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Big_E_Deluxe Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:52 am

I purchased this early 1959 Double Door Panel from my brother in So. California in Jun 2020.

"Hans" Bus

History: Bus was built on 11-28-58 and delivered to Los Angles on 12-3-58. Factory paint was Dove Blue with US spec bumpers & double door option. It's remaining history is unknown. I found an old mechanics shop sticker in the engine bay from Covina, CA. 1600cc Engine case had a '86 stamp in it from a place in Ohio. It spent some time in Florida as a shop truck for a VW repair guy. My brother bought it from him and shipped it to California, where it sat for a few months. After convincing him he had too many buses, and I had some parts he needed :lol: , we trucked it out to my place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Condition when purchased.....




Originally I had hoped there was original Dove Blue under the faded grey paint. It was showing through in a few places. Unfortunately after removing some of the paint it was apparent a lot of it had been sanded down. Since this was meant to be a refresh on a budget, I had to make the best of it and roll with the grey. Some basic polishing and surface rust removal will make it look better. The body has some rust in the usual areas....Lower front nose, front floor areas next to door jambs, cargo door thresholds, but that's about it. The rest is really solid. I'm thinking it spent most of it's life in California. I found a bunch of sand in the front lower aprons (desert or beach, who knows?).

The bus starts right up and idles great. I drove it around the block, but it was tough. Clutch and brakes felt horribly stiff. I would later find out why, surprised I made it around the block, lol. No brake fluid and clutch cable was installed incorrectly.

Goal: Budget refresh, not a full blown restoration, but still done right. Clean it up, make it mechanically sound (engine, trans, brakes, electrical), add new seals, hardware, etc. so it would function as it was intended. Get it back on the road and use it. Bring it back to a stock setup with close to correct parts. Some creative license is allowed for mechanical improvements. Body rust repair will take place over time, no rush. KlassicFab metal has already been sourced. A paint job is a long way out and I'm not worried about it. The grey is growing on me. I won't lie, the grey paint is crappy and poorly done, but it shows character.

I'm already 6 months in on this bus and I've done some work. Here is what Iíve accomplished so far....

Interior: It was bad. Seat cover was history, only one door panel remained and the wiring was pretty bad. No door or side window seals. Fresh air vent was missing all the internal parts. All interior metal was painted in black and grey spray paint, with some areas of the dash covered in glitter (?!?! :roll: ). I was able to strip all of this paint of with Goof Off Graffiti Remover. The stuff works fast and did not damage the original Dove Blue paint that remained. Steering wheel was history too. New steering wheel by Flat-4 was purchased along with a new seat cover from Deutsch Polster. New knobs, switches and wiring was purchased. All pedals, hand brake, shifter and misc parts were powder coated or painted. New correct hardware replaced broken, incorrect or rusty pieces. Internal door lock hardware was either replaced if broken or cleaned up. Door glass was dissassembled, cleaned up, new seals purchased, powder coated and reassembled with new latches, hardware & rivets. Previous owner had purchased a new set of panels from Clara and never installed them. They survived, still wrapped up in her packaging. I have not completed installing them, waiting to do doors and kick panels last, after electrical is sorted. Here is a few pictures of the before and after....







Stripping paint....





New seat covers.....


Rebuilt speedo with matched mileage...


Test fitting Clara's panels....



I was able to find all the necessary pieces for the fresh air vent to work properly. Cleaned them up and installed with new seals and hardware, works great.

Wiring is mostly completed with new harness from WW. Headlights, turn signals and taillights were either replaced, cleaned up or repaired. They all work properly now and look the part. New seals installed as well.

Wheels: Bus had incorrect 14" wheels. I was able to source some '58 stamped 15" "crows foot" wheels. I had them sandblasted and powder coated black. New 6.70 x 15 Power King Super Highway II's were mounted. Chrome hubcaps with black painted logos came off my '58 Beetle and look sharp with the black wheel. New tires look good on the bus, imo.








Engine: Runs good, but looks like crap and has some fuel leaks. I decided to give it a makeover and replace misc parts with close to factory pieces. Not a correct '58 engine, so I decided to make it a correct looking bus engine for it's displacement. Should look the part and be a reliable runner.

Proper air filter with brackets were sourced, along with a doghouse fan shroud. Rebuilt Solex carb is from Tim at Volkzbitz, Rebuilt Bosch Distributor & fuel pump are from William Fowler at Sparkwerks and rebuilt coil is from Eric at Lane Russell. Powder coat and plating was done by MonkeyNut VW. Big transformation from what it was. Still waiting on cleaned up heater boxes and resurfaced flywheel. New WW fuel tank was installed. Some before and after shots....

Before....

After....


Transmission: Removed and undergoing a rebuild. Later Big Nut trans with 3.88 gearing. Clutch will be new German parts. RGB's are apart and being inspected. They will be rebuilt as necessary. One RGB case has stripped spring plate threads. Trying to find a replacement.

