While doing the daily chess quiz, as I always do, in the local paper today, I happened to glance down at the "To Do Today" column directly below the puzzle. Skimming quickly through the list of concerts, fundraisers, film festivals, etc. I soon found myself reading, rather absent-mindedly, the following little blurb:
MEET WAYNE CARINI. "2-4pm Waterford Public Library; star of "Chasing Classic Cars" on Discovery, and owner of F40 Motorsports in Portland, will present a program on buying, restoring and selling vintage classic cars; free."
!!!! What?? Whoa. Why wasn't I told???
A quick glance at the clock told me I still had time to make it. I contacted my son, Brian, and my friend Bill, both of whom would have loved to go, except they had prior committments. So I hopped in the Baur, and headed out, arriving about 1:45pm, in time to snag the front row center seat, 4 feet in front of the podium! Yes! Camera phone and camera ready to go.
Mr. Carini took the podium a few minutes after 2pm, introduced by Librarian Judy L., who noted that the library parking lot was loaded with classic cars, and it looked like a Car Show out there! The room was packed, btw, with a number of folks standing in the back. Carini started by introducing an episode of his show, "Chasing Classic Cars' which was supposed to be about a local guy, Herb Chambers, but, due to a technical snafu, was instead about a Greenwich CT car collector searching to add to his collection. In the course of the show, Carini helped him pick up and restore a grey 1963 Ferrari Lusso and a Mercedes 300SL.
Here is the Ferrari Lusso:
Carini followed the video with a short talk about how he got involved in the car business, and what he does today. His father ran a car restoration business when he was growing up, and he worked there as a kid. He went to college to become an art teacher, but when the job market was .... unreceptive, he found himself back working in his dad's shop. One thing led to another, and he took over his father's business in 1973. The rest is history. F40 Motorsports is still located on Rte. 66 in Portland, CT.
(Readers of Baurspotting may recall that we have featured F40 Motorsports in a previous Baurspotting blog post on the 1948 Davis Divan above. http://baurspotting.blogspot.com/2011/09/wtf-department-1948-davis-divan.html Carini mentioned the "Davis' during his talk.)
(Here is Wayne with his BMC AutoTransporter. It was parked in the lot at F40 Motorsports in Portland, CT the night that Tom D, my friend Bill K. and myself met there to go to dinner last fall.)
Carini said that he was first approached by Jim Astrausky, the creator/producer of the show, after an article appeared in the Sunday NY Times automotive section. He was a little leery of the idea at first, but he told them as long as they don't interfere in his business, or give him a script to read, etc., etc., he would give it a shot. However, if the show production impacted his F40 Motorsports business, taking him away from the stuff he loves to do, that would be the end of the show. He stated that the format of the TV show is basically just a small crew following him in his day to day business of chasing down and restoring classic cars for a mostly wealthy clientele. The entire show involves just four people: Wayne himself, Jim Astrausky, the creator/owner of the show who also functions as camera man; Hannah Lintner, a producer/writer; and Jessica Barr, who remains behind, editing the film. The show just got renewed for a 4 year contract!
Here is a link to the original NY Times article that got this TV show started:
Wayne Carini, star of "Chasing Classic Cars'
I found Mr. Carini to be extremely likable, friendly and down to earth. He is very natural and comfortable at the podium, and he has a very easy-going style.
When he finished his presentation, Carini took questions from the audience, answering each one thoughtfully, and with a touch of friendly humor. He remained at the podium until all the questions were answered. When asked how many cars he had in his personal collection, he declined to answer, citing security reasons.... and because he didn't want his wife to find out how many he had! I can relate to THAT!
There is one more thought from Carini that I happen to agree with, and that I want to share with you. Carini is definitely NOT in the trailer queen camp. He believes, as I do, that these cars were meant to be driven! It is not good for a collector car to sit unused in storage for years. He said that if it is a nice day, even you drive it only ten miles, take it out and DRIVE it! Bad things happen to cars when they just sit for long periods. That is especially true with the changes to the gasoline these days. Gasoline with a high alcohol content tends to evaporate in a short period of time..... leaving nasty, sappy, sludge deposits in your fuel system. If it is left in there long enough, this fuel can cause a nightmare of problems, that are easily minimized, or avoidable, by simply taking the car out for a regular periodic ride! Fuel stabilizers can help, but the best thing for the car is to exercise it regularly, just like keeping your body in shape by regularly exercising.
"Wayne is also involved in and regularly attends many different car clubs and events to get young people involved in the car collector hobby. He believes that without young people's involvement, the car collector tradition will disappear. His latest passion is convincing families with special needs children to consider placing collector cars into a special needs trust with the hope that the cars will benefit the children in the future."
Mr. Carini also spoke about another issue that is close to his heart: autism research. He and his wife have 23 year daughter with autism. He devotes part of his time to charity work, doing fund-raising and charity auctions to benefit autism research.
As he stepped away from the podium at the end of his talk, your trusty reporter was the first to approach him and introduce myself. I gave him a quick rundown on the Baurspotting blog, including mentioning that I had done a post on his Davis Divan (above). I handed him my Baurspotting blog card, and mentioned that we were 'chasing classic Baurs', and that we have found 65 of them in the US so far. I am not sure, in the rush, that I was able to fully convey exactly what a Baur is, other than that it is a rare car. There was a massive line of folks now waiting their chance to have a few words with him, so I then asked Judy L., the librarian who happens to be a personal friend of ours, to oblige us and take the following photo of Mr. Carini and myself. And I got out of the way. But Wayne Carini has been "Baurspotted!" He has my Baurspotting card. :)
It was a real pleasure to meet Wayne Carini. He is a real likable fella, and a real gentleman. You can catch him on his show, "Chasing Classic Cars" on Velocity by Discovery Channel.
Here are some "Chasing Classic Cars" videos from Wayne's F40 Motorsports website: