Nearing the End of the Journey

by Bren Hirschberg

It’s been 3+ years since I started the restoration on my ’59 356 A coupe – for a while I kept you up to date on the progress, but in the past 2 years I have been fairly reticent. Well! No more of that! You are in for an update….the last one you will receive until you see for yourself as we show up at HDR events.

The car is ON THE ROAD! Yes, I know! Unbelievable.  As you might guess, I had help. The little coupe has completed its rotisserie body restoration, thanks to Deschutes County Customs and Alan Martino, with about 60% of all the metal on the car being new. Rust is a terrible thing and as they say “it never sleeps” especially during the 23 years the car sat in a garage. Alan and company also did the paint (spectacular) back to the original metallic silver as per the COA. The wiring and electrical is all redone, the suspension restored, transmission rebuilt, engine rebuilt to enlarged specs by Fred Nielsen and me – and it actually works!! The interior restoration was done in original black, but leather instead of vinyl, by Thomas in San Diego and shipped up for installation a year later. After redoing all the pedals and center tunnel stuff the insulation went in, then the headliner, carpeting, the glass (which turned out to be a major job) and finally after rechroming stuff, the seats. That all took a lot longer than I had thought it would. All last year, in fact.

This Thanksgiving I actually took family members for rides as the Coupe’s maiden voyage. It now has 15 miles on the speedo. Now I am doing the “shake down” part of working out all the bugs in stuff that is “not quite right” that only becomes evident when you actually try to use the car. I am also putting on the finishing touches of wipers, mirrors, tool kit, steering wheel, etc.

During the course of the past 3 years I have benefitted greatly by the unflagging support of faithful HDR members. Fred Nielsen has been absolutely instrumental as a resource for information, encouragement, otherwise unobtainable parts, and hands-on help. The project would have been impossible without his assistance. Tim Hagner and Mike Simmons have always been supportive and willing to help with projects that needed more hands. Lots of advice and pieces from several other club members too. It really does “take a village” to raise one of these babies back from the scrap yard!


So, expect to see us at one of the HDR events soon. I will be easy to recognize by the grin on my face. Oh, one “absolute”- if you are contemplating a project of this magnitude you better have a real understanding (and helpful) wife!! Thanks, Shannon.