27 July 2016

Roger & Me

The Man Behind The Curtain

You wouldn’t believe how many people walk up to me and start a conversation by asking, “Is Roger here?” It sure keeps me humble that the first thing on a person’s mind isn’t how I am, how I got started or which car I'm after. No, what they want to know is whether they will get a chance to meet Roger Barr, the crotchety old master mechanic whom I’ve known most of my life.

I first met Roger when I was about 10 years old. We lived in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where my father ran a body shop and Roger ran the local foreign car repair shop. If Dad was fixing an imported car that needed mechanical work he’d take it to Roger, and if a car at Roger’s shop needed body repairs, it would always end up at Dad’s. Dad would take me along on the weekends, and I loved going to Roger’s shop because of the great cars he always had there. Inside, I’d see his race cars, which he’d let me sit in, while customer cars often included Maseratis, Ferraris and Alfa Romeos, along with more common marques like Saab, Volvo and MG. He also had a sign hung in front that read, “No French cars allowed.”

Roger and Dad were never really close friends, but they had great respect for each other as colleagues — they shared projects and clients for years. Roger did owe my father something of a debt, though; Dad once sent him a customer who worked out so well that Roger married her!

A lot of Roger’s skill was learned as a mechanic in the Air Force while stationed in Germany, where he also had the chance to drive for the Porsche factory sports car team in a backup capacity. When he returned to the United States, Roger opened his own shop and raced — very successfully — on weekends, eventually winning Formula Vee and Formula B national championships.

That shop of Roger’s was in the center of town, not far from the high school. Sometimes I’d even swing by there to look at the cars before school. Early one morning — it must have been around 6 a.m. — I was looking at the great cars in the parking lot and I noticed that all the lights in the shop were on. The door was unlocked, so I went looking for Roger. Eventually I saw his legs on a creeper, sticking out from under a car. He’d been working late and he’d fallen asleep beneath it!

He’s worked for me for about 15 years now, and he started when most men retire. He just turned 80, and he’s crankier than ever. But Roger can still solve any mechanical problem that comes through my shop.

