Briarcliff Classic and Imported has been in business in the same location since 1974. Founder Bob Millstein has been a racing and classic auto enthusiast since his youth, and began Briarcliff Classic and Imported to share his expertise with others, and to provide a valuable service: quality auto repair and restoration for owners of classic and imported cars.
Briarcliff Classic and Imported has an extraordinary staff of experienced car repair experts, who always take the time to discuss service options with you. These men are your partners in the care of your automobile.
Bob Millstein, also known as the “Restoration Czar”, has owned and presided over BCI since he founded it in 1974. The lifelong car nut is extra passionate about English sports cars and knows more about collecting, repairing and racing them than just about any other human being. Most people watch TV or listen to music as they drift off to sleep. Bob prefers to gaze at his car collection and has a light switch linked to the garage in his bedroom. He has two Aston Martins, three vintage Jaguars (he races two of them) and a rare (only 160 were made) 1924 Gaff rigged Sloop sail boat passed down by his father.
His love of English sports cars can be traced back to his brother’s MG TC, which he raced. “I was always around British cars growing up thanks to my older brother. And in those days, the Brits had captured the bulk of European car sales in the U.S. Parts were cheap and plentiful as a result.”
As a kid, Bob idolized racers like Jackie Stewart, Phil Hill and Jimmy Clark more than the sports icons other kids day dreamed about. His father, a Russian immigrant who put himself through Yale medical school, used a Porsche 912 as the family truckster for much of Bob’s childhood. Bob was on his way to becoming a Doctor when his father passed away – he started working nights as a mechanic in his brother’s Queens garage to make extra money and never looked back.
“I like working with the customers”, says Bob. “Whether it’s a classic restoration or a late model maintenance job, their cars have great stories to tell and I have the privilege of breathing new life into them. I like to exceed their expectations and witness the excited expression on their face when they see their car for the first time all fixed up.”
Automobiles have always been a major fixture in my life and it seems that I try to encourage those around me to share the passion. When I took my wife of 38 years out on our second date, she learned to shift and clutch my Triumph TR3A. While our daughter and son were growing up our everyday cars were a TR4, MGB, Austin Mini, Austin America, as well as a few non-British sedans mixed in for good measure.
We currently enjoy two Studebakers; a ’47 pickup that I restored, and a ’55 Commander that had been my dad’s, as well as an early Mini Cooper and a ’56 Triumph TR2 that I’ve owned since high school. The TR2 has recently undergone extensive restoration and we’re having a great time with its second go round! We’ve been blessed with three grandchildren and the two old enough for the booster seat love riding in grandpa’s red TR2 and Mini Cooper, so it looks like we’ve got more British sports car enthusiasts in the making.
My educational background consists of three years of college, a short term draftee in the US Army, Toyota factory training, Master Technician certification with the original NIASE (now ASE), ASE master tech certification, founding member and past vice president of S.T.S.(Service Technicians Society-a division of SAE) now called T.S.T.(Technicians Service Training), and currently a TST member. TST and formerly STS provide monthly training sessions conducted by the nations top trainers with subject matter pertaining to current automotive technology, diagnostics and repair techniques. Our dedicated, enthusiastic group of independent technicians strive be at the top of our field thru continued education and networked sharing of ideas, fixes and troubleshooting.
Bob Millstein and I had been friends for several years, bonded by our interest in British sports cars when I joined him at BCI in 1978. We continue a good friendship and working relationship thru these many years. I became a member of the Vintage Sports Car Club of America because of his enthusiasm, also having maintained and rebuilt many cars for other members of the VSCCA. Over the years we have trained and encouraged many fellow mechanics on the finer aspects of our British cars, and continue to do so.