I started tracking this car in 2000. I started my search by listing an interest in a twin-cam coupe on my Twin-Cam Register e-mail message board. I got responses from a few people who were interested in selling their coupes. This particular car was owned by George Porter who lived in Palos Verdes, CA. This wasn’t too far from my home so I decided to focus on this particular car. He was also selling a spare “complete” engine with the car. The coupe had an original matching number engine—somewhat rare with twin cams. George indicated that the car was owned by John W. Campbell, Jr. It was originally OEW but John painted it BRG w/yellow wheels!?! I never had any luck finding information on John Campbell—he supposedly was a photographer for Road & Track Magazine in the 60’s and early 70’s.
I tried desperately to get this car from George in its present condition as he had it—rust or not—but George insisted on getting it ready for the road before he passed it on to me. This went on for four years. In the meantime, George had medical problems; his wife was diagnosed with cancer and passed on. He finally gave up on the car and told me it was ready as is. I picked up the car and spare engine from George in September 2004.
I got the car home to my garage and didn’t do much to it for a couple of years. In that time I found out what I had gotten myself into: the car body, chassis and engine were all in very bad condition. Attempts by George to repair the body resulted in a serious mess with aluminum beer cans riveted to rusty body parts and covered with bondo.
I finally found someone to do the body so I started the project in mid-2006. I removed the body, shipped it off to the body guy, and worked on disassembling the chassis and getting it ready for powder coating. I shipped the chassis and another 100 some odd parts to the powder coater.
With this done, I moved over to the original engine (16GB/U/1677) and attempted to take it apart. This went well except for one piston which wouldn’t let go. Finally, with the help of Ken Palmer, we were able to free the piston. I had a local shop, LESCO Custom & Performance Engine Building in San Luis Obispo, CA, do the machining. Stephan Kennedy heads up a team of experienced machinists that have gained a reputation of excellence in engine building and repair.
The powder-coated chassis and parts were finished by September 2006 and I had the engine pieces back from LESCO in early February 2007. By May 2007 I had a very nice looking rolling chassis complete with the Twin-Cam engine. I parked the chassis in my garage and it sat there for three years before the body was finished.
My original body guy died in March 2008 and left me with a very sad body, rusting and cut up into many pieces. Luckily, I got the car body back from the family without any problems. I immediately started looking for a new metal/body guy and I picked Bear Metal Kustoms in Morro Bay, CA. I knew the owner Jason Pall and knew of his reputation at delivering quality work. So in June 2008 I shipped the body off to BMK. Many, many moons later, the body was ready to test fit on the chassis.
During the period when the body was being repaired, I used a chassis that I borrowed from my friend Ed Veek. The chassis was used as a jig so that the alignment of the new sheet metal parts would be correct. The photos speak for the work that was required on the body. Both A & B pillar frames were replaced. The front and rear window frames were badly rusted through and new pieces were made to exact contour and welded in place. The metal work required was extensive. I tried to find a good replacement hardtop donor, and did trade for one, but in the end after it was bead blasted, it was practically unusable as well.
The body was finished and ready for paint in August 2009. A couple of issues with the paint and application caused the body and panels to require repainting three times. The body and panels were cut and buffed prior to assembly onto the chassis.
Final assembly took place around December 2009 and I had the car complete and road ready by June 2010. It was a long road but the finished product is more than worth the effort.
Please feel free to post any comments and/or questions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We at British Sports Cars would like to thank Tom Tallone for taking the time to contribute to our blog. We always appreciate a good restoration story! If you have a restoration story of your own that you would like to share, please drop us a line and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!