The path Hoffmann chose was Rudy Rodriguez, one of the most highly regarded and respected craftsmen working in the traditional hot rod and custom car idiom today. Hoffmann has known Rodriguez since he was a youngster and an 18-year-old phenom of a Porsche engine mechanic, building engines for Hoffmann's dad, an old-world educated engineer and former Porsche factory race car driver. Hoffmann was the facilitator of the coupe's resurrection. As he describes his part, he found the coupe, bought it, turned it over to Rodriguez, and got out of the way. "Rudy made the decisions," Hoffmann says.
And good decisions they were. The original chassis was no longer. With thoughtful input from no less an alumnus than Bob Joehnck, and help from Erik Hansson, Rodriguez created a new, evolved chassis, an amalgam of its former iterations that would have handled all the drivetrain and performance upgrades of the past, but now accommodated the original Mercury Flathead. The powerplant is not a recreation; it is the actual race motor that garnered all that glory years ago, found in the hands of a local high school shop teacher who willingly parted with it for a very fair price, knowing it was going back where it belonged.
The original quick-change rearend wound up under Alex Xydias' SoCal coupe decades ago, replaced now with a period-correct unit from Hot Rod Works. Jack Quinton had hung onto the original seat, however, which he donated to the project. The two top chops, done after the car's Flathead days, were typical of hot rod race car work of the time, a bit rough and exhibiting more enthusiasm than care. Rodriguez cut the top off and started fresh, giving it a just-right attitude and perfect symmetry. He created new inner doorskins in place of the originals that had been cut out many years ago, and healed all the other wounds that had been visited on the old warrior's sheetmetal.
Working with Tom Leonardo Jr., Rodriguez metal-finished the body to a quality level rarely seen, even on restored race cars. Over the years, the coupe had worn several different colors, including red and gold, but the intense blue that it sported for a short time early in its career was considered the most pleasing rendition. Expertly recreated by custom painter Barefoot Gary, it works extremely well with the light gray accent color on the suspension and inside the cabin.
While the resulting Quinton-Joehnck Deuce coupe might not fit the strictest interpretation of a point-for-point restoration of a specific configuration in the car's racing life, it honors its overall history very well. Rodriguez has skillfully evoked the spirit of the car over the years, adding a look at how it might have further evolved after the point at which it was retired 40-plus years ago.
Since its completion, the Quinton-Joehnck coupe has moved onto yet another owner and a collection of quality hot rods and special-interest cars. Its racing days past, it no longer languishes under a dusty tarp, forgotten by all but a handful of old timers and a few knowledgeable younger enthusiasts like Paul Hoffmann who drug it back into the sunlight for all of us to enjoy.