View original topic: Neil's bubbletop volksrod build Page: 1, 2, 3 ... 21, 22, 23  Next
nshaddox Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:43 am

Already have a thread going over at volksrods, but some people don't frequent that site so I guess I'll make one here to update as well.

So this project started 5 or six years ago I guess. I received a pretty haggard '60 bug from my buddy in partial exchange for doing heater channels on his 54.

I parted it out and when I say parted, I mean I took it apart at the seams, even the roof. That's how you learn how they are put together.

Anyways, I was staring at the pile of parts left over in the front yard and this idea came into my head that it would be cool if a front fender formed the lower part of the body of a volksrod and the torsion tube poked out from the headlight bucket. So I did some sketches to see if it might work. Sorry about orientation. I only have a tablet to work with and its windows based, slow, and annoying so I don't like to waste time with it much.

After seeing my sketches I decided it had to be built. I think I may have some pictures on an old hard drive of the chassis build phase, but have no idea how to recover them. But it took about a week to cut a foot or so out of the tunnel and z cut the rear suspension for something like a 6-8" drop.

Then I graduated from college and got a job in Michigan. Wasn't sure at the time how that would work out so I left most of my vw crap in tx. The job worked out well, but it didn't work very well at stopping my vw addiction; I ended up getting another project vw within a month or two that I still haven't finished. And then duplicate tools. So 4-5 years go by before I'm relatively permanently settled with my own garage space and have brought all the parts back by road trips to Michigan for this volksrod project.

And I waited until I was eligible for a sabbatical leave from work before getting back to it. So I'm 4 months into my work leave and I work on this thing pretty much all the time now, with exceptions for traveling around to see friends all over the place and making time for my girlfriend and stuff like that.

I rode a bicycle down to tx, bought an old pickup, and loaded it up with the last of the bits for the project at the beginning of the sabbatical. It only leaked about a quart every 100 miles on the way back!

Finished up the transmission build upon returning with a nice case for it.
Here it is hanging out in my living room with a friend. Its the one on the right.

nshaddox Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:54 am

And here's some pictures of where I'm at with it now. More in my gallery.

First time the parts have been in the same pile/state in 5 years. Kinda gives a good idea of the direction things have to go for it to become a car.

Formed taillight housing first. Going to try to get away with a single center mounted stop light for all my taillight needs.

Then formed new front fender wells.

They aren't perfect but pretty damn close considering I've never really messed with an English wheel before this.

Teaser shot with my first hoop attempt on top and beam adjusters and dropped spindles in place

nshaddox Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:05 am

And more progress

Sides and top will bolt together somehow so that it can all come apart in the future if it has to. Makes it way harder to build though. Means top skin of body has to be supported on its own frame and the sides will slip on kind of like stock fenders bolt on.

Front inner support structure mostly done:

Test fit for bubble. Decided its going to have to be a bit larger and not quite as round at the front to make room for the steering wheel and me.

Ended up getting some steel bent, waiting for the place to call me back today or I'd be working on it now instead of posting here.

Made the flange that the sides will bolt to.

Bubbled/blistered out hood to clear steering box

That's pretty much where I'm at now with it so I guess I'll head back out to the garage and start up the wood stove.

mfergel Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:11 pm

Wow. Curious to see where this goes.

eyetzr Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:52 pm

I am interested in seeing this in person. Looks great. Who is doing the bubble top for you? I remember an article with Big Daddy Roth and he used a pizza oven to heat the lexan. Do not forget to add some sort of fresh air system so you don't cook in there.

nshaddox Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:34 am

Anyone who finds themselves in Detroit is welcome to stop by and check it out.

Plan is to do the bubble myself somehow.

sixfootdan Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:42 am

Wow that's pretty cool so far, I'll stay tuned. :popcorn:

nshaddox Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:37 pm

got some steel bent up for the hoops.

going to aim for a shape like this, but have to go to Pittsburgh for a few days so wont be able to get to it for a while.

cdennisg Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:37 pm

This looks really, really interesting. I'm in!

Please keep up the work and the updates.

heywebonya Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:15 pm

Groovy! Amazing metal work. Is the bubble going to be like a WWII bomber turret?

nshaddox Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:22 am

I've only gotten maybe 6 hrs of work on this thing in the last 10 days. Been doing some drywall work in the attic and visiting friends over the holidays. Probably won't get back to it until this weekend.

Hoop for bubble is coming together nicely. But nothing worth taking pictures of right now.

I guess the bubble might look turret like to some folks. Wasn't really the idea I had in mind personally but this project is meant to inspire so if that's what you see I am totally cool with that.

andk5591 Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:27 pm

Real interesting concept. Would be easier if you flipped your concept sketches pics around so they werent sideways or upside down. Guessing you have some Ed Roth influences.

I think he made his own bubble tops.....

nshaddox Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:56 pm

Yea. I don't really have a good computer for editing images or I'd have flipped the sketches and maybe lightened them a bit.

Ed Roth is the influence for this build. Except I want a metal bubble top car that has more obvious Volkswagen bones to it.

EverettB Thu Dec 31, 2015 4:49 pm

If you have Windows right click on the photo and select "Preview" and Windows has a built-in tool to let you rotate it left and right

andk5591 Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:55 am

So you have a "final look" worked out? As in are you going rat, finished, or somewhere in between?

nshaddox Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:10 pm

So is it possible to edit images loaded to the gallery or rotate them within the image linking code? Or do I need to rotate and save on my computer and upload to the gallery again?

I want final look to be like a barnfind from the 60s for the first iteration at least. I imagine I will be tweaking different things with the car for a while after its drive able. Maybe one day it will get a really nice paint job when I feel like it's done.

EverettB Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:37 pm

You have to rotate them and upload again - the gallery has no rotate function

andk5591 Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:01 am

Have seen more than a few pics of old customs dragged out of a barn. Cool look. Nail down the details on exactly how "rustic" you want before you get too far.

This is a real issue I am having with a pending patina project I am doing in the future...Because of some other ideas that I have been kicking around, it may be really tough to pull off correctly....But I kind of am anal when it comes to details...and I have a real problem with a lot of the faked patina cars - it looks fake.

But on the other hand - you can just say screw it and just have fun with the build. Nothing wrong with that.

nshaddox Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:16 pm

time for an update.

got all the hoops made up for the bubble top frame and mating piece for the body. 28 pieces needed to make the shapes I wanted. pretty tricky to maintain symmetry and an even gap.

used all my clamps and 1/8" thick scraps to maintain the gap.

got the mating piece tack welded in place.

checked position and reinstalled bubble hoop assembly. its tack welded together right now but eventually there will be hardware to hold it together.

shows the reshaped front part of the bubble frame.

couple of other angles just to make sure it looks good.

and then I had to see how close I got with my 3rd attempt at making a reverse curve a couple weeks ago.

also got some bits for the gas tank. not sure when I will get to that.

andk5591 Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:27 pm

So - your plexiglass sits in that 1/8" gap? How are you sealing/bonding the plexi to the hoop? A bed of silicone or something? Also, seeing that you have flattened the top out on several planes. Does that make fabbing the bubble harder or doesnt it matter? Have no clue - just curious.

Something I was just remembering - dont forget to give yourself plenty of ventilation. I seem to remember reading that one of Roths first bubble tops was like an oven inside.

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