41 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Dick Morin Hamden CT September 6, 2016 at 13:24
    Enjoyed the article Wayne and love seeing Roger work on cars with the knowledge he has attained and retains. Best to both of you
  • 2
    Mark Saxby uk October 5, 2016 at 15:17
    Love Roger, show is great, wish i had ya life style and expertise, great team
  • 3
    Clay Tully Pennsylvania October 16, 2016 at 17:44
    I pray that Roger is still working on cars for anther 50 years!
  • 4
    Heide Kost Long Island NY October 18, 2016 at 19:44
    I'm impressed by Mr Carini and love watching shows with Mr Roger Guten Tag
  • 5
    James East Greenwich RI November 3, 2016 at 14:16
    Ever notice how Wayne he gets off the set as fast as he can whenever Roger gets his moments in front of the camera. I get outta there to Wayne.
  • 6
    Dr. Edward Herremans Michigan November 5, 2016 at 14:28
    I have a 195? double slide window Isetta . I'am the third owner and itis partially restored, A Messersmidt torn down for restoration ,a 79 Vette STS, The 1st one concerted by Dennis Mechum, AShelby Gt 500 convertible, the ist one researched by Shelby
  • 7
    John Howe UK/Manchester December 4, 2016 at 06:18
    Roger seem to be British,Is he?
  • 8
    Henry Stentiford III Chesapeake, VA Formally East Haddam December 11, 2016 at 15:39
    I truly enjoy your show. Tape every episode and rewatch when I can. When I lived in East Haddam I worked in Cromwell Ct and drove by the shop every day. I was thrilled to see you on Velocity TV. It like going home again. I don't want to take any wind out of your sails but I really enjoy Roger to!
  • 9
    Tom Carvidi Nocal December 11, 2016 at 15:45
    Roger and the cars are the only reason I watch the show. Thank you Roger for loving the older Porsche mark and being a genuinely good person. Tom.
  • 10
    alan romaine england December 15, 2016 at 14:33
    Thx, great programme Wayne, how is Roger? Alan
  • 11
    Fernando Lopez Philippines December 19, 2016 at 09:40
    Technical knowledge by wayne and roger is key to this show. It teaches all of us the critical points in restoration and maximizing a sale at most units they feature
  • 12
    Sue McCulloch Cornwall, England December 30, 2016 at 13:04
    Roger, when I win the lottery I'm bringing my brother over to meet you. He is the person who could follow in your footsteps. He's been working on all makes of cars since he was 12 (over 50 years). He's yer man!!
  • 13
    Ron and nancy Buckeye az December 31, 2016 at 23:59
    We love the show and Roger's wit. Wayne is really great to watch too. Keep up the great show. !!!!
  • 14
    Michael Greenberg Charlotte NC January 4, 2017 at 18:36
    Rodger used to work on my brothers MG . He said whenever he went into Rodgers shop he was working on his race car . Rodger rebuilt the engine in my 72 Volvo. I drove it well over 100,000 mi. on the rebuild. The simple days in Glastonbury, thanks Rodger and Wayne keep CCC.
  • 15
    Mike Douglas Sacramento,CA January 12, 2017 at 20:11
    I love this show, I haven't miss a single one. Much, much respect for Wayne and Roger. Hey Wayne, I'll be at Monterey for the historics. Hope to see you and hopefully, you'll bring Roger along !!
  • 16
    Dan Voorhees Ohio February 2, 2017 at 20:15
    Wayne I have enjoyed your show as well as your articles. I'm not sure if you are aware of a huge (700+ trucks and cars) auction that will be taking place in June 2017. This collection is by a single owner (and his wife) of which he has been collecting over 40 years? There has to be at least one that you would be interested. Give me a shout if you would like more info.
  • 17
    GIL DUPRE Chattanooga, tn February 6, 2017 at 09:06
    I enjoy your show and this article about Roger was very informative. I was wondering his age and being over 80 myself and still maintaining my two MG's gives me lots of encouragement. I love his humor.
  • 18
    Bruce Frey Decatur, Illinois February 9, 2017 at 12:09
    I enjoy your show very much. Your article on Roger is wonderful. I love his humor. Every once in a while I notice a Metropolitan in the background on your show. I own a '61 Met.
  • 19
    Ron Burr Alberta March 15, 2017 at 21:40
    I love the respect shown on the show for the cars, their owners and for Wayne and Roger to each other. Roger always makes me chuckle. Wayne and I both have daughters with special needs and his show that highlighted this was very special to me. And my daughter loves nothing better than a ride in my classic Chevy truck!
  • 20
    Tom Heroux Fairfax, Virginia April 11, 2017 at 16:29
    Over the years I have worked for a couple of guys like Roger Barr. When I was young, I always thought they were mostly irritating know-it-alls. Now that I am not so young, I appreciate and miss their critical eye and hard earned wisdom in way that I could not have as a young man. I was very fortunate to have a few mentors like Roger to teach me what they knew.
  • 21
    PSV57 Attleboro MA April 15, 2017 at 21:50
    There are many choices available for old car fanatics like myself, but most insult our intelligence. That's why I love Roger (and of course Wayne) as they live my dream life. Keep up the great work!!!
