Dennis Finnerty, owner of Finn's Garage, stands beside a 1972 Chevrolet Nova that he had just bought and will be reselling to someone looking for a classic show car. Finnerty will be a judge at Saturday's Fifth Annual Lakes Region Rotary Club Car Show. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)
By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
MEREDITH — Dennis Finnerty got his start selling cars at the age of 21 when he was selling high end Dodge Vipers for Dan Fitzgerald from the dealership's showroom on Union Avenue in Laconia.
Many of those sales were made over the Internet to buyers that Finnerty never got to meet face to face. Today, running his own business at Finn's Garage on Waukewan Street in Meredith, which specializes in buying and selling antique and classic cars, it's pretty much the same story.
“I'd say that 95 percent of my sales are to people I've never met face to face,” said Finnerty, who started his own business in 2009, during the depth of the Great Recession, and focused on marketing over the Internet.
Finnerty, who will be a judge in some categories at Saturday's Fifth Annual Lakes Region Rotary Club Cars Show at Weirs Beach, said he attends many antique and classic car shows and auctions all over the country and that, at 42, he's usually one of the youngest people in the audience.
And, watching and dealing with car collectors, has led to him to conclude that they are driven by a sentimental attachment or passion to take up what can prove to be a very expensive hobby.
“I delivered a Model A roadster to a man from Manchester and noticed that he had several cars, all of them newer and more expensive than the Model A, and asked what was the attraction for him of the Model A. He said “my grandfather had one and I always wanted one just like the one he had,” said Finnerty.
Some sales are very special for the families involved. Finnerty recently sold a 1949 Pontiac which belonged to a woman who was brought home from the hospital in that car after she was born in 1950. “I was the first person outside of the family to sell the car, which had been in the family for over 60 years.”
He said that he's sold cars to people from Denmark and Brazil and frequently travels to car auctions in Arizona, California and Florida.
Last winter be bought a NASCAR race car from Ray Evernham, former crew chief for Hendricks Motorsports and himself a team owner from 2001 until 2010, and wet to Charlotte, North Carolina, to pick it up.
He said that he has noticed that another of the attractions for collectors, especially those with a hands-on bent, is that they want a car that has a simple design and is easy to work on.
A 1969 Ford Falcon that he has in his inventory meets that criteria, as does a 1969 Springtime yellow Ford Mustang.
He also has a 1955 Ford Customline and a 1931Model A Ford. The Ford is from the collection of the late Richard Dearborn, founder of Eptam Plastics and a noted Lakes Region car collector.
His most recent acquisition was a 1972 Chevrolet Nova, which came complete with the original bill of sale from Ed Byrnes Chevrolet in Dover, and will only require a little work on its exhaust system before he sells it.
Finnerty grew up in Ayer, Massachusetts, and his family always summered in the Lakes Region, which he said created unforgettable memories and is the place he always wanted to live.
He says that one his first summer jobs was flipping burgers on the MS Mount Washington cruise ship and that has now come full circle as this summer he is now a licensed captain for the ship.
Finnerty says that he really enjoys what he's doing, so much so that it reminds him of the old saying that “If you like what you're doing, you'll never work a day in your life.”
Dennis Finnerty buys and sells antique and classic cars at Finn's Garage in Meredith. He says that 95 percent of his sales are over the Internet and that he rarely meets face to face with buyers. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)
- Written by Roger Amsden
- Category: Local News
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