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Young midcoast mechanic making a career out of restoring old cars

Phillip Reinhardt, 26, has a waiting list 30 cars long for his garage where he restores vintage and antique cars.

ST GEORGE, Maine — Philip Reinhardt grabbed a couple of wrenches and began dismantling an MG transmission that’s twice as old as he is. With quick and sure moves, loosening nuts that may not have been turned in 61 years, Reinhardt seemed like he had been doing it all his life.

In his case, that old phrase is remarkably accurate. At age 26, Reinhardt really had been turning wrenches most of his life — since he was nine years old, and maybe younger.

"As long as I can remember, I’ve kind of gravitated to anything in general that’s old," he said, sitting in a 1951 Jeep inside the garage of his business, Mechanical Arts.

"That applies to old books, old music, and old cars."

That love for old things took Reinhardt to a place dedicated to them, the Owls Head Transportation Museum, when he was just nine years old. He began to volunteer at the museum during the summer, learning mechanics, airplanes, and old cars. 

When he was 15, a relative gave Reinhardt a 1926 Ford Model T, which needed work. He said he jumped right in. 

Reinhardt's museum connection led him to Warren Kincaid, a Model T expert who ran the repair and restoration shop. They became good friends and shared a passion for old cars.

"Philip is one of those rare individuals who has a knack for anything he wants to do," Warren said.

Reinhardt learned the lessons well and is grateful to Warren and the others.

"Without the old guys who I volunteered with at the museum, I don’t know where I’d be. They were incredible. And not just cars, but life lessons," he said.

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