Wayne Carini is a famous American car restoration specialist and a TV star. He’s most well known for his work as host of “Chasing Classic Cars”, a documentary TV series with a focus on finding the rarest old timers and returning them to their old glory.
Wayne is also the owner of a very impressive classic car collection, a part of which we had a glimpse of in a YouTube video he did with Dennis Collins.
- 1 Wayne Carini’s early career
- 2 TV work
- 3 Wayne’s Car Collection
- 4 1948 Davis Divan
- 5 Ferrari 250 – an unfulfilled dream
- 6 What is he doing now?
Wayne Carini’s early career
Born in Portland, Connecticut in 1951, Wayne was no stranger to car repair from his early days, as his father, Bob, owned a car collision repair and auto restoration shop in nearby Glastonbury. Young Wayne wasn’t so excited about helping his father in the beginning; after all, he was just a boy longing to play with his peers.
However, one special event changed his feelings about cars forever. During a family vacation in 1960, Wayne’s dad took him for a ride in the newest Rosse Chiaro Ferrari model. This experience left a huge mark on Wayne, who instinctively learned to appreciate the beauty and power of state-of-the-art cars, particularly Ferraris. In the following years, he spent more time with Bob in his garage, and the two frequented local car shows.
During his teenage years, Wayne started making plans to pursue a college degree in Architecture. His plans were quickly shut down by his father, who made him an offer he couldn’t refuse – half of the family business. He took this opportunity more than seriously, and became an expert in the field.
Together with his father, Wayne worked on numerous classic cars, including Packards, Duesenbergs and Lincolns. His talent later earned him the role of the Grand Marshal at the Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival in New Britain, Connecticut.
Wayne made his TV debut in 2008, as the host of “Chasing Classic Cars”. The show is still going strongly, entering its 17th season, which only attests to its quality. Carini’s talent and dedication are obvious to anyone who has watched the show, and has led to finding some of the rarest vehicles in the US.
A major selling point of the show is its premise, in which the host travels around the US, visiting even the most obscure places in hopes of finding unique vehicles. In one of the episodes, Wayne found a Pierce-Arrow hiding in a garage that had been closed for over 50 years at that point.
A 1955 Ford Thunderbird and Wayne Carini from Velocity's Chasing Classic Cars are on a very special episode of Auction Kings tomorrow night. You won't want to miss it. [News] – http://bit.ly/M29B5v
While Carini is primarily tasked with hunting rare cars, he has a team of people helping him repair them at home. The brain behind the operation was the car repair specialist, and Wayne’s childhood friend, Roger Barr. He has since left the show due to medical reasons, after suffering a leg injury in the workshop.
Due to its popularity, “Chasing Classic Cars” has had a number of celebrity appearances over the years, including from Jay Leno, Tim Allen and Chase Briscoe.
Wayne Carini himself has made guest appearances in several other automotive TV shows, including “Auction Kings” and “Overhaulin’”. He also starred in the TV special “The Art of the Automobile” in 2015, and in the documentary “Driving Amelia” in 2020.
Wayne’s Car Collection
While Wayne has auctioned off most of his finds from “Chasing Classic Cars”, others he has kept for his personal collection, which today includes more than 25 vehicles from different decades. Let’s take a look at some of his most impressive finds displayed in his garage:
1954 Hudson Italia
By the age of 16, Wayne had become enamored by automobiles and had already envisioned a dream car for himself – a 1954 Hudson Italia. This extraordinary vehicle designed by the legendary Frank Spring had some of the best specifications of its time. The car featured a lightweight but powerful engine, and was one of the first models on the market to have a built-in radio and air conditioning, which we now consider standard.
The design of Hudson Italia was very influential on the automotive industry, and the vehicle gained international recognition. However, only 26 models of this car were ever produced, including the initial prototype. A collector’s dream, it took 38 years for Wayne to get ahold of this car which is now one of his proudest finds and possessions. Carini’s journey to finding a model of this car was covered by the “New York Times”, and ultimately inspired the production of “Chasing Classic Cars”.
