September 17, 2013

Vandals damage rare car in Skowhegan

A 1961 Chrysler 300G estimated to be worth $100,000 is among several damaged at an auto repair shop.

By Rachel Ohm
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — A rare and expensive car was among several damaged at an auto repair shop on Madison Avenue over the weekend, according to police.

click image to enlarge

Dominick Rinaldi ll beside a rare 1961 Chrysler 300 G vehicle undergoing restoration that was vandalized last weekend at his Rinaldi and Sons shop in Skowhegan. Rinaldi said the vehicle sustained four slashed tires, a broken windshield and the roof and hood were dented after being walked on. Several other cars and a boat were also damaged.

Staff photo by David Leaming

The vehicles include a red 1961 Chrysler 300G estimated to be worth $100,000, according to Dominick Rinaldi Jr., co-owner of Rinaldi & Sons Auto Repairs at 237 Madison Ave.

Skowhegan police Chief Ted Blais said about 18 tires were slashed, paint was scratched on several of the cars and they were rifled through, jumped on and stepped on. Nothing was stolen, but the damage appeared to be extensive, Blais said.

“It’s really unfortunate that people have to do this,” he said. “The damage is awful.”

The Chrysler’s windshield was smashed, and it appeared that someone had stepped on and dented the roof and hood, two areas of the car that are among the hardest to repair, Rinaldi said. The Chrysler 300 letter series consists of luxury cars built in the 1950s and 1960s and some of the first American-made cars to focus on performance.

According to the Hagerty Classic Car Price Guide, there were 1,280 hardtop cars and 337 convertibles in the 300G model made.

The average price for the convertible is $115,209 and the average price for the hardtop is $51,280, according to the guide, which is recommended by the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head as a tool for pricing antique cars. A museum representative said the museum specializes in older cars and could not speak to the value of the 300G.

During the 10 years the cars were made each model was designated a letter, with the latest one being the 300L in 1965.

“It’s a very rare and expensive car, and there are only so many of them still around,” said Rinaldi.
He said the six cars that were damaged also included a Porsche and a Volvo.

In addition to the damage to the cars, a fire extinguisher was discharged in a Wellcraft power boat, damaging the interior, Rinaldi said.

He said all the damaged cars and the boat belong to customers and that he was notifying them of the damage on Monday.

“It’s just so disappointing. I’ve been through the mad stage, the disappointed stage, and now I’m just disgusted,” he said.

Blais said police have identified two possible suspects in the vandalism and are continuing to investigate.

Blais said Sgt. Tim Williams discovered the vandalism about 5:30 p.m. Sunday while responding to a report of vandalism at a nearby McDonald’s on Madison Avenue, where a fence was broken. Blais said he was unsure whether the two incidents were related.

He said the damage could have taken place anytime over the weekend. The shop is closed on Saturday and Sunday Rinaldi, said.

Rachel Ohm —  612-2368

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