View original topic: Nevada '56 build
Calvatron Sat May 03, 2014 6:37 pm

Hello all! I'm starting this thread to document the restoration of this '56 Oval. As I've been somewhat lazy on taking pictures of some of the restorations that I've taken part in, I'm hoping to break the habit. I hope you guys enjoy viewing the pictorial evidence of my labors! So here's the scoop:

This oval is not technically "mine." It belongs to my uncle who has been pretty preoccupied with his '64 kombi resto. He's had this oval for a few years and has been amassing parts, but hasn't really had the time to turn any bolts. It's been getting crispier and crispier throughout the past few years, and since I've been craving a VW project lately, I offered to start work on the project. We've got a ton of parts, but it's just a matter of doing the work involved. The weather has been nice lately here in Northern NV so I figured it'd be a perfect time to start! Here are some pictures of the car as it sat before any work:

As you guys can see, the car is pretty much bare. It has a hood but that's about it. It's got some sweet bondo action on the passenger side and the front, the roof is clean, the drivers side is pretty decent, and someone thought it would be totally eighties-licious to weld the holes shut on the rear clip for the exhaust. I'm going to try and save the rear clip and see if I can just grind out where they've welded on it, but if all else fails I've got a correct clip. We've got a pan for the correct year, fenders, glass, doors, a W decklid, pretty much all the body panels. My hope is to do a bone stock resto on this car. There's barely any paint left hanging on, but after doing some sanding (Pics to follow) I was able to find a bit of O.G. paint inside where the door hinges are. It's either Agave Green or Pistachio Green. Anyways, I hope you guys dig it, and I'll try to update this whenever I do anything picture worthy between work and college!

rlmartinez Sat May 03, 2014 8:37 pm

Looking forward to updates. Good luck with your project

Derosse Sat May 03, 2014 10:54 pm

very nice project! love it! is it a canadian custom, i don't see the semaphore cases?

Rome Sun May 04, 2014 6:01 pm

I wish you endless enthusiasm, motivation and persistence! It'll be an incredible effort to make a running, drivable Beetle from just this shell. You are very lucky that there seems to be no rust/rot on it.

Calvatron Mon May 26, 2014 8:38 pm

Thanks for the encouraging words you guys! Canadian Custom? I don't think 56's are supposed to have semaphores?

vintagevolks55 Mon May 26, 2014 10:59 pm

semaphores lasted til 60 on euro models

Calvatron Mon Mar 22, 2021 3:55 pm

So seven years later, I now own the car, am not a starving college kid, and have a home and garage of my own. I went over to the dark side for awhile and fixed up an older Ford pickup along with a million other reasons to be distracted and so it has sat unloved since this posting but as of a few weeks ago I am back on it! I am renewing this thread in hopes of staying motivated and having a record of my progress! Some updates on the recent work done:

As pictured below, the floor pan had like five coats of paint on it. On the very bottom coat, I could just barely a stamping that said, "RICKSHAW AUTOMOTIVE." Last year I started stripping it down to bare metal at my uncle's house and got it all painted up. I have had really good luck with gloss black Rustoleum Protective Enamel mixed 50/50 with acetone for things to be chip resistant and looking good. Whoever had this pan before did an alright job of replacing the pans, and the only welding I had to do was where some of the seams were separating and to plug up one drilled hole where it looked like whoever had it before was running two batteries.

After that, I lovingly left it out uncovered in his back yard for the winter and proceeded to move into my first house where it now lives. I have it up on some sawhorse stands in my garage. The paint still looks great, so hopefully it lasts me! I'll post up some more updates once I get the front suspension more put back together but as of this last week I got everything apart, kingpin bushings in and reamed, and some of the parts painted up.

VW_Jimbo Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:20 pm

It is always good to see progress! Keep it going!

Patmus Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:43 pm

Looking good Calvatron ( If that is your real name). I sure hope you finish this project and make your sad, sorry uncle regret the day he chumped out and sold you this oval. I think you are off to a good start and I hope to see solid progress in the times ahead. Stay with it and ask for help when you need it. These old cars are becoming scarce and need our help to stay with us. Good luck!

Calvatron Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:30 pm

Well, tried to put my kingpins in today and I couldnít get my spindles to fit into the carriers. Iím pretty sure that I have the wrong bushing. I bought the JBUGS kit that claimed to work through my year, but alas, itís not seeming to be the case. All of the Youtube videos I see show guys using a nylon bushing under the little dust cap but the ones that came in my kit are these little wood fiber looking dealios. Pictured below along with a picture of my assembly not fitting due to their excessive thickness. Anyone able to confirm my suspicions?

