Finn's Garage owner sells antique, classic cars over the Internet

07 29 Dennis Finnerty 2

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)



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.”

07 29 Dennis Finnerty

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)

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Quick action by Meredith couple saves two before truck bursts into flame


CENTER HARBOR — A pair of passing motorists pulled a 63-year-old man and a 7-year-old boy from a smoke-filled truck moments before it burst into flame — a move the police chief says unquestionably saved their lives.

The operator of the truck, James Seely, 63, of Center Harbor, subsequently was arrested and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated and endangering the welfare of a minor. His arraignment on the two charges is set for Aug. 3.

Chief Mark Chase said the July 14 incident began with an initial crash on East Holderness Road in the town of Holderness. Seely continued driving to Route 3 and turned right into Center Harbor where the heavily damaged truck came to a stop in the middle of the road.

David and Lorraine Kutcher of Meredith were driving from Walter’s Basin and they saw the stalled truck seven car-lengths ahead of them.

“I thought it was odd,” David Kutcher said, “because it appeared there was no damage from behind.”

The cars ahead of them were going around the truck, but David said, “I had an instinct that something wasn’t right.”

As he drove past, David looked into the driver’s side of the truck and saw that the air cushions had deployed. He pulled over about 30 feet past the truck and Lorraine noticed a wire hanging down and sparking beneath the front of the vehicle.

“I knew it was in trouble, and there was smoke coming out of the front,” David said.

Against his wife’s advice, he rushed to the vehicle, noticing that a front tire was lying horizontally. Lorraine dialed 911.

David said, “I opened the door and couldn’t believe there was a guy sitting in there. I said, ‘Sir, we’ve got to get you out of there,’ but I had to physically remove him from the vehicle because he didn’t know where he was.”

By then some passers-by were gathering, and when Seely was unable to tell David whether there was anyone else in the vehicle, David left him with the others while he returned to the truck.

“I opened the back right door and there was a little boy in the back. He was a little disoriented, and not in a seatbelt. I got him out, and the women there took him away. I don’t think it was 60 seconds before it blew.”

He said he served in the Marine Corps, but, “That was as close as anything I’ve been involved in where life and death was on the line.”

Chief Chase said he was in the area when he received the call about 7:20 p.m., so it didn’t take him long to get there.

“It was a very fast-moving scene,” Chase said, adding that the gouge marks and trail of fuel leaking from the vehicle made it possible to follow the tracks down the road. The front of the truck was heavily damaged, with the wheel nearly off.

“I had to walk through the woods to get to the car,” he said. “It was too hot to approach the vehicle.”

Through a field sobriety test, Chase determined that Seely had been operating while under the influence.

“The operator and the juvenile were uninjured, thanks to the Kutchers’ fast and selfless action,” Chase said. “Basically, David Kutcher and his wife, Lorraine, saved their lives.”

“The thing that struck me the most,” said David Kutcher, “the boy was just sitting in the back, and he would have burned. The cars were trying to get around the vehicle, and nobody had the presence of mind to think there could be people in there.”

As to the results of their actions, David said, “It’s one of the best feelings in my life. We made a difference, and it feels good because there are two people on this earth that wouldn’t have been on this earth.”


07 28 CTH Fire

A truck operated by James Seeley of Center Harbor burst into flames moments after a passer-by pulled the occupants from the vehicle on July 14. (Courtesy Photo/Center Harbor Police Dept.)


  • Written by Tom Caldwell
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City's Public Works employees to get pay raise

The Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — The 16 members of a Public Works Department bargaining unit will get an immediate 1 percent pay raise and another 1 percent hike on Jan. 1, the City Council has decided.

The contract confirmed by the council Monday covers equipment operators, truck drivers and laborers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Their salaries range from about $15 an hour for an inexperienced laborer without a commercial license to about $25 for an experienced general equipment operator.

The pay hike under the 12-month contract is the same as given to administrative and technical employees and firefighters. The Laconia Police Officers union and the city are still negotiating on a new contract.

Like the other groups, the Public Works employees are going to a new health plan. The co-pay for a doctor's office visit will increase from $20 to $25. The contract also includes money for experience step increases and hikes for retirement, Social Security and Medicare, a clothing allowance and an educational stipend.

Increases in the contract will cost $20,492.

  • Written by Rick Green
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