Starting on the Chassis (Beetle Pt-3)

After about six weeks of owning the Super Beetle, I'm finally coming to terms with the totality of this project. And, I will get back into editing novels soon.

Category: vw-beetle

label_outline tag Beetle

It has been a little over a month since my last update. Over this month, I’ve emotionally been all over the map. One day I’m excited about the challenge. The next few days I’m humbled and overwhelmed. Largely, I fret about the amount of money it may take, that the cost and effort may not ultimately be worth it. Then there are days like today where everything is balanced.

I’ve taken to think of the car as Steve, as in Steve Austin of the Six-Million Dollar Man. That’s because so much of this car won’t be original. I have also started thinking of the restoration more along the lines of building a full-scale model.

One of the emotionally balancing aids has been the The Volkswagon Super Beetle Handbook by VWTrends. It was an extravagant purchase considering the wealth of information online—including the contents of the book. Looking through it has helped me realize the little things the car needs.

When I was first asked what my objective for the car was, I said, “give it another 43 years on the road.” That means tearing it down and repairing all the worn components; notably the bushings. The Handbook talks a lot about those steps. In its own way, the book helps me see that what I want to accomplish is manageable.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve separated the body from the chassis, stripped out the old, very rotten floor pans, assessed other damage on the chassis, etc. Basically, June and probably July are chassis months.

The Napoleon Hat and part of the lower frame head need to be replaced. This is good because my plan to upgrade to front disc brakes means I would half to beef up the master cylinder and it has a stripped bolt. This will be the first area where I actually weld. But, the long story short is that I am still in tear-down mode.

Taking out the floor pans exposed a damage brake line. I ran into a few videos on Youtube that gave me ideas for what to do on the chassis. Some things, as easy as moving the brake reservoir from the trunk to on top of the master cylinder.

In my last entry, I said I was going to stay with the stock transmission. I’ve decided to upgrade it to something capable of managing modern highway speeds. I am also reconsidering working on the engine. That’s partly out of my fear of the time involved, and partly because it’s a long road ahead and the engine may well be the last bit.

Welding? I’ve never done it before. The welder I have should be adequate for my needs, based on its rated thickness and the thickness of the metal. I’ve been practicing, but welding is not something I’ve done before. It’s a chance to explore and find the limits of my incompetence.

So what’s my timeline? In a perfect world, I can get the chassis done by 1 August and the body done by November. Then if I rebuild the engine, that would be winter. Or, if I buy the engine, I would be on the road just before the snow.

What about the novels? At some point over the next month I will be resuming editing Luctation. I would like to have it published by October.

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Photo Credit: Aftermarket air conditioner in the windshield. (Ben Wilson CC BY 4.0.)