If the smiles on Wayne and Ellen Oberbroeckling’s faces seem a little broader these days, or if there’s a somewhat tired glint in their eyes, just grin right back at ’em and offer a quick “Congratulations!”
The Oberbroecklings are practically on their second honeymoon.
Or at least they should be after completing a lengthy restoration of a replica to the car they drove as bride and groom on their wedding day back in June of 1965.
“This was (just like) our car when we got married,” recalls Ellen. “We were living in Manchester and we had a 1961 Impala.”
There are two cars most people never forget: their first car and the car they sped away in on their wedding night. Wayne is no exception to that very common memory and longing.
“I had a four-door hardtop, and I told my son-in-law I always wanted to have a two-door hardtop,” Wayne explains.
The couple’s son-in-law searched the state, eventually found this ’61 Impala in Remsen and presented it to Wayne between Christmas and New Year in 2009. But to say it was a diamond in the rough understates the condition it was in.
Undeterred, the couple began a total, frame-off restoration.
“What’s fun about this is pretty much everything was done locally; the body work, the seats were all redone by local friends and craftsmen,” he says.
But to get the project done required a cross-country search for parts.
“We got it ‘One Piece at a Time,’ just like that song says,” Ellen explains.
Replacement parts came from multiple states, including Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Florida, Wisconsin and perhaps a few states the couple forgot.
The original engine was replaced with a .283 engine that came out of a 1965 Chevy pickup. Wayne is proud to pop the hood and show off the Chevy ornament on top of the engine, which sparkles as if it’s been shined for days on end.
“Our goal was to have it done by the 4th of July,” Ellen says, proudly adding that they did indeed drive it in this summer’s parade. They’ve also had it out for Thursdays on Main and enjoy taking it out for leisurely drives, just as second honeymooners should.