Oxford in the Providence Journal

On February 20, 2016, Oxford was featured in the Providence Journal.  Providence Journal Staff Writer Peter C.T. Elsworth took a trip over to Oxford to see what all the hype was about.  He met with the whole team - Chris, Jeremy, Joe, Nate, Jim, and Sam.  We walked around the facility and told him stories of ourselves and almost every car in the building.  Needless to say, he was very impressed by the facility. 

The full text of the article reads as follows:

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Oxford Motorcars is, as the name implies, a car shop that services and stores classic cars. It also buys, restores and sells classics, with many shipped to England.

And then there are the cars in limbo. Overtly for sale, but often out and about with either Christopher Fragomeni or Jeremy Savage, co-founders and co-owners of the company, at the wheel. And they like to really drive them.

"Sometimes we bring them back limping," said Savage, as the shop's head technician, Joe Manzi, made a wry face. "But if you have it, you're going to drive it."

Indeed, the two partners spend four or five weekends a year racing MGAs at various tracks, including Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Connecticut; Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut; and Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.

"We have a lot of trailer queens," added Fragomeni, referring to cars in such good shape that they are often trailered to events rather than driven. "But we don't treat the cars as queens."

The partners established the company about five years ago in a 3,500-square-foot space in Pawtucket. Three years ago, they moved to their current 15,000-square-foot location on Waterman Avenue in East Providence.

"It started out as a hobby, a passion," said Savage.

"At Oxford Motorcars, we are enthusiasts — car-nuts, if you will — first," reads their website. "We cherish the feeling of getting lost in the pleasures of those well-tuned, performance cars that exude luxury and power simultaneously."

Savage said he got his start in British cars when he was 17 and bought a 1999 Jaguar XJ8.

"It was most impractical," he said. "But I fell in love with British cars."

There are some 60 cars crammed into the storage space — about 30 for sale, 20 in storage for clients and the rest belonging to Fragomeni, Savage or other members of the team. In addition to Manzi, the team includes technicians Joe Egan, 59 (he owns a 1972 Triumph GT6 that he bought in 1977), who joined 18 months ago from another classic car company, and Nate Almeida, 25, who came aboard nine months ago from the automotive program at New England Institute of Technology. Samantha Govey is the shop's service adviser.

Fragomeni and Savage, both 25, grew up together in the West Kingston section of South Kingstown before going separate ways to college and law school. Fragomeni is a lawyer for the state, and Savage recently left the law firm Hinckley Allen to join jewelry manufacturer Kiel James Patrick.

Manzi, 23, who graduated NEIT three years ago, shares their passion and owns a 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit truck. He underwent a trial by fire when he joined Oxford, having to assemble a 1937 MG TA that was not only "completely disassembled but not all there."

He put it back together and it was shipped to Bob West Classic Sports Cars in West Yorkshire, England, for sale. West is an old friend of the Savage family, and Fragomeni and Savage have been shipping him project cars — mostly MGAs — to be restored and sold for a number of years. Now with a shop equipped with four lifts, Oxford Motorcars is working on many of the cars at this end before shipping them.

Another project was a 1971 Mercedes 280 SE 3½-liter coupe that took Manzi three months to tidy up. Gooding & Co. is scheduled to auction the car March 11 on Amelia Island, Florida, where it is listed at $150,000 to $175,000.

At the shop, a couple of Jaguars catch the eye. A red 1969 Jaguar XKE that Savage's grandfather owned — Oxford has rebuilt the engine — and a dark green 1952 Jaguar XK 120 dressed up to race, complete with an air intake in place of the right headlight. Savage said the shop had worked on the engine, suspension and brakes.

"It's 70 percent of the way," he said. "I love to drive it."

Fragomeni said the car is one of his favorites — it's one of the few sports cars that fits his 6-foot-3 frame.

"The whole idea behind the shop is to provide easy service with not only pick up and delivery, but involvement in the hobby," said Savage.

Perhaps the unofficial club spirit of the shop is best reflected in its "cars and coffee" tech sessions, where they invite an expert in to give a lecture and demonstration, such as pulling an engine. A recent session involved members of the Cape Cod Car Club.

"It has a facade as a business, but we live for the tech [and social] sessions," said Fragomeni. "For the Christmas party, we had more than 100 guests from the classic car community."

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