Quaife’s head of R&D, Mick Oakley, has seen many changes throughout his 30 years of service. Here, we look back at his most memorable moments, with many more to come…
The year was 1987 … Margaret Thatcher secured her third term as British Prime Minister, weather forecaster Michael Fish made his legendary slip-up on the eve of the Great Storm, and the automotive industry saw the launch of the Ferrari F40 and Peugeot 405. It was also the year that a young Mick Oakley joined a Tonbridge based Quaife Engineering.
As Head of Research & Development, Mick remains very much an integral part of the team; however, it has been fascinating learning about his time with the company so far. During the past 30 years, Mick has seen many changes at Quaife, whether it be the organisational structure of the business, to its change of location to Sevenoaks in 1994.
Fresh from a stint at the Ministry of Defence working as an engineer, Mick started out as a turner before working as a fitter, assembling motorsport transmissions for many successful racing cars of the day. Mick then worked in a number of roles including sales and maintenance before moving into the world of research and development. What’s clear is that Mick has a deep understanding of the automotive engineering landscape.
For many years, Mick worked alongside company founder Rod Quaife. Some of his highlights include being sent on behalf of the business to work at the Manx Rally as an engineer before being involved as a troubleshooter for a Mosler transmission project. Despite his success, Mick recalls a typical Frank Spencer moment when he inadvertently tipped over a new forklift truck! A lack of ballast whilst replacing a removed internal charger was the cause.
A motorcycle enthusiast at heart and particular fan of the Yamaha R1, Mick has seen an improved structure over the years. He continues to enjoy the variety of projects that Quaife gets involved in, whether it be developing the most up-to-date motorsport transmissions, or getting involved in the latest up-and-coming OEM projects. He looks forward to many more years with the business.
It just leaves us to say a big thank you to Mick, for his continued hard work and commitment.