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Chasing down Wayne Carini

Posted by Peter Bourassa  May 16, 2011 03:57 PM

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(All photos: George Kennedy for Boston.com). Click photo for larger version.

Wayne Carini, one of the region's most preeminent classic car restorers, poses at his garage in Portland, Conn.

To be one of the best automotive collectors and restorers in the game, you've got to truly love cars. Wayne Carini has that passion, and he's turned it into a successful business and popular television show.

Carini owns F40 Motorsports in Portland, Conn., a restoration shop and dealer for classic and exotic cars. If you're even the least bit into cars, you're probably watched his show, "Chasing Classic Cars," on HD Theater. It's one of the channel's top-rated shows, second only to live broadcasts of the Mecum Car Auctions.

Whereas many of today's reality TV shows are sensationalized, Carini is the real article. You won't find some father-son vendetta like on "Orange County Choppers," or cast members smashing tools and making a scene for the cameras. The subject matter of finding and restoring beautiful classics is enough for the show to stand on its own. Carini just goes about his job as usual.

"There are no double takes, or going back to film a scene again," he said, while taking a brief rest in the front seat his Fiat Jolly. "What you see is what you get."

Earlier this month, Carini hosted an open house at his shop. Fans drove down from as far as Vermont to gawk at his current inventory, which includes several Austin Healys, Jaguar E-Types, and various Ferraris.

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Carini's garage is always filled with exotic, expensive metal.

When asked if any cars had eluded him through the years, he could not point to just one. Rather, certain situations in the chase can frustrate Carini.

"Right now, I'm looking for a '99 [Ferrari] 355 GTS with under 10,000 miles, and having no luck," he said. "They made so few of those, its very difficult. That's what's frustrating, when you find something that you think is going to be easy to find, but it turns out it's not."

Surprisingly, Carini cares little about what he drives daily. ("I've got so many things I'm thinking of, I'm not really into the actual drive.") But his favorite driver's car is a Ferrari 250 SWB (Short Wheelbase). "We've restored eight of those. I've been able to drive several, and they're the most fantastic looking and handling car that I think Ferrari has ever built."

Cars are not Wayne's only passion. His daughter is autistic, and he has put a great deal of effort into raising awareness of autism. He promotes the charitable organization, Autism Speaks, on his show, and it has paid dividends. "I recently had a client that donated $100,000 for the next 10 years because of what he learned on our show."

Carini will be at the Newport Concours d'Elegance this Sunday at Fort Adams Park in Newport, R.I. You can catch his show on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on HD Theatre.

George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton. Reach him at gkennedy@wheelstv.net.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
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Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
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George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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