“We got to pick out our hides,” Nguyen recalls. “I had Jonathan Connolly pick out the best hides and pack them up. He made a total of twenty, and he gave us six of the best.”
Purchasing the leather was only half the battle. Nguyen wasn’t prepared to wait as long as two weeks for his goods to clear customs, so he sent his trusty right-hand man, Paul Sweet, to London to take delivery of the hides in person. Suffice it to say the large leather order didn’t qualify as a carry-on item for the return flight.
Sourcing proper carpets proved to be easier, with restorer Mike Regalia able to provide just enough original-stock gray carpeting to properly re-trim s/n 3337. “Mike has helped me a lot,” says Nguyen, who also credits Charles Betz, Allen Bishop, and the aforementioned Ron Hein as sources of obscure marque knowledge. “I guess you could say he mentored me years ago. To this day, he still helps me with what is correct, what isn’t correct, teaching me little things here and there.”
RNR once again met its deadline. The freshened Ferrari debuted at the Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance in Los Angeles in early May, taking Best of Show, and won the prestigious FIVA award at the Rodeo Drive Concours a month later. Then, at Monterey Car Week in August, the SWB won The Great Ferraris class at The Quail [“Showtime!” FORZA #146] and claimed another Platinum Award and the Best Road Car trophy at the FCA’s International Meet, where it scored a perfect 100 points. These trophies now sit in Nguyen’s office.
“He’s the one that really deserves them,” says Cohen. “Rex’s wealth of knowledge of Ferraris is just super impressive. And he’s such a young guy, that’s the amazing part.”
While s/n 3337 marked Nguyen’s first restoration as his own boss, it certainly wasn’t the last—his phones have been ringing off the hook since the SWB started making the show-circuit rounds. With a staff of just six, including a dedicated in-house engine man and an upholstery trimmer, RNR barely employs enough people to meet the volume of jobs, which has compelled Nguyen to spend more than his share of nights sleeping in a loft perched over the shop.
Cohen recalls sometimes receiving text messages and emails about s/n 3337 at 4 a.m. “It’s 24/7 for Rex,” he says. “It’s not work for him, it’s truly his passion. He’s the hardest working guy I’ve ever met.”