"Less than Optimal" experience...
A lot of you know I'm in process of freshening up the engine in my 69 GTO, and stepping it up some as well. I'm going to share an experience I had with a vendor. My intentions are not to encourage or dissuade anyone from doing business with them as they generally have a very good reputation, so this may have been an isolated event. However, I'm very unlikely to ever attempt to do business with them myself. Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited by law, past performance is not a guarantee of future return, etc.
The company is Manton Pushrods, known for making really nice, really strong pushrods. Back before last October, I measured my heads and valve geometry to figure out what length I'd need, and ordered a set from Manton. Note that all the pushrods they sell are custom made-to-order and therefore once made, non-returnable and non-refundable. The package arrived late in October, but for a couple of reasons including the fact that I knew it was going to be a good long while before I'd be to the point of being ready to install them, I just left the package sitting on my workbench, unopened. Last night (3/29/2018) that point arrived and I opened the package - only to find that it contained a grand total of four (4) pushrods instead of the sixteen (16) that were ordered and paid for last October. There were no holes or other signs of the box being damaged that would account for them being lost in shipment. The box was intact and securely covered on all sides with clear packing tape. I contacted them and explained the situation. Initially they told me they'd send me the missing 12, but after getting off the phone with them I remembered that since October I'd also decided to replace all the valves in my heads with different ones from Ferrea that are slightly different lengths from the valves that were in them when the pushrod measurements were made, so I called them back and asked them to hold off until I'd been able to re-measure. Sure enough, since things have changed a different length is now needed so I called them back, expecting to be able to order a set of 16 at the correct length, but only pay for 4 - accounting for the 4 I'd already received but now couldn't use due to my changes. That initiated a series of phone calls and eventually an argument with some guy named "Al" at Manton who refused to do anything except to sell me a complete new set of 16 at full price, minus a small discount. We went back and forth for awhile about it. I finally told them to just send me the 12 that they owed me, just like the 4 that I did receive. He agreed, begrudgingly, to do that. However, owing to the contentious nature of the phone calls I don't trust that will happen, or even if it does that the parts will be 'full quality' and not just half-a**ed together since they're all custom made. Personally, I'm going to switch vendors, more than likely to Smith Brothers.
I guess I should have opened the package immediately. I didn't expect to have this sort of problem with a company of their reputation. I understand them being skeptical, but come on - what reason could I possibly have had to try to finagle them out of 12 very specific custom length pushrods? Pontiac never made a V6 on the same platform as the 326-455. Despite the fact that they doubt it, the only logical explanation considering the condition of the package is that someone at Manton made a mistake when packing my order. Even that wouldn't have bothered me much, heaven knows I make my share of mistakes, but the way the problem was handled (not handled) along with the attitude is what has soured me on Manton. I never asked them for any special deals, but I did expect to receive exactly what I paid for. I don't think that's unreasonable