1961 Porche 356B Cabriolet
The stunning, low-riding Porche 356B Cabriolet is one of Wayne’s favorites in his collection. First unveiled at the 1959 Frankfurt Auto Show, this vehicle is equipped with a 75 horsepower engin, and featured a set of beautiful leather seats along with a thickly padded folding top. The factory produced only around 1,600 cars of this model, so getting ahold of one was no easy feat.
1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL Roadster
The second cabriolet in Wayne’s collection is his Mercedes-Benz 560SL Roadster from 1986. It’s the final model of Mercedes’ SL series, and is considered by many to be the best. Its improved V8 engine allowed it to perform to be as sleekly as its exterior, going from 0 to 60mph in 7.5 seconds, compared to 10 seconds needed by earlier models.
This Roadster car was a status symbol at the time, owned by millionaires, movie stars and famous singers. Today, it’s only increasing in value, with well-preserved models costing upwards of $150,000.
1926 Bentley Touring
Anyone who follows “Chasing Classic Cars” knows how fond Wayne is of classic Bentleys. One such model is the 1926 Bentley Touring, which is also one of the oldest vehicles in his collection.
During the pre-WW2 era, Bentley dominated the car industry, and this Touring model is one of the best models from that time period. Being significantly larger and more powerful than its biggest competitor at the time, Bugatti Type 35, Bentley Touring won the prestigious Le Mans endurance race. With this model, Wayne attended the California Mille vintage rally twice, along with the 2021 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, where it was one of the biggest attractions.
1967 Jaguar E-Type Convertible
Even as a teenager, Wayne had admired the elegance of the Jaguar E-Type series, ever since seeing William Diefenderfer’s car in 1961. Produced between 1961 and 1975, these models combined beautiful exterior with high performance, and a relatively low market price.
On the release of the first series model in 1961, Enzio Ferrari called the E-Type ‘the most beautiful car ever made’. Even today, classic car enthusiasts consider E-Type models to be some of the best sports cars of the 1960s, while in 2008, the magazine “Daily Telegraph” named it #1 on their “100 Most Beautiful Cars” list.
The particular model Wayne owns is the Jaguar XKE Convertible, which is considered to be the most remarkable model of the E-Type series – in terms of performance, Carini compares it to the famous Ferrari Daytona model.
Incredible low mileage, 1967 Jag E-Type 1.5 finished in ‘Opalescent Silver Blue’ – Original RHD UK vehicle, built between 1967 and 1968 making this a Series 1.5 rather than a Series 1 – The series 1.5 received some subtle styling tweaks including revised open headlights. #Jaguar pic.twitter.com/vGa0J3LMkv
— Baytree Cars Ltd (@BaytreeCarsLtd) April 8, 2021
1960 MGA 1600 Coupe
Wayne Carini is the proud owner of the extremely rare MGA 1600 Coupe model from 1960. Although not as well known today, Britain’s MGA was an automotive giant during the post-WW2 era. Their affordable sports cars were a particularly big hit on the American market, as the countries built a stronger trade relationship.
The two-door 1600 MGA model was a major stylistic shift from MG’s previous line of cars, with the inclusion of front disc brakes, and distinct parking and turn lights. Under the hood, it has a 1.6 liter 80 horsepower engine; the car achieved a maximum speed of 96 mph, and can go from 0 to 60mph in 13.3 seconds.
1963 Ford Falcon Sprint
Ford Falcon Spirit is considered to be one of the most stylish classic American coupes, so it’s no wonder it has found a place in Wayne’s collection. The particular model in his possession is from 1963, featuring a Ford V8 engine, bucket seats and a sleek red exterior.
