Imperial Home Page -> Parts -> Vendors -> Reviews -> SMS Auto Restorations
Below are a few reviews of SMS Auto Fabrics. If you would like to include a review of this vendor, please fill out our form and we will add your comments as soon as possible. Make sure to include your email address because we will not include your review without a verifiable address. After you write your review, you will receive an automated response from us which will confirm your email address and shortly after, your comments will be added to this page. Thank you so much for your participation! We appreciate your comments!!
Michael H. wrote:
I have just returned from a quick trip to SMS Upholstery here in Oregon. Here is what I learned: Very nice people there, they took the time to answer ALL my questions. They had 6 people (that I could see) on the phones, and the phones never stopped ringing the whole time I was there. I talked to the owner and he took the time to look up the orders from Philippe's friend M. Mendez (France) and Elisabeth (Sweden).
Regarding M. Mendez' order, He told me that their mill supplier (in New Jersey) had sent some vinyl back to Portland, but the "Pewter" color did not match, so they had to re-order the vinyl to match the original samples from M. Mendez (which I saw). They also had a problem with the embossing of one of the vinyls. They are very meticulious and will only send the order out if it is perfect and correct.
Regarding Elisabeth's order, he showed me the order and said there were 6 different cars that she was buying material for. He said that some of the fabrics had to be specially made at the mill in New Jersey and might take 2 weeks, 2 months, or 6 months.
One thing he kept saying was that people don't realize that some of these orders may take 6 months or longer, he said the best thing to do is to plan ahead and allow at least 6 months for any fabrics, or panels, or vinyl, that might have to be dyed, or embossed, or made from scratch.
He was very concerned about his customers, his office was well organized and it only took him seconds to find M. Mendez' order and also Elisabeth's order. This was significant as they are also in the middle of a major move, moving the whole business from Portland to Canby (a small suburb of Portland) and into a larger warehouse.
I have no involvement with this company, I went there in person to help the people on the IML list, and to see what they have available for my Imperials.
I have bought a few items from SMS here in Portland, Oregon. Being local, I've been able to go directly into their store/warehouse, which is a treat to any car oriented person. They have rolls and rolls and rolls of OEM auto fabric. They even had some of the ivy gold cloth for my '72 Newport.
I redid the headliner in a '63 NY Salon I had years ago, they provided the material. The material turned out to be stained. They made good on it, but it was important to speak with the more helpful people in their office, I recall one individual that wasn't very helpful. Again this was years ago.
My most recent trip there was this spring. A very knowledgeable employee found my material for my '72 and even made quite a deal as some of it was remnant pieces. I don't have experience w/thier carpet sets, but they are likely capable of doing a correct job.
It took over a year to get seat and headliner material which was understandable. I ordered a pre-sewn headliner which was another mistake. The seams did not line up with the hoops by about 3 inches and we had a terrible time to get the thing to fit. Thank goodness my upholstery guy was extremely patient. The seat material is very nice and pretty much looks like the original stuff.
In future I would not order a pre-cut carpet or headliner. Get your upholstery person to do it up after they receive the material.
David M. wrote:
I have to say that I ordered and got the headliner for my '66 Crown Coupe very fast. I found that SMS supplied me with the correct stuff and made it up perfectly and not expensive either. I recently ordered material for seats and headliner again made up for my '55 Imperial and once again, excellent service was provided.
I live in England and service like this is much appreciated, whilst I don't doubt people can have long waits for stuff I can only speak as I find and SMS has been A1 all the way for me.
In case anyone is curious, I have dealt with SMS fabrics. I got my headliner and three hides of black leather for my interior. The leather was a near perfect match to the original which had very little grain. It was twice as much as the next expensive place I researched, but ultimately worth it. It should be noted that my interior guy at Henkel's in Pasadena, CA, (great work) said the leather had a lot of imperfections in it, making his job a little harder. He had to find the cleanest parts to put in the most noticeable places. In the end, my seats look great! but I did pay a lot for it.
As for the headliner, the material was a perfect match; the color, the hole pattern, they even stitched it correctly. All I had to do was pull down my old one and install the ribs in the new headliner and install; a lot harder that it sounds believe me. The only problem I had with them was that they sent me an extra piece of fabric for the rear window and two side pieces (where the reading lamps are) that was way too small. It was enough for the side pieces but not even close for the rear window. I explained to them my problem, and they said they'd be glad to send me another piece large enough. But I had to pay for it! What could I do? They had me by the jewels, I acquiesced. They sent me the piece, about two months later.
End of story: SMS has the right stuff, they are friendly, but they do take their time (a good thing, I guess). I just wish their customer service was of a slightly higher caliber. If I paid you for a complete headliner, I expect a complete headliner, should I have to pay for your miscalculations? Oh well, it's all history. My interior looks great and more importantly, feels luxuriuos.
