In the world of motorsports, it is very easy to get caught up in different styles of racing. Whether that be NASCAR, Rallying or even the LeMans 24hr that happens every year. Out of all the different kinds of motorsports out there, one stands out above the rest and for very good reasons and that is vintage racing.
Not just are the cars fantastic and the racing even more intense due to having way more wheel-to-wheel action, the drivers are on a completely different level to others. There’s nothing like seeing a classic & expensive ’60s Aston Martin DB4 GT go toe-to-toe with a multi-million pound Ferrari 250 SWB or even a Jaguar E-Type Lightweight. Watch any footage from the Goodwood Revival over the years and you’ll see exactly what I’m on about.
One thing that isn’t really brought to attention in all of the racing & atmosphere is the crews behind the drivers & all the beautiful cars and this is where Michael’s Vintage Racing come into play. Ran by a father & son crew out in the New York region, Michael’s Vintage Racing is a race-shop that has been running for well over 20 years and there whole ethos is very simple. To keep vintage race cars out of barns and garages and to have them racing on the tracks where they ultimately belong.
Every car they go out and buy, they both celebrate & study the history of the vehicle as well as it’s prowess in the sport. Whether that be with their ’66 Lotus 41 Formula B or with their ’66 Lotus Cortina MK1, each car gets the same treatment when it comes to celebrating & studying the history & prowess of the disciplines these cars were in.
As already mentioned, Michael’s Vintage Racing is a Father & Son ran company, this is good for two reasons. First of all there’s more of a connection involved with customers being it’s a family ran business and secondly, Both father & son are very well schooled when it comes to Vintage Racing.
Mike Clifford Sr. has been involved with cars since he was a teenager and he draws on decades of experience with both road and race cars from all different motorsports disciplines, including working with the N.A.R.T.’s Luigi Chinetti way back in the early ’70s. By the ’90s, he took everything he knew and applied it into the vintage racing scene & has stayed there ever since, due to this, he has unparalleled knowledge & history of vintage race cars as well as a deep rooted appreciation for them as well.
Due to this love for the vintage racing scene, when Mike Clifford Jr. came along it was only right that he followed in his father’s footsteps and that he did. His first build was a Triumph Spitfire 1500 that he fixed up with help from his old man. When it comes to racing, Mike Jr. has achieved numerous wins in Lotus Cortina’s as well as having a proven track record in a Ginetta G4. On top of all of that, he has a lot of mechanical knowledge to keep all the cars race ready. With all of this, he is more than capable of taking the company into the modern era.
Mike Jr. has a lot on his plate when it comes to looking after the fleet of cars. Unlike most people who may have at most 5 cars to go through depending on space, Mike has 16 race cars to and what a list he has as well. From a 1956 Lotus 11 S1 to a a 1974 Datsun 240Z and everything in between, the garage is both amazing and eclectic to say the least. All of the cars race too and are always race-ready as well, they’re not used for showing off and I like that.
On top of the cars they own and the history both Mike Sr. & Mike Jr. have, they also provide services as well and these include: Vintage race car restorations on pretty much everything and everything, whether it be a saloon, coupé or a formula car they’ll restore it. They also race-prep cars as well and these include: all facets of the engine, brakes, suspension and drivetrain service and repairs, chassis inspections and repairs, suspension inspections, crack testing and repair work, shock and spring testing, alignment and suspension geometry to dial the car in for racing, fluid and filter changes, a brake system service and service as well as a complete tyre test.
They also deal in Transport and Trackside services so if you find yourself needing help with either getting to events or needing help getting the car setup, these guys are on hand to help you every step of the way over a full race weekend. They can either pick the car up or you can have it delivered to them; either way, it’ll reach the track safe & sound. If you go for their arrive-and-drive service, they’ll take care of everything to make sure that all you have to do is drive the car and have fun and at the end of the day, having fun is what it’s all about in vintage car racing.
Driver training is also a service they do as well so if you’ve never driven a vintage race car before or if you haven’t had a lot of seat time in a race car before, these guys are once again on hand to help you out. With every single classic race car feeling different, it can be very easy to be thrown by the way one car drives to another and with the driver training service being available, these guys make sure that they can get the most out of the drivers performance.
With history in motocross as well as over 20 years in vintage racing, Mike Sr. has achieved many race wins and track records in various types of cars. While Mike Jr. is still a student of racing, he also has a proven track record for driving fast in multiple kinds of classic race cars and currently holds a track record in a Ginetta G4. He has won many races and awards while being behind the wheel of a Lotus Cortina.
Like many others, I love watching classic cars go wheel-to-wheel racing regardless of value or history and while I respect people buying these cars as either an investment or to keep it around for people to see, It’s even better to see them where they belong – on the track and with Michael’s Vintage Racing and all the services they do, they are keeping the vintage racing scene alive and kicking and it is great to see. Go check them out and see for yourself how amazing they really are!
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson