View original topic: Resurrecting a 1959 Beetle Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next
Bug-nut Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:12 am

Hi Guys! I've finally joined this wonderful forum after lurking for several months. So here's a little info about me. I'm 23 and in love with cars and especially Volkswagens! I had a 1974 VW Beetle (not Super) about 6 years ago that I had bought naively thinking it would be a quick and easy fix-up (boy was I ever wrong!) It had lived in Missouri all its life and was totally rusted out. Sadly I ended up taking it down to our local VW "collector" and was told it would make a good parts car. Hopefully someone got some good parts off of it. At least the engine and tranny was solid...

Fast forward 5.5 years. This May I ended up buying a 1962 Austin Healey Sprite from a friend of mine who had bought it new in 1963 in Jacksonville, FL. He drove it for several years before giving it to his mother who also drove it several years until it was parked in 1973, where it sat until he decided he would never have the time to get it running and fixed up so he sold it to me! :D I spent most of the summer getting it to a drivable condition; I had to change/rebuild/replace almost everything it seems. New fuel tank, all new brake parts, all rubber parts and seals, front lever shocks, rebuilt all engine accessories, etc etc you get the picture. During all this I kept thinking back to my poor old 74 Bug, wondering if I had known then what I knew now, would I have been able to get it fixed up and drivable?.. After much time and $$$ spent, I finally had the Sprite all fixed ap and running. Mind you, I did not "restore" the car. The body was in excellent shape, no rust whatsoever, and with the exception of the rubber "carpet", the interior and gauges were in almost perfect condition, so I decided just to clean it up and get everything repaired and functioning properly and leave the car as original as could be.

And finally here is the best part! Two months ago my girlfriends-sisters-boyfriend calls me up on the phone and says " hey Ryan have you checked out Craigslist today?" Well it figures normally I check CL every day looking for something cool and particularly VWs but that day I hadn't. So he says I should hurry and get online and look and so I do and lo and behold there is a guy who lives about 25 minutes from my house who just listed an all original, 1959 VW Beetle, still 36 hp, split case tranny, 6 volts the whole works! Blah blah blah long story short, it's a clean car and runs and finally after some haggling we agree on a price and I brought my new baby home. It's not perfect by any means but the car is rust free with the exception of some "patina" and the usual spot under the battery (which someone fixed up with fiberglass... Ugh...)

So now here's my question - should I start a new thread covering my journey on fixing this beetle up or should I just use this thread instead? And thank you for your time and I don't wanna hear anybody say "man Ryan what a long story why did you write so much?" I know you fellow Samba-ites love to read :lol:

Bug-nut Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:21 am

Let's see if I can get some pictures uploaded. I know you guys love pictures :)

And I know I know, don't say it, yes I'm taking the fuel filter out of the engine bay!

MacLeod Willy Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:23 am

Welcome to Samba.
Tell the journey on your new venture. Picture, lots of pictures!

buguy Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:23 am

We love pictures even more! Lets see it!

Bug-nut Sun Dec 20, 2015 1:08 pm

More pictures? Certainly! :D

Well even though I said the car runs (and it does!) the brakes need a lot of work and the fuel system also needs cleaning/rebuilding. At one point in time someone had redone the rear brakes with new drums, shoes, and cylinders, however I just decided to replace all the soft lines, cylinders, shoes, master cylinder, etc. I checked all my metal lines and they seem to be in very good shape. So I sent a large chunk of my weekly paycheck to Wolfsburg West and they sent me some lovely German quality parts. I just got them in two days ago and stayed up kinda late last night putting some of them on.

I try to reuse as many of the original parts and pieces as I can, but if there is wear or whatever, I will repair or replace as needed. I had to replace both inner bearing spacers/grease seal contact thingys, whatever they are called. I couldn't tell if they came off or not, but a quick Samba search quickly showed me the light 8)

Adjusting the front bearings was a pain! I still have the early style nut/jamb nut setup, wonder if the later style clamping nut setup would work without any additional modifications? Oh and I also replaced both front torsion snubbers.

And finally I rebuilt my fuel selector. The PO had just removed it and installed a later model single line setup, but my purist tendencies said that was a grave no no. I had already cleaned out the tank (BBs and a handful of bolts and some kerosene. Worked wonders!) so I ordered the W.W. rebuild kit, two new gaskets and a new finger strainer (the OE one was missing. Go figure) assembly went well however I can't seem to get the rubber boot/dust seal to fit properly. The selector shaft has a stop pin that screws into the side of it and the pin protrudes out longer than the aluminum body of the selector. I'll try and take a better picture and put on here and see what you guys think. And finally last night I installed my rebuilt selector and filled the tank up and so far no leaks. Yay!

How she looks right now. For me, the messier my surrounding are the more work I get done :wink:

67rustavenger Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:11 pm

Nice find!
I for one never learned to read. So pictures always work best for me.
I really like the very stock look of your engine. It would look real original with the copper fuel line from the fuel pump to the carb. I'd say the filter is not looking so original. If you must keep it. Place it next to the trans where the fuel hard line exits the tunnel. Nice and safe there.
Good luck.

63Ragtop NZ Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:18 pm

What a fantastic wee car! look after it well.

FullFender Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:47 pm

I'm jealous of your progress :lol:

irvanm Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:16 pm

Wow, spectacular car, congratulations.

h~moto Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:33 pm

Very nice car!

Quote: Adjusting the front bearings was a pain! I still have the early style nut/jamb nut setup

Bearings are very easy to adjust if you use two 27mm wrenches with one of the wrenches being not as thick as the nut. Use the thin wrench on the inside nut.

rcooled Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:23 pm

Quote: Adjusting the front bearings was a pain! I still have the early style nut/jamb nut setup
Adjusting the front wheel bearings is much easier if you replace those double jam nuts & locking plate with this pinch-type locking nut. It's very similar to what VW used on the later cars, and they're even on sale now at CIP1.

BTW...that's a fine looking car you have there...good score! =D>

cn63bug Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:23 pm

Awesome find there Ryan! Looking forward to seeing your progress and welcome to the forum!

wcfvw69 Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:35 pm

What a great, original, un-molested survivor bug you now own. I love hearing you're a purist and won't f-up the bug by hacking it or lowering it, etc..

I'd do a mechanical refresh and roll that baby as is.

txoval Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:35 pm

Great 59! and congrats on the purchase. 58-59's are great cars.

Looks like someone already told you about the jam nut...

Now, if you ever want to sell that Austin...let me know :D

gt1953 Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:46 pm

I do miss my 59. No sway bar up front makes the wide sweep turns fun. Love way a 36hp sounds. Keep it simple, just repair what it needs to make it road worthy. Do like it lots.

Bug-nut Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:16 pm

Thanks for all the responses guys! And thanks for the tips about the thin wrenches and later style pinch nuts. It give me something to keep my eye open for at the swap meets! :)

And as promised here's some pics of my fuel selector. Like an idiot I forgot to take a picture of the rubber boot for it, that's what I get for being in a hurry

As you can see the pin protrudes past the circumference of the body of the selector, that's where my problem lies. I'll jump over and reread the thread on here about fuel selector rebuilding, I'm sure I just missed something.

I didn't get much work done on it today, however I did rivet on three replacement clips on two of my wheel (for my hubcaps). The clip kit from Wolfsburg comes with new rivets, however they are smaller than the original ones - I was fortunate that I had a friend who had some the proper size. Just thought I'd let y'all know.

And finally, here's my chassis and engine numbers. Maybe one of you kind and knowledgable gentlemen can decode them for me! :lol: from what I could decipher, the chassis is an early 1959 model but the engine is a later 1959?
Anyway the chassis is # 2397518, and the engine is #3359799. Also the keen observer will notice that the original 28PCI carb is absent, having been replaced with a (shudder) EMPI one. :shock: Don't worry, I'm gonna find the proper carb and remove the imposter! Also yes there will be no fuel filter in the engine bay when I get done 8)

ExtremeBean Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:05 am

I'm so envious. Mine is a fjord blue '59 as well, albeit yours is in much better shape. It's a one year only color and yours looks to be mostly there and in awesome condition. Please keep it original as possible. That's a rare survivor right there

h~moto Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:33 pm

Quote: the chassis is # 2397518, and the engine is #3359799

Chassis - April `59
Engine - December `59

Bug-nut Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:36 pm

h~moto wrote: Quote: the chassis is # 2397518, and the engine is #3359799

Chassis - April `59
Engine - December `59

Thank you! :)

anthracitedub Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:42 pm

Sweet little car... Looks like it fell into the right hands.

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