(13 Sep 2004) Eric K. wrote:
PERFECT MATCH FOR MY INTERIOR OF MY 66 PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE 2.I HAD BEEN TRYING TO GET HIS MATERIAL FROM OTHER SOURCES FOR ALMOST 19 YEARS AND THEY HAD IT READY TO SHIP.GREAT PEOPLE
(15 Jul 2007) Mark Reynolds wrote:
Ordered fabric + vinyl for my 58 Imperial from SMS vs. Original Auto based on SMS claim they had the original trim books. Not true (they admitted it later), since they sent two completely wrong vinyls. Finally after twice loosing my samples sent a marginally acceptable vinyl. I am not happy, try the supplier in St. Lair Mi first.
(8 August 2007) Mike wrote:
charged my card over 1200 and never received Items, no one will speak to me from SMS Do not deal with sms.
(26 Aug 2008) Gary Leonard wrote:
I ordered cloth insert fabric blue / black hounds tooth for my 76 ford bronco it took about 4 months to get , they do take their sweet time, but it was nice stuff and looks great
(13 July 2009) Franke Priore wrote:
Wow a mixed bag of reviews for sure. I had a very good experience with SMS about 2 years ago. I ordered cloth and vinyl for my 73 Olds 88 Royale and they hit the mark. Cloth and vinyl matched my door panels and I reused the buttons on my seats with their original covering and had a very good match. The materiel is wearing well and I drive this car weekly or more. I just received samples for my 67 Plymouth Fury II two door sedan and they are correct and in stock. I wish I hadn't read some of these negative reviews and I'm sorry some of you had trouble.I guess I'll have to hope I have the same results as my first order and try them again. Good luck with your restorations. Frank P. Indian Trail NC
(9 Nov 2009) Jon Limes wrote:
I just wanted to give a follow up to my experience with SMS. I am restoring 1970 Ramair 4 Trans am. SMS finished the order and all material is perfect. They worked with me and we resolved any issues I had, the material, comfortweave, is the perfect color and thickness as original. All the heat pressed pleats are as original, and so is the backing material. I am in the process of have the seat covers made, and the front seats are just about done, and you can not tell from original. Jon Limes
(14 Dec 2009) Bill Lile wrote:
i had sms do my door panels for my 64 ford galaxie 500xl.I was impressed by the way they turned out. no one else was able to reproduce them.it took awhile but they look better than orignal.
(12 Feb 2010) Mark Evans wrote:
I have been waiting for 1 year for my material that I was told would only take months, it wouldnt be so bad if I got a call ounce in a while to let me know what is happening to my order but I get nothing for my money that they quickly charged my credit card, I wonder if Doug at SMS will send me flowers for our anniversary.
(26 May 2010) Eddie wrote:
SMS is terrible. I have been waiting close to a year for my fabric for my '57 Imperial. I have called numerous times and have sent monthly emails as to where is my material. I get the same answer, it takes time, your order is being made up right now. My order was supposed to be finished in 3 months.
(17 Jun 2010) Larry Fournier wrote:
After reading the reviews about it taking a year maybe I am not the Lone Ranger. My credit card was charged in Jan 2010 and I am still waiting for the material six months later. They respond if I e-mail and ask. They keep saying it will take a little more time. They have not met the promises yet.
(30 Aug 2010) Dave Nicholas wrote:
Would not recommend. For the most part a scam. Do not give them a credit card. Only COD. They charge you account and any changes are your problem. It will take months to receive a refund. Buyer Beware! Cash only on delivery.
(17 Jan 2011) Julian Sinclair wrote:
Was looking for four yards of vinyl material. Have just been charged close to $1000 off my card, no one is talking to me now after very quick reply's from sms to set up the order. Thats $250 dollars a yard of vinyl, these guys are straight fraudsters how they are able to operate is beyond me. Stay the hell away from this company!!!
(27 Feb 2011) Gabriella Johnson wrote:
I am so pleased and absolutely thrilled with the craftsmanship of the door panels that were done by SMS for my '62 Imperial. Outstanding work. Well worth the wait.
(25 Sep 2011) Connie Collins wrote:
I have been in the auto upholstery business for 35 years and decided to quit working with SMS, It is too frustrating to deal with the excuses and misakes on every order. I have been trying to get an order corrected since may of 2010. No incentive to be effecient when you pay up front. Hope to find another company that can build the dyes we need.