VW_Jimbo Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:00 pm

You got it. Too fín thick! Or made that way to be custom fit. I remember when I would rebuild these and I would just reach into my container of different thickness shims and slide the correct one in. Now, you have to make your own!

Those fiber washers can be sanded down, to the thickness needed. I use 220 grit sandpaper on a pane of safety glass. I work the washer flat, with moderate pressure, in small figure 8s. After each 4 or 5 of the 8s. I check the fit. Back and forth until they slip in with slight pressure.

You will know when you get it right. When they do fit, slide the king pin in and check for the action. If there is a lot of resistance, remove the washer and take a gnats ass hair more off the fiber washer.

Hope that helps you out!

Calvatron Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:06 pm

Thanks Jimbo! Appreciate the advice. Iíll give Ďer a sanding tomorrow and hopefully be on my way to spindle town. I was thinking about it but didnít know if sanding off that smooth surface might make the fiber flake apart and wear out fast.

SnyderFam67 Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:40 am

I can't believe it's almost been 6 years since you started this. Keep up the progress Cal, it's looking good.

Calvatron Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:25 pm

Well, Jimboís advice was sound and after some time spent sanding down the fiber washer and my fingertips, I had a kingpin assembly. How tight to make these bad boys seems to be a topic of debate and Iím sure there are some kingpin sticklers out there that might curse me, but I have them fairly tight. Not so tight that I strain to move them, but firm enough that they donít jiggle back and forth my thought is that with enough driving, theyíll wear in a little more.

Up until this point it has been pretty much all cleaning, prepping, and painting stuff but I was very stoked to finally get to turn a bolt on this car. I got the front beam bolted on, control arms on, and then got the link pins shimmed correctly to the torsion arm offset. My furry helper was less stoked...

I then moved on to dealing with my other furry friend, my steering box, pictured below. After taking it apart, the bearings feel good and the guts look A-OK but the seals looked like they had shrunk... (shrank? Shrunken?) with age. I am currently waiting on those and the seal for the lid to show up in the

Hopefully Iíll have another update for later this week. I guess I should post a disclaimer that nothing I am going to be doing on this build is groundbreaking stuff that no man has done before. So far everything Iíve put on this olí boy has been 1956 dated and at this point my plan is to build this thing back to bone stock and as year correct as possible. I have pretty much all of the big stuff for this thing thanks to my uncle who managed to collect a ton of 1956 dated parts. I managed to get a Ď56 coded engine all im pieces at the last Bugorama too which is cool if youíre into that kind of thing. Unfortunately my transmission is Ď54 dated which Iím sure all my cool oval friends will never let me live down. Anyways, more updates to follow!

Rome Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:05 am

Good progress on the chassis. Hopefully you have ownership paperwork for it, or if not (i.e., bought just as a "spare part") can you obtain a registration using an "abandoned vehicle" process?

Have you looked for the body number that is stamped into the vertical panel to the left of the brake fluid reservoir to research what month the body was built? Would be a huge coincidence if the body was from the same month as your separately-bought chassis.

As to the Rust-O-Leum on the chassis: I think you'll be fine for a durable finish. 25 yrs ago I had an old Beetle on which I painted the fenders and both lids with gloss black RoL because the original car color was black. I used a spray gun and air compressor in my driveway and also thinned the paint down about 20%. Looked much better all in one color than having those parts in grey primer. I sold the car in the early 00's and the new owner had a semi-pro friend of his repaint it in the '67 Beetle Savannah Beige color. Said his friend had a heck of a time sanding down the RoL because it was so hard.

rich caramadre Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:04 pm

It could be just the photo but does your pitman arm have a slight bend in it when viewed from the side?

Murrtallica Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:11 pm

It's rad seeing this thing come together finally and not just be a bunch of parts in bins we shuffle around a bunch. Definitely looking forward to the day the oval rides again.

Also, I dig that IdealArc 300 in the background. I bet it was super easy to move and was done professionally and not with an engine hoist too.

Patmus Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:07 pm

Looking super sweet Calvin. I am very impressed by the work you have done thus far. There is hope for this ol'girl yet!

Buggeee Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:53 pm

That good dog had a full day standing ready to serve his hairless ape!

I use rust-oleum black for everything except pancake syrup. What's with the acetone?

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