29 Dec

Shut Up and Take My Money! (https://grassrootsmotorsports.com)

[We have all had discussions about sourcing this and that on our Morgans from time to time.  Sources and prices of needed bits are a common topic when we get together.  And I get it.  It’s simply human nature to look for a good deal or the best price.  And, considering the UK exchange rates adds another dimension to our searches.  

However, as is so aptly highlighted in the article below, price is not the only factor we must consider.   

Finding parts for Morgans is not always an easy thing.  That being said, those businesses that do cater to our obscure cars are businesses we need to continue to support with our check books and credit cards.   Those businesses that support MOGSouth should be the first place we go when we have needs.   Certainly we want to recognize their loyalty to MOGSouth but more so, we want them to remain in business, supporting MOGSouth and the Morgan marque for a very long time.    Mark]

By David S. Wallens, Dec 29, 2017 (A reprint of an earlier GRM Article)

There’s been a lot of talk in our world lately about the death of the speed shop. Even Leno has discussed it. The speed shops of yore, places where you could pick up a good ¾ race cam, a Sun tach and some of those yellow Lakewood traction bars, have more or less disappeared from the American landscape.

I actually spent two years working in such a place, Automod Atlanta. I’ll let you guess where it was located. (Hint: Atlanta.) I got the job by placing an ad in our regional SCCA newsletter: “I’m about to graduate from college and am seeking a job in the automotive world.”

Brian Hernan, the owner of the shop, saw the ad, called me up, and invited me in for an interview. I started work the Monday after graduation–first in the warehouse, but eventually graduating to a desk on the sales floor.

This was pre-internet. Our retail beat centered on the local SCCA scene, but our wholesale accounts stretched far.

Here’s the really cool thing: We catered to the sports car world. If it improved an MGB, 240Z or VW Rabbit, then we sold it. And in many cases, we actually stocked the part right there in our warehouse-rows of pallet racks containing all of the day’s top performance brands, like Hella, Cibié, Weber, Momo, Nardi, Kamei, Zender, Koni, Ansa, Amco and K&N.

You wanted a roll bar for your MGB? We had one in stock.

Needed a front spoiler for your 240Z? Should I pull a urethane, fiberglass or ABS plastic one? Fiberglass hood for a 5.0 Mustang? We stocked ones made to our own design.

Weber tuning questions? Let me get Brian and he’ll help. We stocked jets, parts and pieces for both down-and side-draft models. Plus we had the Pat Braden and John Passini Weber tuning books right on the shelf.

I left there 22 years ago to join the GRM family. Automod never made the jump to the internet, and I’m pretty sure they’re gone now.

I want to slightly change gears, but don’t worry. This will all tie together shortly.

Whenever I’m on the road, I try to visit some local guitar shops. In reality, any piece of guitar hardware, either new or used, it just a few keystrokes away. But there’s something magical about hunting for it in person, and I have been lucky to visit killer guitar shops all across the country: Nashville to Austin, New York to St. Louis, and Las Vegas to San Jose.

During a recent trip to New York-my annual winter pilgrimage to see family and grab a nosh while taking advantage of the seasonally low hotel rates–I hopped a train to Brooklyn. My destination was a place called Main Drag Music. I found them on the Googles, and it was one of the half-dozen shops I visited during those few days in my urban paradise.

Going to these different places also forces me to see different parts of a city. You never know what you’ll come across, right? Anyway, while in Brooklyn I found a pretty big independent music store, especially by New York City standards.

The dude who worked there saw me eyeing a bass. “Try it,” he insisted. So I did.

No pressure. No hard sale.

Then he saw me looking at the effects pedals, those magical little stomp boxes that can make you sound like Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan–okay, not exactly, but you know what I mean.

“Looking for something in particular?” he asked.

“Sabbath.”

“Here, you want this one,” he replied without hesitation, handing me a silver metal box from a small Finnish company called Darkglass Electronics. “I have it on my pedal board.”

Then he ushered me to a soundproof practice room and brought me a ’78 Fender Precision Bass.

Half an hour later, I put down the guitar. Closing time was approaching, and I figured it was best to not get locked inside the store. While such a situation could lead to the ultimate jam session, as best I could tell the store did not contain a Chinese restaurant.

“How’d you like the pedal?” was all he asked.

The price was close to $250. I figured that I could probably find it online for less. In my book, that’s a lot of money for an effects pedal–like, a lot.

But, at least in my mind, I did the right thing: I handed him my credit card.

He gave me info, and the store invested in the inventory–never mind the rent and other brick-and-mortar expenses. He let me try it out to my heart’s content. He made the sale.

Fast-forward to today, and I’m still in love with that piece of equipment. It would have taken me several other purchases, I figure, to find this tone. In the end, his advice and knowledge saved me time and money.

We’re all looking to save a buck, and I fully realize that ordering things online is easier. You can summon nearly anything to your door in a day or so, from a new bicycle to a 48-roll pack of toilet paper, by barely moving a muscle.

But when someone makes an investment in our scene, I give them the nod. If we don’t return the favor, then I’m going to run out of places to stop while visiting Brooklyn.

 

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