From Moss Motoring 1983
In 1948, Al Moss bought his first TC, having fallen in love with one he saw being driven around Hollywood, California. He soon made contact with other MG owners, and became involved in early club rallying and racing. He also found a lack of shops willing to work on these “funny little foreign cars”, so he opened up a service and repair facility on Venice Blvd. in Los Angeles.
By 1960, however, Al found he was deriving more pleasure (and fewer headaches) from the sale of spare parts. He realized, too, that supplies were drying up for the earlier cars, so he started having obsolete items manufactured especially for Moss Motors. Thus began a close relationship with the factory, whence he obtained many original drawings as their manufacture of the parts was discontinued.
In 1963, the business moved to Goleta (adjacent to Santa Barbara, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles), where only parts were sold and service work was discontinued. Al began regular trips around the country and overseas, seeking dealers’ obsolete stock, to fill the demand created by his rapidly expanding Catalog Mail Order business. A machine shop was added to enable closer control of the manufacturing of those parts which had become unavailable.
MG was still the prime market, with T-series the mainstay. Sales of MGA parts were beginning to grow, the MGA catalog having been published in 1962, and by the late sixties Moss Motors was selling to enthusiasts worldwide.
During the seventies, catalogs were printed for Triumph TR 2 thru TR 4A; Austin Healey 100-4,100-6 and 3000; Jaguar XK 120, 140 and 150, to provide the same services available to MG owners. In 1978, the business moved to its present location, larger premises being needed for the expanded range of products available to British sports car owners. 1980 saw the opening Moss’s own upholstery shop in Lompoc, CA, where exact reproductions of original interiors are manufactured in easy-to-install kit form, using top quality materials. The next year, a Restoration shop was added, to provide an in-house test-site for new products as well as turning out show-winning cars for customers.
In 1982, Moss began serious movement into the later car parts business by opening an official BL dealership, where new Jaguar cars are sold and serviced and a full line of BL parts is available. This gave access to late MGB and Triumph parts. Expansion into these markets was further hastened by the acquisition of “Start Your Engines”, a Beltsville, MD, parts supplier which specialized in these cars. New catalogs are being prepared to cover this new, wider range of parts carried by Moss.
One key element of the change of direction that began in the sixties has been most instrumental in Moss’s growth: the commitment to manufacturing items which have become obsolete. To date, a very substantial amount of money has been ploughed back into the business to tool up and make over 3,000 parts which would otherwise be “NLS”. Rather than just selling those parts which are easily available, Moss believes that investing money and energy into remanufacturing is vital steps in helping enthusiasts keep their cars on the road. With the continued support of our many customers, we plan to keep on doing this for many years to come.