Wednesday 29 January 2014

Cracking on with the shell

I have been hard at work over the past month stripping old paint and rust of the shell.

I started out (...and not yet finished) with the engine bay which has a lot of fiddly hard to access areas. I stripped what I could using an angle grinder mounted wire brush, then worked the tighter areas with a drill mounted wire brush then got right into the hardest of places using a rotary tool (I use a Draper one now as the Dremmel turned out to be as crap as their subsequent customer service!). 

Whilst working on the rear valance I uncovered an alarming amount of filler running down the left hand side. When I had taken everything back I could see that the area had buckled inwards, which in turn had caused some damage and creasing to some of the inner plates:

Based on the accounts of the original owners this would be consistent with a minor accident back in the 80's when a Mini slid into the back of the car due to icy road conditions. It is bizarre, but knowing the history of these damaged areas stops me from feel frustrated about the state of them!   

Anyway, following my valiant attempt of the engine bay (still in progress!) I moved onto drivers side rear window and again the little rotary tool wire brush was perfect for getting into those tight corners and underneath the drip rail:

And with a fresh coat of primer added: 

As I was on a roll I then bare metaled and primed a chunk of roof section: 

Not sure how to tackle the rear vent area yet, hence why I masked the area off and sprayed around it. 

More progress updates real soon...

Thursday 16 January 2014

Gretchen, aged 5

Happy New Year! I thought it would be great to start 2014 with a bit of a treat that I have been holding back for a special occasion ....a glimpse of Gretchen as she looked back in 1970!

Although I cannot disclose too many details for confidentiality reasons (hence the crop), I can tell you all that I managed to make contact with one of the original owners of the car at the tail end of last year. We talked at length about his many years of ownership and we swapped a few stories about her past adventures. Later that same month he forwarded a lovely letter from his daughter (who also owned the car for a while), which included a family group photo with Gretchen (yes - it has now been officially confirmed that this was always her name!) peeking through in the background. I am so grateful to them for sending this photo and for taking the time to inform me about the cars history. It completely blew my mind! The picture provides me with so much motivation every time I look at it. 

Oh, and I just love those vintage VW logo mudflaps - another item for my wishlist.