted pictures here in the past of the cover I have, which my dad installed on my car back in the 60s. It is a cast, finned aluminum valve cover but it is totally unlike the ones available today.
A skilled welder could also probably make up a different style cover out of aluminum plate, but it wouldn't be like any period style cover.
This thread was discussed between 27/07/2007 and 20/08/2007
MG MGA index
This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGA BBS is active now.