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Feb 072015

We keep reading how the classic and vintage car market is going up and up. Cars have proven to be better investments paintings or the stock market, which is true with certain caveats. My first rule of purchasing a classic car, is never to buy a car you don’t really want to own. Short term ownership may have unfortunate financial consequences – not everyone makes money on cars.

Cars unlike other collectibles ( such as stamps and coins) require proper storage. You need dry preferably heated space to store your purchase and your wife  may be reluctant to put her SUV out in the cold in favor of your 190SL. Cars need care and maintenance. Generally a classic car is used less frequently and the battery needs a maintenance charge.

People have an  affinity towards specific cars. That car might be something from their youth, a car they always dreamed about owning. A  car  that you envision yourself in, that gives you  personal joy.  Something that you appreciate for it’s shear beauty and style.These are all good reasons for ownership. Most of all classic cars are an investment you can drive,share and enjoy.

Feb 072015

1) Perform any maintenance that you have put off for one reason or another – Now is the time.

2) In addition if there is a want list or major project – now is the time – not when you wish to use the car.

3) Always change the oil before putting the car away; there are contaminants in the oil that should be removed or they will harm the bottom end of the engine. Always bring the engine up to operating temperature before changing oil.

4) Fuel – Now there’s a question. I recommend using a product like “Sta-Bil” added to the fuel. Some recommend keeping the tank 1/2 full and topping it off in the spring. I like to fill the tank up so there is less surface area exposed in the tank. Todays fuels that contain ethanol hold water in suspension in the fuel. Sitting in cold weather there is fuel separation which causes damage to the fuel system.

5) Over inflating the tires by 5psi to keep the tires from deflation and flat spots.

6) Polish the car and chrome to keep the cosmetics good order

7) When storing the car for the winter if it is a manual transmission, it is better to leave it in gear then to use the hand brake, as older cars  have a propensity to have their  hand brake seize from long periods of sitting.

8) Hook up a maintenance charger to the battery. You can leave it plugged in without worry and the battery will have a fresh charge in it when you are ready to roll out in the spring.

Sep 252014

As we are coming into fall and then winter and the  classics are put away for the season, remember  Briarcliff Classic  also works on your New and daily drivers. We are here for all your service needs  year round!

Aug 222013

SL Mercedes Sports cars. It is simply mind boggling to watch the meteoric rise in price of the Mercedes Benz 190SL and 280SL models. These classic Mercedes Benz sports cars seem to be following the lead of the increasing value of the Gullwing 300SL. The 190SL shares the classic Mercedes look of the Gullwing albeit with a four cylinder engine. The 190SL was followed by the 230SL and later the 280SL, both with six cylinder engines.

If you are considering purchasing any of these vehicles you should do so before they are totally off the charts. In addition, if these are already beyond your price threshold, you might consider a later 450SL or a 560SL, both equipped with eight cylinder engines.

By the way, in my youth, I purchased a 190SL with a factory hardtop for $700.

Aug 252012

It’s hard to believe that this year the MGB is celebrating it’s 50th birthday. Undoubtedly the most popular of all the series of MGs, with over a half million cars sold in all forms of the series.

Designer Syd Enever designed the car with a monocoque design doing away with separate body and chassis as previous MGs were built. The result was a lighter stronger car. It was powered by an 1800 cc 4 cylinder engine and was an attractive sports car.We at Briarcliff Classic and Imported Car Service have always catered to MG owners of all series. Although MG was sold in this country, the dealer network was wholly inadequate to service the cars sold. We continue to give knowledgeable, guaranteed   service for MG cars.

In addition we have  a stockpile of used and hard to find parts.

Aug 252012

Our very own Jaguar Special, built in 1953 by world famous Jaguar driver Walt Hansgen, will be competing in the Vintage car races at Lime Rock this Labor Day weekend. This Jaguar was restored by our shop and was a National Concours champion in the Jaguar Club of North America, as well as winning ” The best raced car” at an earlier Lime Rock Fall Festival.

If you’re coming up to see the cars please stop by and say hello!

Aug 252012

There are 500,000 SAABs in the United States and we at Briarcliff Classic and Imported Car Service, Inc. specialize in the repair and service of all SAAB models.

SAAB specialist Dan Thaler actually worked at a now defunct SAAB dealership. We can offer you knowledge  and guaranteed service for your SAAB and we know where to get the parts.

SAAB Automobile of Sweden was sold to a consortium of Chinese, Japanese  and Swedish investors. It is their intention to use Japanese technology in the production of an electric car. The good news is that the SAAB parts division, SAAB automobile parts,will be selling parts in our country. Although many dealerships have closed there doors, we at Briarcliff Classic and Imported will continue  to support the service of your SAAB with the latest scan technology.

Jun 162012

There was a recent article in the New York Times entitled “As Cars Are Kept Longer, 200,000 is New 100,000”. The average age of a car on the road today is eleven years, with an average usage of 15,000 miles a year. This is resultant from several factors. First is the economic incentive in a down economy. Owning a car over a long period of time is the cheapest way to possess a car, with the new reliability of cars.

When I was a kid my father purchased a car every couple of years. The odometer didn’t go up past 99,000 miles because cars weren’t supposed to last that long. Then along came the Japanese manufacturers who raised the bar on reliability and all the manufacturers had to follow suit. The material, machining and electronics are simply better than ever before.


Cars won’t last long without service. Cars with over 150,000 miles should have at least two check ups a year to comprehensively inspect all the things that can make the car unreliable or unsafe. In the same way, as human beings live longer it is in part due to the vigilance of the professionals who care for them.

All best,


 Posted by at 2:48 pm
Dec 052011

In a perfect universe, if it were possible, one should start and drive the car once a month. Starting the engine and running it for five minutes, just won’t do it and will probably do more harm then good. Keep a modern maintenance charger (capable of a floating charge) on the battery to keep it up to snuff. Remember, in cold environments, a battery that loses it’s charge is capable of freezing.

Inflate the tires with an extra ten pounds of air pressure or put the car up on jack stands ( if it is to remain in place for more then six months). This avoids “Flat Spotting” the tires.  Before the car is put to bed, we recommend changing the oil and filter. An engine is best stored without any moisture or corrosive elements in the oil.

As far as the body and bright-work are concerned, clean and polish before covering the car with a breathable cover (Technalon). Similarly  clean and feed the leather in the interior. The last topic I want to address is the most problematic – Fuel . It used to be thought by most to  fill up the tank to minimize condensation on the walls of the gas tank. However with new fuel standards, Ethanol has been added to gasoline.  Ethanol absorbs moisture from the atmosphere . The amount of water in the fuel will increase with each month of storage. Ultimately this can lead to phase separation . In addition Ethanol can dislodge dirt and sludge within the tank and dissolve gaskets and other components  within the fuel system. In my opinion it is best not to fill the tank up with fuel. I would however put a minimal amount of gas (with the highest octane available) into the tank with anticipation of filling the tank in the spring with fresh gas. I would also add some fuel stabilizer additive to the tank.

Lastly look under the cover periodically to make sure that rodents aren’t making a meal out of your interior.