SO FINE FIFTY-NINE
From Georgetown, Texas, Bob Freeman bought this already semi-restored Single Cab in 2013, but had to resurrect it again, due to an engine fire!
Residing in a few southern California cities for many years, 72-year-young Bob Freeman moved from his last home in Palm Springs, to Georgetown, Texas, in 2007. But thinking back to his early years, Bob thanks his step-dad, Joe Eddleman, for introducing him to Volkswagens and Porsches. It was in 1955, while the family was at the Los Angeles County Auto Show, when Joe bought their first new Bug there, mainly because there were not yet any VW dealerships in SoCal. A year later, while stationed in Japan, Joe bought a ’56 Porsche coupe, and brought it home. Living in Panorama City, Bob bought his first Volkswagen, a brand new ’63 from the dealership in Van Nuys. Since then, Bob married Faye in 1967, and they have owned 12 Porsches and 18 Volkswagens, and sold-off quite a few too. In 2013, however, Bob had purchased an already redone 1959 Single Cab pickup truck, the same one that is featured here. Jeff’s Restorations (Taylor, TX) handled repairs, bodywork, and Sealing Wax Red Axalta two-stage paint.
Bob was happy to drive his “new truck” back home, but he also had plans to get rid of the chrome wheels, raise it back up to stock ride height, and fix the sloppy steering box. Shortly after taking possession of this pickup, as Bob was in the cab with its engine idling, Faye saw smoke rushing out from the under the engine, and yelled, “Bob, you’re on fire!” They hurriedly pushed the ’59 out of the garage, Bob quickly ran to the garden hose, turned on the water, and doused the flames. Come to find out, the carbs were the culprits that leaked all over the engine, onto the exhaust manifolds, requiring everything (mechanical, electrical, etc.) from the cab back to be restored again! And much body and paint were also in need of redo, but to do it right, Bob had the body guys (Jeff’s Resurrections) prep the entire exterior, so the Sealing Wax Red paint would match all around. Luckily, the upholstery and cab interior metal were not damaged from the fire.
To take care of the mechanical/electrical redo, Bob called on Christian Brothers Automotive, in Georgetown, where they built a whole new powerplant, raised the truck up to stock via adjustable front beam/rear spring plates, and replaced the crispy wire harness with a new one. The 2275cc sports an 8-doweled Scat 82mm crank, Scat 4240 forged I-beam rods (ARP bolts), Mahle 94mm pistons, Engle 125 cam (.460” lift, 301° duration), aluminum cam gear, Scat lightweight lifters, heavy duty oil pump, and 043 dual-port heads (with 35.5 x 32mm valves, solid shafts w/1.25 rockers, 54cc chambers, 8.0:1 compression, set up for long spark plugs). Pertronix ignition provides spark for Bosch W7CC plugs, while a pair of Weber 44 IDF carbs handle the fuel intake, and a stainless exhaust system lets burnt gases out quickly. A 12.5-lb flywheel runs a 2,100-lb Kennedy clutch that transfers power (90 HP with 124 ft.-lbs. torque) to the 3.88 ring/pinion trans running 3.80, 2.06, 1.32, and 0.89 gears. Christian Brothers also had another steering box rebuilt, installed it, and needed to replace the Barndoor steering wheel with the right Barndoor model with the correct number of splines.
Before the engine could be installed, the truck made a trip to Taylor, Texas for a stay at Jeff’s Ressurections. Jeff and crew got the engine compartment cleaned and ready for paint, then handled all the body’s exterior bodywork. Once it was all smooth and prepped for paint, Jeff followed suit by spraying the compartment, then he addressed the body, using a two-stage system for the Axalta base coats/clear coats. After ample drying time, the body was color-sanded and buffed to reflective smoothness.
It was all good now, and needed a revisit to Christian Brothers Automotive, for the project to be completed. In went a new wire harness, followed by the fresh mill and plumbing/wiring. Bob found a set of 15-inch steel wheels, what he calls “crow’s feet”, then had them and both bumpers painted off-white. After that, a trip to the tire store netted four American Classic radials, size 165-15s, with thin whitewalls which were an era option for this 1959 Single Cab. Toadd a unique look to the pickup’s bed, Bob showed off his woodworking talent by making his own bed slat platform, utilizing hard maple and black walnut wood (held together with 60 carriage bolts), all finished with four coats of Spar Varnish, and locked in place (all gates closed) with rubber grommets — no bolts into the bed whatsoever!
Ever since Bob’s pickup’s resurrection was done, he and his wife Faye have been enjoying it around town, and also taking it to VW car shows. In 2014, they entered the San Antonio Show (dubbed the “Spill Out”), and nabbed first in class. Last year was busier as the Freemans attended three shows with their “So Fine Fifty-Nine.” They got a class win at the Red Poppy Show, received another first, and Best of Show, at the Sun City Show, then at last September’s Spill Out VW Show, they were honored with Best Vintage Type 2! Way to go Bob & Faye — after all these years, still with a lot of VW enthusiasm!