  • 22
    Angela Sanders Colorado April 25, 2017 at 23:00
    I found this article and picture of Roger back in his racing days. http://zentekno.com/15f/styled/
  • 23
    Woody Hampton Searcy, AR April 27, 2017 at 21:25
    Love the show and love the episodes that Roger is a part of. He always makes me laugh with his comments and his knowledge with the cars is very impressive.
  • 24
    Jon Chandler, AZ May 11, 2017 at 11:30
    My son graduates ASU today with his business degree and he wants to do an East Coast road trip come June. Can hardly wait to be in the area and hopefully meet Roger... and you too Wayne, of course :)
  • 25
    Master Inspector La$ Vega$, NV May 11, 2017 at 11:59
    Roger reminds me of ol' Jim Briggs and his car repair shop behind his house in Logan Ut. in the 50's and 60's where my father apprenticed as a young mechanic going to college. Both him and Roger have forgotten more than I'll ever know about cars. Paul's 80+ and still gets on a creeper and goes 'under' (remember 'creepers'?) Thanks for keeping Paul around Wayne. Oh...and I like your show. ;)
  • 26
    Scott Mead Florida May 14, 2017 at 16:44
    I grew up in a body shop, my grandfather was a body man. Roger reminds me of him and many of the old timers who taught me about cars and car repair. I miss those days
  • 27
    Allan Philly suburbs May 14, 2017 at 19:15
    Hey I was just looking at this article online here. And I appreciate the history on Roger. My father was stationed in Germany while in the army they may have even passed by each other is my dad was a car guy as well.
  • 28
    David Miller Mendota Heights, Minnesota May 20, 2017 at 23:09
    This is by far my favorite automobile related show. Wayne is very knowledgeable, and also very much of a gentleman (a marked contrast to a number of other car show personalities). He also makes sure that both parties walk away with a fair deal, ensuring trust and long term, repeat customer relationships. I also enjoy watching Roger working with calm, knowledge and professionalism. Wayne and Roger are a great pair together. Thanks for a great show, and keep up the class act!
  • 29
    69 vette LA May 26, 2017 at 22:54
    Thanks Wayne & Roger. Your show is a refreshing change from the other ego driven owners that constantly remind the audience how much they know.
  • 30
    Arnold Patton Wisconsin May 31, 2017 at 18:48
    I think Roger is great at his age still working on cars and having the passion is awesome he's seen it all
  • 31
    Robin Markum Rehobeth delaware June 5, 2017 at 07:41
    My dad has a 1905 model t one owner one title wooden wheels original motor with the crank interested in selling
  • 32
    Jeff Christianson Iowa June 8, 2017 at 08:18
    Roger is so genuine, the knowledge and history are just amazing.
  • 33
    Ricky del Michigan June 8, 2017 at 11:19
    I remember Roger, and sitting on the tires of his Formula B in his shop! I was about 8 years old when I first met him. My parents bought and raced his Championship Autodynamics Formula Vee. Roger transported it to Elmsford Raceway, in the rain, on his VW transporter.
  • 34
    Jimmy GREIN Houston Texas June 20, 2017 at 19:44
    Rodger looks and acts like my grandfather did. It is truly impressive to see his wisdom on curing the problems on the older cars. They can't plug their computer in there and have it tell them what to do.
  • 35
    Ray Deasy CORK July 6, 2017 at 18:11
    How will Wayne function when he's gone, men like Roger are just not around anymore .A current day mechanic has no idea of how to fix an old car and it certainly requires a different set of skills and past experience to work on a 50+year old car. This is probably a new phenomenan but one that will always be a hurdle in years to come. Sometimes you can't teach a new dog old tricks. Keep up the good work Wayne & Roger for evermore.
  • 36
    Peter Wall Bradenton, FL. July 10, 2017 at 07:01
    Wayne, enjoy your show, maybe you should have named your show Roger and Me and Classic Cars. Best wishes to you both
  • 37
    Marty Marsell North Georgia Mountains July 15, 2017 at 10:22
    Thanks for sharing Roger with so many of us!
  • 38
    Chris Brancato Michigan July 19, 2017 at 06:59
    Wayne Carini is a putz! Roger has all the talent. Will someone tell Wayne the word is similar not "simular".
  • 39
    spotty california July 27, 2017 at 16:04
    i know nothing about cars but i love watching this show. i get to appreciate the beautiful cars and see roger. i have a son who loves cars and hopes to own a classic someday and a son-in-law that has a ferrari.
  • 40
    Gary Wells NC August 9, 2017 at 19:11
    Roger is one of those rare people that if you're around him and listen you WILL be a smarter, better person. He's forgot more than most people will ever learn. 80 years young
  • 41
    Steve L'Esperance Monson Massachusetts August 15, 2017 at 18:19
    Roger and Wayne have a great repore. He is one of the last of the Mohegans. They do not make them like that anymore. It really is a great show. Down to earth people.

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