1959 Porsche 356A: A Phoenix Rises From A Tractor Barn


My father was an aeronautical engineer.
He built aircraft his entire life. I had an inclination toward technical work so I started my career
in a design office for car parts. My first hand-on experience
was on my 2CV which I would use to go to work
and on holidays. It would break down regularly
so I spent every weekend fixing it. Even though it was only a 2CV
it already had a cooling system. Then the Buggy arrived in France
and it triggered a new project for me: to build a Buggy from scratch. I started with a British reproduction
of a Buggy body, a big Buggy, and of course equipped with the 2CV. Then Nicholas arrived. New projects arrived with him,
always mechanical ones, but this time it was
a father and son project. When we talk about construction
it is completely different than restoration. A restoration is a long process,
with good and bad surprises, full of pitfalls, euphoric moments,
and sometimes despair. It is a long journey, often longer
and more expensive than we expect. This project was for us the
journey of a father and his son. From an early age my dad
used to give me carburetors to disassemble. I would take my little screwdriver and I would try to assemble
and disassemble them. I was introduced to mechanics
at a very young age. Then for Christmas, I got a Piwi 80. That Piwi allowed me to follow my father
wherever he would go to do repairs, so I already enjoyed mechanics
and loved all types of mechanical sports. Once I had my driver’s license
I bought a 1962 Beetle, which I went to pick up
with my dad in Touraine. I made a lot of modifications
on that car. We had a shed in the garden
that we transformed into a workshop where we could work
and stock our pieces. We set up all the tools we needed
like a drill press and a compressor. Our friends would come over
to change their oil or work on their mopeds or Vespas. This is how we came to call it
“The Modern Garage.” For an aficionado of the brand, the logical continuation of a more
ambitious project would be the A356. The idea started emerging
in the early 2000s. By chance, we followed the tracks
left by a gas leak and we ended up at this farmer’s house
from Orleans who had a tractor collection. He was a bit of a scrap dealer. When we visited his shed,
between all the tractors, three unusual shapes appeared. It was nothing less than
an SP, an S90, and an AT2 with an open roof. We started negotiating with the farmer. However, he was only willing
to sell the cars in one batch. We had very long discussions
with my dad, and I finally managed to convince him
to buy the entire batch. So we went back to the
scrap dealer’s house and negotiated until we became the happy owners
of three cars and around twenty boxes of loose parts. After 15 days of doing inventory, we realized that the boxes of the A
were complete and matched the vehicle. So we decided to sell the other two cars in order to finance the restoration of the A. For the body of the car, we decided
to put the A356 on a rotisserie in order to restore it as best as possible. For this we called our friend Jules
who is an expert. He and my father spent no less
than 800 hours working on it. For the gearbox, we called
a well-known gearbox specialist in France who made the necessary adjustments. For the color of the car body, we wanted to avoid the classical gray
from the catalog. We realized that the color chart at the time
had a color called auratium green. This is the color
we finally chose. Finally, for the leather parts
of the interior, we met Jean-Philippe Duval,
who is still today a very good friend. We spent a lot of time
with Jean-Philippe deciding which color would go best
with the auratium green. We finally opted
for a mocha color. We decided to add a few
technical modifications in order to make it more stable,
like a high flow pump, a full flow, B brakes,
and convert it to 12 volts. We also added
a bigger exhaust pipe. We really wanted a car that would fit us,
one that we could personalize, so we also added aluminum plugs
that my dad crafted. Today we have a car
that really shows who we are. I’ll always remember the first
time we took it on the road. As you can imagine after seven years
of restoration with my father, the first time we put the key in
and took the car outside the garage, we were like kids. We drove in circles around
the neighborhood the entire day. Those moments will stay
with me forever. My name is Nicholas de Meerler
and I drive a 1959 Porsche A356 AT2.

100 comments on “1959 Porsche 356A: A Phoenix Rises From A Tractor Barn”

  1. Marcel Geber says:

    JUST EPIC <3

  2. Le Pic Vert says:

    Superbe

  3. Herwig V says:

    Utter beauty – style and content. Bravo

  4. Bruce Schneider says:

    Another wonderful story, well told and beautifully filmed. I miss working on projects with my dad, but have great memories of doing so.

    How nice that Magnus Walker signed the glove box!

  5. Andrew Higgins says:

    Thats quite possibly the most beautiful car I've seen on Petrolicious. A superb restoration, of great taste and style. Tres bien!

  6. Dustin Wilson says:

    Beautiful, beautiful film. Probably wasn't too hard with that setting and those subject. Those guys ooze style.

