Q: Where does your love of English cars come from?
A: English cars, for the most part, were inexpensive. Also, my brother raced an English car and they were the first cars I learned to work on. MGs, Austin Healeys, Mini Coopers were all variants of the same technology so it became very easy, because if you worked on one you could work on another.
Q: You then moved on to more exotic marques?
A: Yes. I moved up the evolutionary chain from the Sprite. My next car was a Mini Cooper S then an MGB followed by an Austin Healey 3000 and finally a Jaguar XKE, which I still own along with a Aston Martin DB4. The Bugeye had a 58 cubic-inch engine, the Jaguar has a 4.2 litre engine in excess of 300 HP. I learned to live with these cars and drive them every day and, putting up with their shortcomings. I’ve restored many of these cars as well, I love English hot rods. I never got into American cars per say, though we do work on them in the shop. I never had a Corvette or any of the American hot rods—I always had English hot rods: Jaguars, Aston Martins, etc. These cars, in my youth, were plentiful and inexpensive to buy. When they broke down owners would jettison the car and you could pick them up for very little money. If you knew what you were doing you could have a great sports car without breaking the bank.
Q: How long has BCI been in business?
A: Briarcliff Classic was established in 1974 as a quality alternative to dealer servicing. We want o be a friendly, accessible place for the local community who need service for their cars. As time went by, we expanded our staff and the repertoire of cars we worked on to include current Asian and American classics. We have invested in a lot of equipment to stay current with the demands of newer cars. But still maintain our focus on vintage vehicles. As a result we have survived the effects of the pitfalls of the economy for 40 years.
Q: What type of cars does the shop work on in general?
A: It mostly depends on the time of year. Presently, with the coming of fall there are fewer classics and the shop tilts toward the service and preparation of modern cars for the winter. When we do get special projects during the winter, we focus on restoration and rebuilding of engines in addition to service. In the spring there is an influx of sports cars both modern and vintage, when people remove their cars from cold-weather storage. It’s not unusual to see Mercedes gull-wing or a Morgan alongside a recent Audi in our shop.