(4 Nov 2011) Jim Free wrote:
I'm not one to bash a company, but people should know what to expect when dealing with SMS. I would avoid them by any means necessary if you can...and the top upholstery shop in my area would tell you the same...and almost everyone I've ever talked to at a car show that used this company has a similar "SMS story". It wasn't until I told them that that my credit card company was prepared to go after them for fraud and reinbursment, did they actually respond. It wasn't a threat...my credit card company couldn't believe the situation and really was prepared to take care of it. Long story short, it took 2 years to get my door panels...in which I was originally told 6 months. It was a lot of over-promising and under-delivery for the next 1.5years after. When I finally received the order, the one set was perfect...they really did do a great job. The other set was flawed in several ways and looked like a sloppy rush job (the layout was completely off from panel-to-panel). So , I sent them back. They had to completely redo the job, but the second time around, even though the layout was corrected, the foil stamp process was flawed...flaws that are very very visible and to this day bug me...but after two years and a lot of stress/energy/time I said the hell with it. SMS has the ability to be great company...they have or can source very rare fabric...they have the talent (although inconsistant), but what they truly lack is honesty and ANY understanding of customer service. Be prepared to feel like you are doing THEM a favor with your business and you can "take it or leave it." I'd leave it if you can.
(21 Dec 2011) Mats Bergstrom wrote:
I live in Sweden and need material for seats in my 1959 Mercury. I have tried several auto upholstery companies with no luck but they responded to my request in a few weeks with samples of the correct original material they had in stock. I placed my order and gave my credit card number and shortly after that they charged my card $1015. Thats three weeks ago now. I asked for a tracking number for the parcel a few days ago and they answered the next day saying that the vinyl and cloth was ready and they were matching the thread I had ordered for sewing the upholstery. So far I have no reason to doubt their services. My contact is a guy named Doug. Comments on this?
(17 Jan 2012) Mats Bergstrom wrote:
Now,heres an update to my business with SMS: One week ago the materials I ordered arrived to my door. All in perfect condition and exactly as the samples I received earlier. So from my sample request until I had the stuff at home less than two months and that includes overseas shipping! I have nothing but the best recommendations to give!
(18 Jun 2012) David Dewar wrote:
I ordered materials nearly 6 weeks ago and paid in full by credit card. Was told it would take no more than 21 days to ship. After 30 days I called and was told it would ship in two days. Never received it, nor the promised shipping notification. Called back over the course of the next two weeks and spoke with several different Customer Service Representatives who gave me different answers and basically said they had no idea about my order, couldn't find anyone to get me the answer and if I had a problem I should try to contact the owner. If you Google SMS, you see numerous complaints AND if you go to Better Business Bureau you will see that SMS Auto Fabric is NOT accredited and there are numerous complaints posted. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THESE JERKS!
(24 Jul 2012) Branden Rabe wrote:
I am a new employee here at sms, its a very busy and stressful job. But ultimately its a pleasure to be serving such a vast car community and enthusiast group :-) I have seen the complaints and wish every customer got great service, however it sometimes does take awhile to complete orders. I personally hope anyone who goes through the company that they have a great experiance.
(13 Sep 2012) H. M. Lucene wrote:
Wow is all I can say. Unfortunately these bad reviews above sound a bit more like my experience with SMS recently as well. Apparently courtesy or politeness is not of standard there. Quite a few complaints with the BBB I noticed too.
(16 Oct 2012) Rick King wrote:
After seeing the many varied comments posted here, since I was in need of vinyl, I decided to physically go to this business. Prior to going I had emailed several times and was conversing with Doug, the owner. He was very fast in replying to each email. He sent me a sample via USPS which was a perfect match. Upon arriving at the business I was treated very fairly. They had the material in stock and it matched perfectly. I can only speak for my experience, but unless I see a problem with the material, I can believe that I would not hesitate to do business with them whenever I need to match fabrics.
(28 Dec 2012) Brian J Brendza wrote:
Hi, I'm going to try and be as objective as possible with my review. I'd like to start by saying that there is a lot of emotion invested in a restoration, and this fact will often affect the various experiences encountered. Also, the rarity of the vehicle and material in question will definitely have an impact on how quickly your order will arrive. If you start off by accepting these concepts, you will find the whole process less stressful. There is also the old "more flies with honey" rule to consider - remember that the supplier is human, just like you, and a short temper will not translate to a quicker delivery time. My advice is to expect delays - also that, if the end result exceeds your expectations, it will be worth the wait. After all that, here's my review. I have dealt with SMS several times, only on material orders (my own trim shop did the actual fabrication.) Every time, the material was absolutely perfect and the lead times were reasonable. Even on my most obscure requirement (headliner material for a 1960 Edsel), which had to be custom manufactured, it only took a matter of several weeks and the material was spot-on. Again, the emotional investment in a restoration is often very high - I've found that things often take 2 to 3 times the amount of time that you initially expect. Developing a bit of patience and taking a longer view while keeping the eventual result in mind will usually make the final goal more satisfying. I can honestly say that SMS is a great supplier of obscure and unobtainable interior materials - I do recommend that you find a competent shop to do the actual work. In the Cleveland area I use Jim's Custom Trim in Berea, Ohio. Again, patience may be required, as it's a small shop and their reputation assures that they are always busy. In the end, however, the results will be worth it. Hope this helps - I've been an incurable car nut for 40+ years and share all your ups & downs. Keep the shiny side up & the dirty side down. Peace.
