Rain Man director has film’s Buick restored by TV’s Wayne Carini
The Buick Roadmaster that starred in Rain Man has been restored for the film’s director, Barry Levinson, and will make its debut at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on 16 March.
Two Roadmasters were used in the making of the film, which stars Dustin Hoffman as autistic Raymond ‘Rain Man’ Babbitt and Tom Cruise as younger brother Charlie. One of the cars was kept for studio work, the other fitted with heavy-duty rear suspension to support the weight of camera and cameraman and used on location. It’s this latter, more important car that has been restored.
The Buick was bought by Levinson at auction two years ago, and went through several restoration workshops before ending up at Connecticut-based F40 Motorsports, headed by Wayne Carini, star of TV’s Chasing Classic Cars.
‘We had no idea what it was when it came in,’ says Wayne. ‘Then we got a call from its owner, the film’s director, and we realised its significance. He [Levinson] didn’t want to touch the interior, because so many famous people had sat in it – and it’s in good condition anyway. We kept the body on the frame but repaired any rusty areas; we pulled the engine and did all the paint and chrome.
‘Rain Man means so much to me, because my daughter, who is now 26, has autism, and the movie came out around the time she was born. Now I’ve finally worked on the very car that Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise drove.’
Words: David Lillywhite // Image: Heritage Auctions