Chassis/Suspension: Rear spring plates were removed. cleaned and powder coated with covers. New bushings and hardware installed. New trans mounts front & rear ready to go. All new cables (clutch, accelerator, heater) installed. All shift linkage (front to rear) replaced because of previous hack job. New seals, bushings and couplers too. All front pedals removed and assembles rebuilt, repaired or cleaned up. Hand brake was missing all hardware below floor. Was able to find all the parts necessary to get it back in working order. New shocks front and rear with stock WW units. New tie rods & drag link installed up front. Later factory sway bar installed for improved handling. A restored Empi camber compensator is ready to be mounting in the rear.

Brakes: Upgraded to a dual master cylinder. New hard & soft lines and wheel cylinders will be installed once trans goes back in. Backing plates and misc hardware will be replaced or powder coated. Hoping to resurface existing drums for re-use, we will see.

Body: Fixed glass is installed with new seals. All doors have new seals. New WW bumpers were powder coated black to match wheels. A complete door hardware package (matched key) was installed with new seals. I've started some polishing but haven't hit this hard yet.

This is where we sit now....



There are some small things I can do, but until the transmission comes back, I'm in a holding pattern.

Future to do list: Safari windows are a must have. Waiting until a new design is finished and available for sale. Full-length roof rack, and a few other things I have in mind to make "Hans" unique.

More updates to come as I proceed. :vw:

pyrOman Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:54 am

Clean and straight looking bus! 8)

AC Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:03 am

Very nice , love the Double Doors. Albert

Okie Adam Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:22 am

Great bus! I love seeing a proper cab divider in place too.

DanM Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:25 am

Great transformation! I've never been much of a fan of back-dating cars, but that thing is begging for black ribbed bumpers and front and rear Hursts.

Big_E_Deluxe Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:33 am

DanM wrote: Great transformation! I've never been much of a fan of back-dating cars, but that thing is begging for black ribbed bumpers and front and rear Hursts.

I thought about it, but decided to stay with what it had. I think you're right though, would look cool! This bus definitely has some good before and after shots.

vwuberalles Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:19 am

Looks great, nice work so far! I dig the gray, it works on this bus.

doveblue3 Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:30 am

Big_E_Deluxe wrote: Removed and undergoing a rebuild. Later Big Nut trans with 3.88 gearing.

Not being an internet dick - you may want to double check that gearing relative to engine and tire size. It seems really tall. Would hate for you to finish and not have it be able to maintain speed in 4th gear.

Eric&Barb Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:34 am

Get the longer Time-Sert threaded solid inserts for for the RGB stripped swing plate threads. Drill both RGBs deeper and use longer bolts than stock. Any replacement used RGB you find will almost certainly have all the same rust and wear of those threads so that they will fail all too soon anyway.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392194&highlight=timesert+rgb

Big_E_Deluxe Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:34 am

doveblue3 wrote: Big_E_Deluxe wrote: Removed and undergoing a rebuild. Later Big Nut trans with 3.88 gearing.

Not being an internet dick - you may want to double check that gearing relative to engine and tire size. It seems really tall. Would hate for you to finish and not have it be able to maintain speed in 4th gear.

Fair point. I did not make the decision to run this, others that know far more than I do made the call. They feel it's the best choice. If it's not right, we'll make a change.

Big_E_Deluxe Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:36 am

Eric&Barb wrote: Get the longer Time-Sert threaded solid inserts for for the RGB stripped swing plate threads. Drill both RGBs deeper and use longer bolts than stock. Any replacement used RGB you find will almost certainly have all the same rust and wear of those threads so that they will fail all too soon anyway.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392194&highlight=timesert+rgb

Thank you, I've read this thread. This certainly is an option we have discussed. Not ruling it out.

von_hansel Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:26 am

Big_E_Deluxe wrote: I I found an old mechanics shop sticker in the engine bay from San Bernardino, CA.

Loving the look and the stripping of the paint of the dash to OG dove blue.

Curious- what does the San Bernardino mechanic sticker look like? I live next door to Berdoo

Big_E_Deluxe Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:58 am

von_hansel wrote: Big_E_Deluxe wrote: I I found an old mechanics shop sticker in the engine bay from San Bernardino, CA.

Loving the look and the stripping of the paint of the dash to OG dove blue.

Curious- what does the San Bernardino mechanic sticker look like? I live next door to Berdoo

Thank you! Sticker had a chrome background with red graphics. It was mostly gone. Sorry had it wrong...Covina, CA

Only thing I could make out....

Beetle Clubhouse
348 E. San Bernardino Rd.
Covina, CA

German Krew Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:37 pm

Big_E_Deluxe wrote:



The bus looks sick! Congrats.

Big Bill Sat Dec 05, 2020 4:52 pm

Great looking bus, and the engine looks 100 times better.

Blue Baron Sun Dec 06, 2020 7:59 pm

It reminds me of the buses that came through from the factory in primer only. (See upper right of photo and row in background.)


1970PAKombi Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:13 pm

You have a great brother and what a nice job doing it. It looks very beautiful!

wcfvw69 Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:08 pm



Holy smokes! :shock: Your engine looks so original and beautiful! Nice job!!

Eric&Barb Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:18 pm

Might as well install a Maxi 2 oil filter pump to keep crud in the oil from chewing up the bearings and crankshaft bearing surfaces. Has made a huge difference for us.

LaneRussellVW Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:49 am



It looks really amazing!

:lol: :lol:



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