by Robert Goldman
Moss Secrets… Revealed?
Ah yes, back in the day… Back in the day, we used to wait ten years after a car was out of production before creating a catalog. It wasn’t so much a written policy as a guideline. The feeling was that no one would care about said vehicles until they had aged past their “disposable lighter” phase (use ’em up and throw them away). Fortunately, by the time Mazda put their iconic Miata out into the market, we had outgrown that thinking.
It only took us five years to figure out Mazda had something there, and we should start paying attention. What seems like only yesterday, in fact, happened 25 years ago. 2019 represents the 30th Anniversary of the Miata, and our 25th selling parts for them. As with the evolution of our British catalogs, the passing of years means each new Miata catalog offers a greater selection of mechanical repair and restoration bits.
At the risk of giving away the magic beans of classic sports car parts selling strategy, if you can get in there early and get customers to remove all the original parts, to be replaced with accessories, then 20 years later you can sell them back all the original bits. Now I’ve gone and done it.
Speaking of giving away the farm, at the Motorfest Friday evening Pre-Party this June, we’re going to do something a little different. You are going to be there, of course. This year’s pre-party will be held at the nearby Pamplin Historical Park. For the evening’s program, among other things, we will host an open Q&A session with members of Moss Motors’ senior management.
As I write this, the first generation of classic British owners are passing out of the hobby. In recent years, within Moss, we have had several long-term staff retire as well. Several individuals, on whom we have all relied for their knowledge and enthusiasm, are no longer with us. Going forward, the connection between owners, clubs, and vendors needs to evolve. Sources of knowledge may be more diffuse in future, but we all benefit, so long as the knowledge is not plain lost.
Last year we celebrated with Michael Grant as he transitioned to retirement. Michael headed the Technical Department and was with Moss for a total of 31 years!
Along with his creativity and humor, Michael’s expertise and enthusiasm are sorely missed.
In my own limited contact with the market, little snippets of information, or the right question asked at the right moment, can have a profound effect. Two years ago, I was asked if Moss would ever get serious about Jaguar. I couldn’t tell the questioner at the time, but his question helped affirm in my own mind we were doing the right thing in negotiating to buy XKs Unlimited.
More recently, at the JCNA International Jaguar Festival held in Santa Barbara, a Jaguar representative was asked about making higher level, more expensive “concours quality” parts. The question ended up with me. I had about one minute to answer, but was complimented by a couple folks afterward for my forthright answer. With Motorfest, I hope, we have a chance to strip away a little of the mystery of what we do and why.
Making obsolete parts for obsolete cars is a unique challenge. Here is your chance to work with us in mapping out our future together. Will we answer any and all questions, regardless of subject? As Captain Kirk once said: “You can ask.” And even if we can’t prove humans really did land on the moon, stick around until Saturday. There’s gonna be one heck of a good car show on Saturday. That part I can guarantee.