ML - Boston Common

2013 - Issue 4 - Fall

Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

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Page 127 of 155

ADRENALINE JUNKIE An Allston collector shows off some handcrafted Italian muscle. Growing up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 32-year-old Safi Barqawi vividly remembers the cars his father drove. "Originally my dad always drove a Jaguar, then he switched to Mercedes. He had two of the first ones in the country." His father's interest in cars sparked his own, and he learned to drive early, at 11, on a private road. But he enjoyed the mechanics of automobiles as well. "I was always into speed and tweaking things," he says, "which brought me to cars and motorcycles. I don't drink, so my thing is adrenaline. It's been my outlet, the thing I go to." Barqawi has an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and a graduate degree in medical imaging, but he's taken his passion on the road and forged a career out of his love of both cars and engineering high-tech solutions. He owns and runs the Newton-based Audio Video Integration, a company that kits elite cars with custom electronics, from sophisticated radar detection to built-in Wi-Fi and GPS tracking devices for teen drivers. His first interaction with Italian racecars came after he'd moved to Brookline in high school. He was drawn to a yellow Ferrari F355 Spider in the blockbuster film The Rock. "It became a childhood dream of mine to own one," he says. "Ferrari really does it right with driver experience. I love the way they look, the way they sound." He bought his first one—an F430 Spider 2006, which has an eight-cylinder, 500 horsepower engine with a top speed of 196 mph—a few years ago. "Nothing else I've driven feels the same way. Other cars are faster, but this has the best responsiveness." Barqawi, who also races motorcycles and is an avowed Maserati fan, has taken the Ferrari on the track a couple of times, opening it up to 185 mph. "It's nimble," he says. "No two Ferraris are exactly the same—the exhaust on my car was hand-tuned. You get that extra human touch from the person who is building your car. They're masters, and you're paying them for their art." BC 126 BOSTONCOMMON-MAGAZINE.COM 120-127_BC_F_Cars_Fall13.indd 126 8/2/13 6:17 PM

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