  7. Harrell Eason says:

    Really love the videos, but wish more of them were in english. I spend more time trying to catch up on the subtitles than getting to actually watch the beautiful cinematography

  8. David Dickmeyer says:

    It would be nice to have subtitles….

  9. siempre bmw says:

    Be nice to see something on the bmw e24 m6 ……….porsche porsche is getting me sleeping and boring

  10. Kevin Sullivan says:

    Great job Petrolicious. The story is just as well executed as the restoration. Nicholas, you and your Father have done a wonderful job, I love the color choices (outside as well as inside.) It's a beautiful car, well done, thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  11. Danny Zuehlsdorf says:

    Ironic these French fellas would choose a German car.

  12. David Steinhour says:

    Over and over again, you guys really prove yourselves as the best YouTube channel. Bar none.

  13. Gregory Pease says:

    Beautiful film of a beautiful story. I think I could watch this daily for the inspiration it offers. Merci!

  14. sparky191 says:

    So French, So Cool, just the perfect car story.

  15. Tim Brophy says:

    sorry but what kind of a monster do you have to be to down vote this vid?? geez 30 people on here need to take a long hard look in the mirror…

  16. Scott Hammer says:

    Loving the color combo.. perfect

  17. GLR says:

    stunning car and good color choises

  18. pervertt says:

    I don't speak a word of French but thoroughly enjoyed this story. Many of us here value authenticity, and I think it adds to the authenticity of the story when enthusiastic owners speak directly to us in the tongue they are most familiar with. Keep these stories coming, and please ignore the troglodytes who think only English is spoken on the internet.

  19. Oliver Dexx says:

    L'autographe de Magnus Walker sur la boîte à gants …. le top!

  20. biocybernaut says:

    Pas trop mal la bagnole…

  21. panerai123 says:

    Wow! So elegant and beautiful.

  22. laCastaBIS says:

    Ludmilacojocaru on Instagram nice

  23. Jarvis Faumuina says:

    I respect the conscious effort made in not using subtitles.

  24. ruede valence says:

    Follow a leaking oil trail to an old farmers tractor shed which has 3 of these waiting for a new owner. Truly the stuff of dreams.

  25. Wave Dancer says:

    Congratulation! Best Porsche ever built!

  26. Technology Reboot says:

    An amazing story from amazing storytellers

  27. Tenet says:

    Good lord that is beautiful.

  28. The BM says:

    Great video, beautiful video – as always! Please also see my channel in case you are interested in my Viper and me living in Miami! 🙂

  29. Mr. Cairo says:

    Are subtitles taboo?

  30. Stepan Handzha says:

    Sorry, but instant dislike for subtitles. Why not to translate?

  31. François Pallud says:

    Bravo,superbe

  32. MichaelLevi says:

    Beautiful.

  33. 57northphoto says:

    Another stunning film. Thank you.

  34. Paul Z says:

    This is so much more satisfying watching than some rich a§§hole (read rich Americans) mouthing off about a car he bought……….

  35. The President says:

    What did he say?

  36. Michael Schäfer says:

    Now I have to watch the video of Matt Hummels Porsche again …

  37. Andrea Colombo says:

    ❤️

  38. z33 taxi says:

    What is on the drivers side of the luggage rack? A spotlight? A motoring badge?

  39. Mo-hammad Abunaser says:

    C'est belle! Congratulations!

  40. Lúcio Tavares says:

    Fantastic history! Congratulations!

  41. Oscar Caruso says:

    The love for automobiles knows no language or age! Phenomenal story!

  42. Moskai says:

    Stop making these types of videos because they make me emotional!

  43. Mike Honcho says:

    man the color of this car is beautiful

  44. Dethmeister says:

    They followed a gas trail?

  45. Huub Kameel Beemster says:

    Signed by Magnus Walker himself:)

  46. john marsh says:

    The son also rides a Triumph Tiger Cub ….. nice.

  47. Blaise Ortiz says:

    Another great film, thank you guys!

  48. kouglof says:

    My dad left me a Lada Niva… gasp…

  49. ScuderiaDiMarcello says:

    What a car, just beautiful, great video.

  50. Goutal Sébastien says:

    Superbe documentaire!

  51. m Ñ says:

    Congratulations the best vídeo ever of petrolicious

  52. Anthony Conerly says:

    Masterpieces are always created together.

  53. Razif ismail says:

    Another wonderful story..

  54. Juan Vargas says:

    You don't need to understand French to realize how awesome this video is. Cheers

  55. nezerpgs says:

    Petrolicious highlights the best of car guys. Great video.