Ford Falcon Spirit was the first Ford car to have a V8 engine, and served as the foundation for the equally iconic 1964 Ford Mustang. This limited edition model is a dream of many classic car collectors, and one of them is even owned by Jay Leno, who is a well-known classic car aficionado, with over 160 cars and 60 motorcycles in his collection.
1954 Arnolt-Bristol Coupe/ 1955 Arnolt-Bristol Roadster
Another rare find in Wayne’s collection is his Arnolt-Bristol Coupe model from 1954. The story behind this car is truly unique – it was designed and produced by the controversial automotive industry mogul, Stanley H. ‘Whacky’ Arnolt from Chicago, Illinois. He began his career by taking in foreign (mainly British and Italian) cars and selling them as American, after giving them new bodywork.
In 1953, Whacky Arnolt negotiated with Bristol Cars to purchase 200 of their 404-series cars, and 130 engines from the earlier 403 model. He then sent these chasses to Carrozzeria Bertone, where they received new, aerodynamic bodies, designed by Franco Scaglione, who later became known for his work on Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept cars.
As a part of this collaboration, Arnolt and Bartone built four variants of the famous Arnolt-Bartone model racer, bolide, deluxe, and coupe. Only 142 of these cars were ever produced – four of them coupes, so the fact that Carini owns both coupe and a racer is very extraordinary.
1948 Davis Divan
One of the most unique cars in Carini’s possession is his 1948 Davis Divan. This three-wheeled roadster was originally conceptualized by racing car designer Frank Kurtis for Joel Thorne, a famous American car racer and socialite. The model was aggressively marketed at the time, but never got to be mass-produced – in fact, only 13 models of this car were ever produced, making it very hard to find on modern markets.
Interestingly enough, Wayne Carini didn’t find this car himself, rather it found him. He was actually approached by an owner who knew of Carini through his TV work, and sent him an offer. Wayne accepted, and pushed the car through an extensive restoration process while changing its color from vivid purple to a modest light teal.
Ferrari 250 – an unfulfilled dream
Looking at Wayne’s collection it seems that he’s able to get his hands on just about any classic car he wants. However, one car has remained on his wishlist for years – a 1960 Ferrari 250 SWB, the model that enamored him as a child and ignited his passion for the automotive industry. ‘It’s beautiful, compact … it does everything right’, he said in one of his interviews.
Through the years, Carini has worked on restoring seven Ferrari 250’s, but what’s ultimately stopping him from purchasing one is its price, which ranges up to $10 million. Despite this, Wayne is determined to add it to his collection one day.
What is he doing now?
Outside of working on “Chasing Classic Cars” and taking care of his collection, Wayne has a pretty busy schedule on his hands. He operates three companies in Portland: F40 Motorsports, Continental Auto Ltd., and Carini Carozzeria, along with selling books and merchandise on his official website.
Carini is also a family man. He’s been married to his wife Laurie for more than 40 years now, and the two have two daughters together. Their older daughter, Kimberly, was diagnosed with autism in childhood, which inspired Wayne to help autism research as a member of Autism Speaks; he organizes charity events and auctions to raise funds for autistic children and their parents.
Wayne’s younger daughter, Lindsay shares his passion for cars, and has served as grand marshal at Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival with him. She married in 2012, and has a son.
Wayne Carini in the background pic.twitter.com/rhEUWmRF28
— Chris Paul (@3c3p3d) March 8, 2020
Unlike many of his peers, Wayne doesn’t shy away from social media. In fact, he’s quite active on Instagram, on which h he frequently shares new photos from his garage with his 65,000 followers. On his Facebook page, Carini posts photos and videos from all the car shows and events he’s been to. If there’s a classic car show happening anywhere near him, chances are Wayne will be there.
As of September 2022, Wayne’s net worth has been estimated at more than $25 million – most of it comes from his TV work, while he has also earned a large portion of it through his business endeavors, through which he has worked with the affluent elite and celebrities.
As to the value of his collection, one can only say ‘priceless’