Wednesday 16 May 2018

Desert seasoned German steel

Quite an exciting post this one; at least for a self-confessed panel pervert like me! I have just taken delivery of some wonderfully preserved original German steel cut from an old Bug that had been languishing in the sunshine of the dry Mojave desert, USA! 

Here is the donor; a '66 still sporting its original factory Jade Green paintwork:

Got to love dry state cars; no rot anywhere to be seen, just the expected patches of light surface rust and sun bleached patina. My box of goodies:

Delighted to have got my mitts on both rear body mounts: 

and some of the hard-to-find recessed wing mounting nuts: 

Arranging and sorting out the logistics of the sale was an interesting mission in itself. In fact, I had previously tried and failed to acquire similar donor cuts from another seller a year ago, but communication proved to be an issue and it never came to fruition. However, knowing that the utterly abysmal Klokkershite panels were the only repro option on the market, I thought it was worth giving it another shot. Honestly, I could not stand the thought of attempting to weld this inaccurate wrinkly-bin-bag crap into my car:

The photos fail to convey just how disappointing this panel is. Nothing is where it should be, the body mounts are not double layered and have been spot welded at the wrong angle. On the reverse the finish is rough and there is no return flange:

So, I made contact with a small VW breakers (literally a one man operation) through the classifieds section of the Samba forums. We exchanged a few emails and after some pleasant negotiation I arranged for the sections to be cut out and shipped over to the UK for a very fair price. At the same time I was busy making phone calls to HMRC and thoroughly researching how much the import VAT, duty and handling fees were likely to amount to once the parcel had bee processed by border force. Pleased that my estimate was actually within £3 of the final cost and there were no alarming charges that I hadn't accounted for. 

I set about the panel preparation with much enthusiasm. Opted to start with the drivers side panel, as this was the side currently accessible on my car in the garage. The donor section needed a few hours of work to straighten it up and to weld up the odd gash and hole where the spot welds had been separated. I'll let the pics do the talking:

I will put it through the blast cabinet once it is trimmed down to its final size which will take care of the surface rust around the return flange and bowl section. 

Now to decide the best course of action with regards to cutting out the old section and grafting in this fresh steel. Internalised brooding, pondering and deliberation now in progress...


  1. Great find! It's awesome that you don't have to use the repro. Sounds like it is junk.

    1. I am ecstatic, but trying not to be too smug about it ;-) I suppose it is a good thing that a repro item exists, but I will never understand why the quality has to be so woefully poor!

  2. Excellent! No better feeling than finding good, solid sheet metal.

    1. Yep, you said it! For a amateur car restorer there is nothing better!