  56. frenchmax100 says:

    Hey Petrolicious, at 0:54 he's not saying "and of course equipped with the 2CV" but "and of course equipped with the VW engine". He acutally says "VV" which is short in french for "VW".

  57. Silver surfer says:

    The French know nothing about cars..stick to eating frogs and snails.

  58. mirror talk says:

    So beautiful, I wish it was longer.

  59. Claude V. says:

    Une très belle histoire père-fils. Bravo à tous les deux!

  60. whiteribbonman1 says:

    Thumbs-Up #2.5K-plus I am, Thursday evening 21 June 2018. Some cars are timeless in all aspects. Priceless too. Surpassed by none. You and your father are a credit to France. You bring glory to the explanation “we are French”. Your Porsche is wonderful!

  61. Cmd Delete says:

    Collaborateurs.

  62. unsub says:

    Because scarfs

  63. sfpbenok13 says:

    Subtitles at all or am I missing something?

  64. St Y says:

    Dig those hand drawn parts drawings!

  65. Elliott Malone says:

    Porschelicious

  66. Mother says:

    …now that’s some great youtube! Sub’d.

    P O R S C H E

  67. Vladimir Marley says:

    I don’t understand what they are saying but this 356 is a beaut !!! That engine sounds my old 914 with dual 44 carbs …even if it was a VW Porsche …my Porsche boxter S is so much fun I can see why this 2 are bonding through this car …greetings from California

  68. Robert Van Straaten says:

    I do not understand French but need not too.. What a beautiful story and video

  69. Antiriad Armour says:

    Amazing respect for each other!

  70. Andrew B. says:

    Legendary…

  71. Miles Davenport says:

    Excellent in every way. The attention to detail is great. I love the detailing on the interior and seats.

  72. Mr. Blutarsky says:

    The 356 is one of my dream cars. So graceful, it looks competent and purposeful standing still. On the road it looks like art. I could have had a good 356A in the mid-90s for ten grand, passed it up. C'est une magnifique voiture.

  73. George Bugenis says:

    A superb story about the relationship between father and son as much as for their love of a classic automobile. Petrolicious rocks!

  74. Jonathan B says:

    Splendid.

  75. Felipe The Gentleman Driver says:

    Awesome

  76. LIEUTENANT BULLITT says:

    Très belle histoire et très belle voiture !

  77. Body-kitted 316-shed says:

    A beautiful car and story.

  78. John Greenwood says:

    It doesn’t get much nicer. Fantastic result.

  79. R Mac says:

    I don't speak French, but what a Well Done Video & Beautiful 356!!

  80. Alan Ladd seine Katze says:

    Speechless

  81. Michael Woodsdale says:

    I never cared for this color…and now that's over. What a color combination with interior and exterior…beautiful

  82. vfifty says:

    très bien

  83. Mystic stickman says:

    Where the mofo subtitles?

  84. Al woo says:

    A thing of beauty, fantastic work guys!

  85. Christian Ketels says:

    Why are there x’s on the headlights

  86. Bernd Wonde says:

    That is what old cars are talking about yesterday – beautiful vid and a sentimental story about father and son

  87. Racer 67 says:

    Some scarf wearin mthrfkrs!

  88. Marc René Yvon says:

    Beautiful story. Nice film as always. One thing though, it was not a trail of gas that brought them to the farmer.
    They were hunting for a Gas PUMP !! Bad translation here !!

  89. Rene Monje Jaime says:

    What Triumph is that?

  90. diamondog99 says:

    beautiful story a few more shots of the car would have been nice…

  91. Richard Bell says:

    Très Bon …….

  92. Devin du Plessis says:

    Le 😯

  93. stuzaza says:

    A lovely story very well presented.

  94. mntnrder says:

    I don’t speak French

  95. Chris Chiampo says:

    Need To Freshen Up On My French Jean Phillip 😀😊👍🏼

  96. The Absurd says:

    Such a beautiful car…

  97. TheStevemcqueen68 says:

    what a great time sharing it with your Father,

  98. mak hines says:

    nothing is more rewarding than having a good relationship with your father and sharing the same passion..

  99. JB91710 says:

    When you have a father who won't give you the time of day while growing up, no neighbors, friends or relatives to offer guidance and no auto mechanical training and yet you want an exotic car, you have to Do It Yourself! As in, Build it yourself, from scratch using a 1:18 scale diecast model as your guide. This is the result of fighting your Programming, hard work and determination.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ClC7bde7ls
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2UpM5r5j2A
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBsSs8bPrO8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oCUVlGvUrQ

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