Tuesday 10 November 2009

Für mich bist Du das schönste Mädchen der Welt!

Yeah! I have just booked myself a flight to Berlin at the beginning of the new year to join a few friends for a weekend adventure of art, culture and debauchery! I got even more excited when I realised that I could catch the train from Berlin to Wolfsberg for an afternoon in the Volkswagen museum (probably by myself I suspect)!

Anyways, back to the blog...

The clocks in England have now gone back and it now gets dark at about 4:30 in the afternoon! As I am working 9 till 5 (...what a way to make a living!) it only leaves only a small amount of time at the weekend to work on the car. To make the window of opportunity even smaller, the weather is now becoming permanently wet - not too good for exposing bare metal and not particularly wise to use electric power tools. My latest effort at sanding back the infinite layers of paint from the bonnet can be seen below...

Wooh, its so swirly! You know, if you stare at this image for about ten minutes the unmistakable image of the Virgin Mary riding on the back of a unicorn emerges!

Monday 2 November 2009

I tip my bonnet to you

I got my sanding discs out last weekend and started cracking on with stripping the bonnet and uncovered a myriad of sins that had been lying in wait below the old flaky layers of paint...

There was excessive filler all over the panel that was as deep as 4/5mm deep in places! To speed up the process I used a small screwdriver and hammer to gently chisel away a bulk of it before finishing off with the sander. In the photo below it looks like a microscopic canyon of some kind!

In some places the years of opening, closing and general flexing of the bonnet had caused a few ‘laughter lines’ to appear on the old girl.

I suspect that Gretch had probably suffered a front end shunt at some point in her past because, below the sediment of yet more filler, were an abundance of small dents in a horizontal band that indicated a crude attempt at panel beating!

I have a feeling that as I really get into the stripping process I am likely to discover a multitude of botched repairs. Here is the first which is located on the top right corner of the bonnet (see photo below). Once I become confident with welding and making repair patches from scratch I shall make a far neater job of this area.

Who needs chrome when the VW badge can look this good!

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Long time, no blog!

It certainly has been a while since my last update. I wish that I had more news to impart about Gretch's progress, but alas nothing much has happened.

This is partly due to having my camera stolen at a music festival a couple of months back (stupidly I had all the detailed photos of dismantling the car stored on the SD card and never download them, Ggrrr!). Without the means to accurately document I just seemed to lose my motivation.

Anyway, I am now feeling a renewed sense of inspiration and will be pressing on with the restoration without further delay. Regular progress updates to follow shortly :)

Monday 6 July 2009

X-rated nudity!

After a lengthy and intensive Sunday I had Gretch pretty much stripped of everything that could I could get my spanners on!

As you can see the spaghetti has been removed after being carefully observed and concisely labeled.

Monday 15 June 2009

A few hours of leisurely tinkering

This weekend I found the time to remove more ‘bits n’ bobs’ off my now scantily clad Beetle, which in turn revealed more holes, gashes and copious amounts of unaesthetic rot! The funniest yet most frustrating moment occurred when I pressed down on the accelerator to loosen the throttle linkage and the pedal literally went through the floor and took a dinner plate size of rusty metal with it! Doh! I reckon at some point in Gretch’s hidden past she must have been repaired with cunningly disguised cream crackers! Oh well, looks like I need to add some new floor pan halves onto my parts list.

Anyway, all of the wings have now been removed, as well as the bonnet and are ready to be stripped back to bare metal. The oil has been bled from the sump in preparation for the engine removal. Oh, and most of the wiring has now been detached (and labelled so that I know where everything is meant to during the rebuild).

My good friend Sandro helped me get all the bits back to base (aka - the spare room in my house) in the back of his Beemer. Making everything fit was quite a task and did not leave much room for me to catch a lift!

Wednesday 27 May 2009

The 1st milestone of a 10,000 mile journey

As I hoped, the weather stayed dry long enough for me to get out of the house and finish sanding the deck lid. It is a long process to sand these panels back to bare metal. I reckon I spent at least 10 hours on this one alone and this is one of the smaller panels of the car! Right, I think I have earned a beer.
Until next time :)

Stripping back the deck lid

I woke up yesterday to the greatest news - I couldn't go to work because the office had flooded due to a burst pipe or something. Sweet! Determined not to waste the glorious day I had been granted, I headed down to my local DIY shop and purchased a new bundle of sanding discs for my orbital sander and set to work stripping off forty year old paint from the deck lid. 

Here is a nasty little blemish that was lurking beneath my number plate. I shall probably have to cut this section out and weld in a small repair patch (once I learn how to weld, gulp!)

The orbital sander did a good job taking off the paint and accumulated grime, but obviously was not great at getting into tricky places. If the weather improves today I shall get out with my nimble 'detail' sander and finish the lid. (Oh yes, I have another day off work!)

Thursday 23 April 2009

More rusty warts ...big 'uns!

The biggest problem I am going to confront in this rebuild will be the rotten heater channels! They run along each side of the car, between the floor pan and the shell and are an integral aspect of the car's structural strength - i'm guessing mine currently yield the strength of wet toilet paper!

Monday 20 April 2009

How she looks now (after years of neglectful love!)

O.k, so here we have a few 'warts n' all' photo's that show the regretful condition that Gretch is currently in.

Friday 17 April 2009

Introducing 'Gretchen'

Welcome one and all to my humble blog! Within these electronic pages I shall be progressively documenting the restoration process of my rather jaded looking 1965 vw Beetle (1200). I have owned her since July 2000 and have vowed to reinstate her former glory before we reach our 15 20 year anniversary...