There are many and various reasons why your car may not be quite what you believe it to be. The consequence of such an error is the real possibility that we will supply you with the wrong part, despite our best efforts. We urge you to give us the most detailed information you can manage, especially when ordering for older cars and for parts of the car which over the years most commonly change from the original fittings.
Here are common reasons why a simple description of a car such as a Triumph Spitfire may not be enough...
It is essential to describe the exact manufacturere model in full. The Triumph Spitfire for example was built in several variations. It was available as a hardtop as well as open-top, may have had a 1275cc or 1500cc and could be left-hand or right-hand drive, automatic or manual with or without overdrive. Many variations were found on the interior and exterior trim throughout the production life, which went from Mk I to Mk IV and finally the 1500 range.
and customer options
Essentially the same car may have been offered with quite a range of different engines, with consequent changes to many other parts such as braking, suspension, steering, gearbox, drive ratios, engine mountings, wheels and fuel supply. Many of the possible variations mentioned above were also customer option choices, and we (and often the latest owner) have no way of knowing which is currently fitted without detailed inspection of the vehicle.
and model improvements
Fashion changes (facelifts) might have altered very little mechanically, but may have been substantially different in panelwork, brightwork, trim and body fittings. In the light of engineering improvements, much might have changed during a production run, particularly in terms of suspension, gearbox, and fuel system. In many cases, we can tell what should have changed in a particular car by reference to the VIN number, or the chassis number.
A car manufactured for export to say the Middle East will have had a completely different emission control system to one made for the UK, with differences to the compression ratio, fuel system, exhaust system, and body mounting points. The same applies to safety requirements of different markets, affecting bodywork, bumpers, braking and interior safety items such as seat belts and air-bags. Be aware that a car currently in country C may have arrived there via import from country B, yet was originally built for country A, with consequent confusion. The VIN number can tell us the original build standard, but it may possibly have been modified for use in another climate.
Your car may be quite different to it's original equipment condition due to both deliberate and non-deliberate alterations (i.e. accidents!). Owner-improvements can cover almost anything, but uprating the engine, braking, suspension, steering, gearbox, heating and electrics are all common. Accident damage can result in subtle panelwork changes such that when a replacement panel or door becomes necessary, it cannot be accurately mated with the rest of the body. This presupposes the bodywork is actually original - it is not unknown for example, to use a Mk II panel to repair a Mk I car !
Over very high mileages, you are going to see engine, gearbox and suspension wear, which can often require replacement of parts with a slightly larger size, good examples being piston rings, valves and guides. An expert mechanic will be perfectly aware of this, and we can supply as appropriate. We also draw your attention to the impossibility of matching the exact colour of internal trim, which may have substantially darkened over the years.