Wednesday 24 February 2010

"Now you know, and knowing is half the battle" – GI Joe

Some big steps are looming over me and this has induced the stark realisation that up until now I have been idly ‘tickling’ the car without any clear idea or structure on how to transform the rusty old girl into a gleaming low-rider. If I am honest, I guess I have been ignoring the scary stuff! But no more I tell thee! I am determined to steer this project into a more focused direction, so with a ravenous lust for knowledge I have been immersing myself in books, magazines and instructional videos. An unhealthy amount of spare time has been spent scouring the internet to learn from the experiences of other car restorers. I have also been progressively equipping myself with the proper tools and together with a confident state of mind I have developed a plan of action for separating the body from the chassis over coming the coming weeks.

I will be using Rick Higgin’s technique to accomplish this daunting feat, which I have learned by religiously watching and re-watching the ‘Bug Me, Vol 6’ video. Truly essential viewing for simplifying the intimidating processes involved in restoring a Bug. I got this and ‘Bug Me, Vol 7’ off eBay for the combined bargain price of £7! Good old low cost / low quality VHS!

Step 1: Disconnect the myriad of parts that run between the shell and chassis. Locate and remove all the relevant bolts (for any that will not budge I will liberally apply WD40 and leave it to penetrate for a few days). Take exact measurements of my garage to determine the dimensions that I need to build the saw horses on which the body of the car will be sitting on whilst I focus on restoring the chassis.

Step 2: Purchase wood and brackets for making some sturdy saw horses. Cut to all pieces to the required size and partially assemble.

Step 3: Finish assembly of saw horses after transporting them ‘flat packed’ to the garage. Beg, borrow or steal a large floor jack that will provide enough elevation to get the car onto the saw horses. Enlist the help of a friend to !GULP! assist me in splitting the car in half!

Step 4: Strip chassis down and transport back to my house to begin repairing.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

A few gems from afar

I got back from Berlin a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately I never did make it to Wolfsburg for my planned day trip to the Autostadt (aka the Volkswagen factory museum). Oh well, another time. It turns out that Germany is rather a large place and what I thought would be a short inexpensive journey was in reality an expensive lengthy one (the train ticket alone cost more than the return flight from Bristol to Berlin!). However, I did get to see a beautiful example of an early Beetle in the German history museum which helped sooth my disappointment of not going to the Autostadt!

As you can see from the pictures above it is a split rear screen model, from 1951 I believe, but there is one inharmonious feature that really bugged me (no pun intended)… The rear light clusters are from a 1962 > model! My friends were quick to point out that I needed to “get out more” and it would probably be healthy to calm down and “let it go”. Whilst I agreed to an extent with their dismissive opinion I still felt that a museum, especially one dedicated to German history, should have made the effort to ensure that the car was historically accurate! I mean, how could I possible trust the integrity of the other exhibits knowing that this particular example of iconic German design was in fact an amalgamation of inconsistent parts?!  Even so, it was still beautiful to behold. Here are a couple of commemorative coins that were produced to celebrate the 5 millionth and 10 millionth Beetles to roll of the production line:

Back in Blighty very little progress has been made on the bug lately. Occasionally I seize the opportunity to run outside with my power tools when the weather permits and it’s not dark! This general lack of activity means that I have nothing of interest to report.