When the Audrain Automobile Museum’s 1956 Speedster arrived in our workshop back in August, we were amazed at how completely unmolested it was, and we obsessed over all the tiny details and original materials that are typically lost over time. Our goal was to return it to optimal running and driving condition without detracting from its originality.
We spent a fair bit of time doing an in depth evaluation to determine what needed to be addressed and the best possible course of action. We found that the aluminum brake reservoir had corroded through, so we sourced a correct replacement before rebuilding the master cylinder and wheel cylinders, and replaced all the grease seals on the front and rear axle seals in the process.
The fuel tank was heavily corroded and refurbishing was not a viable option, so a correct fuel tank was sourced along with the fuel petcock and cap. The fuel lines were then flushed, and the fuel pump and carburetors were rebuilt.
A compression and leak down test showed the engine was in good health, so only new ignition points, spark plugs and condenser were installed. The engine fired right up after replacing the battery and was running strong once again after the carburetors were tuned. The rear main seal was leaking, so that was replaced and the transmission drained/filled with fresh fluid and the aged transmission mounts were replaced with period-correct OEM replacements.
Since the Speedster still retained its original wheels, hubcaps and tires in pristine condition, we sourced a correct set of wheels and tires so the Speedster could be driven without the concern of damaging the originals.
We are fortunate to be a part of such a great project and to have been entrusted with an important historic artifact for future generations.
Nick Begovich was an aerospace engineer and car collector from Fullerton, California. His appreciation for superior engineering and design influenced the cars he chose to acquire, and over the course of his life led to him amassing a truly significant collection of automobiles. In late February of 2020, he donated the entire collection to the Cal State Fullerton to support the Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center with the instruction that the cars not be separated when sold.
The Audrain Automobile Museum recently acquired the collection, and will be sharing the cars and their stories through a series of videos and an exhibition named Engineering + Design = Passion: The Nick Begovich Collection opening November 20, 2021 and on display through February 13, 2022.
One of the cars in the Begovich Collection is this incredible time-capsule 1956 Pre-A Speedster with just over 10,000 miles on the odometer. The Audrain Museum is committed to ensuring that each one of the vehicles in their custody is in running and driving condition, and commissioned us to return the Speedster to road-worthy condition while ensuring its originality was preserved.