(28 May 2013) Mark Deagan wrote:
Hello, Just wanted to add to the SMS reveiws.I had a pair of door panels rebuilt there. It took them ten months. However, they are very nice and very accurate. I had no trouble dealing with them at all. You have to realize that they do all the other cars that you can't buy repops from China. The quality and the care they take packaging their products is awesome. You have to send the interior stuff and the chrome out first and be patient! In the end it's all good.
(2 Jul 2013) Ed Johnson wrote:
I ordered some seat material that was in stock "so they said". They charged my card that day and said I would have it within one week. It's been over two months and I still have no fabric. I leave messages since no one will answer the phone and never get calls returned. I wish I would have read the reviews prior to ordering from them. It would be different if they had said it may take six months but they said it was in stock. They are terrible business people running a shady business
(18 Sep 2013) Steve Minarik wrote:
I wish I read the last 6 or 8 reviews about this company (SMS)prior to my attempt to do business with them... I, Like Ed Johnson on the 2nd of July 2013, before me, purchased some interior material from them... My experience was almost identical to his... I was told, at time of purchase, they had plenty of my desired interior material - and my credit card was charged... After two weeks I called to see what the status of my order was, I was then told they did not have it - they were looking for it in one of their other warehouses... I asked, "How long will this take?" "We don't know." "Why did you not call me and tell me you actually did not have it?" "Because we don't call people and tell them that." "Let me talk to a supervisor." "There isn't one." "Cancel my order." "I am not allowed to do that" "Let me talk to someone who can." "I can not do that." "How long will it take to credit my charge card?" "Two Weeks." "I was told that my experience with them might no t be pleasant but this surprised me." I find it difficult to believe in the 21st century a company can not check their inventory for two weeks and determine if they have a product in inventory... The place is poorly run - most likely understaffed - and the employees are poorly trained... All of which sits at the feet of this guy Doug who is in over his head... They might sell lots of material but they won't for long as they are ripe for a competitor to eat their lunch...
(20 Sep 2013) Vincent Mardente wrote:
I ordered two different vinyls needed for my 71 Plymouth Duster bench seats. Both vinyls arrived quickly but a delay in the car's restoration meant that my upholsterer was not ready to work on the seats for two years after the materials arrived. When he examined the materials I purchased from SMS he informed me that although the vinyl was original old stock (much to my satisfaction), it was not wide enough. I contacted SMS immediately and explained that the materials were delivered two years prior. The folks at SMS responded positively to my inquiry and promised quick action. In less than one week they had shipped replacement vinyl to me, which was perfect in every respect. This is the only car restoration I have ever been involved with, but I would not hesitate to deal with SMS Auto Fabrics again.
(22 Nov 2013) Hector Sevilla wrote:
I heard from them in January 2011. I contacted them and they sent me fabric samples for my 1956 Imperial. For delay in my project I went to apply the fabric in March 2012 and they kept all the information. I placed the order and I received it perfectly. I live in Chihuahua, Chih. Mexico. Again I do business with them. Highly recommend them.
(22 Nov 2014) Daniel Jungkuntz wrote:
I read all the reviews on your site so I was skeptical about their service. I needed both pink and black material for a 1956. I also needed a presewn headliner. I told them I would pick the products up in person. I paid for the headliner in full in advance and a $200.00 deposit on the $1200 worth of seat material. Everything was ready in about a month. http://ju-online.com/?page_id=760 I'll update my review after I fit the headliner.
(19 Aug 2014) LF Palmer wrote:
I ordered complete set for my 32 DE SOTO, Carpet, seat fabric, headliner, windlace, etc. Took months no feedback, screwed up the carpet. not even close. tried to order carpet binding, they sent vinyl (1932?) then 3 months later sent me wrong color wind lace instead of binding- huh?They made or ordered the carpet and couldn't match the binding they used? seems like a mail order mill only worse.
The vendor review section of this website is provided as a means of keeping club members informed about practices and experiences concerning various providers of parts and services. This section contains unedited, unsolicited opinions expressed by members of an online car club. No attempt has been made to bias the opinions, or slant the number of viewpoints on one side or another. All opinions have been included, as supplied. If any vendors don't like the viewpoints expressed here, they are welcome to provide a rebuttal, which will be posted as well.
This page was last updated 25 October 2014. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club