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vwhelmot Tue Jun 27, 2023 1:47 am

Hi, i thought i`d start a thread about my 56 which i`ve owned since 2004. I`m from the UK and have a little bit of VW history and built a few show cars in the past but i wanted this one to be a driver because as we all know what happens to show cars......they don`t get driven.
My point is that i built this five years ago and it hasn't turned a wheel since.















It was featured in Ultra VW back then. Couple of photo shoot pics













Anyway, i`m the first registered keeper of the car her in the UK, i bought it off Owen Warlow who had picked the car up in Sweden and towed it back here on the back of an A frame and then stored it in his barn for a little while before i contacted him to see what he had in stock. There were a few cars i was interested in but for me the oval stuck out as it is Jungle Green and a 56, something that i fancied for a while before that. The deal was done at a bus show in the Midlands where we agreed to meet one weekend, i paid 2500 and drove it out of the show ground trailing huge plumes of smoke behind me because i would later find out it had a huge hole in one piston.
The car looked extremely tatty but was solid in all the key areas. It needed rear bumper hangers and all the surface rust blasting off and a full mechanical refresh. I`m fortunate in that i have access to the right equipment and storage space in work to be able to carry out the repairs myself so i tackled all the work and before long it was registered to me with an age related number plate and held an MOT.
The car looked beat up, i liked the fact it looked used and showed its history with pride, it ran great with its semi rebuilt 30Hp which i built using a donor engine that i bought off Ian Clark from Wolfsburg Performance. I basically built one engine from two. I kept the bottom end from the car when i bought it and put the top end of the donor engine and fitted new rings and honed the bores, i did get the heads pro built with new guides and valves etc and also i managed to find a Judson Supercharger off my mate Martin Taylor who had been storing it on his shelf for a while.
Anyway... i drove it like this for a few years until one day i was involved in an accident. I was stopped in traffic on a wet bank holiday sunday when someone failed to slow down and stop behind instead he just plowed into me at about 40mph and hit me in the rear offside corner which pushed me into the car in front which had a tow ball fitted. Some photos of the damage








As you can see, the damage was quite extensive.

vwhelmot Tue Jun 27, 2023 1:59 am

The accident happened in 2006 so i had only been driving the car for a year and a half and to say i was pissed off was an understatement. Looking at the car after, the right hand side of the motor had taken a big hit and it had cracked the cylinder head and damaged all the tinware/exhaust etc. The body structure at the rear was out of shape but i knew i could rebuild it. The front turned out to be more work as it had crumpled up the front quarter panel and all the spare wheel tray etc .









I remember have disagreements with the insurance inspector about the condition of the car because all he saw was a dented old vw, i had to point out the fact that it was still a rust free car and was worth rebuilding. They agreed in the end to pay for all the parts after i had submitted a full list of the things i needed and i would repair the car myself.

vwhelmot Tue Jun 27, 2023 2:41 am

So back then it was more difficult to get hold of oval bug panels, i did`nt have the internet at hand to find stuff so i relied on people who i knew. Various companies helped out, Karmann Konnection sorted me out with some bits and Owen Warlow helped with the panels. I bought a slightly later bonnet/hood (non 4tab) and the front wings were slightly later panels too but they were all OG vw but needed restoring before i could fit them. The front wings needed extensive work and tbh i should have just rebuilt the crashed ones. It took me a full year to rebuild the car, i initially pulled the shell straight by anchoring it at the damage points and used a winch to get it back to somewhere near. Obviously i still needed to unpick all the front end and straighten everything and fit a new rear bumper mount and a replacement OG rear apron and to blend in the faded used look paint etc.































vwhelmot Tue Jun 27, 2023 2:55 am

Back on the road and back then i just wanted a nice driver to go on some sunny Sunday drives and the oval over the years has been a great little car. After i had repaired all the damage i just used it and maintained it and had some wonderful times just enjoying it for what it was. I had kept all the original dented panels off the car and had just stored them away for a rainy day....a day that came up about three years ago. Then my twin boys arrived..























olo Tue Jun 27, 2023 4:23 am

Very cool , I think I heard part of your story on a podcast recently somewhere, photo of the twins is the best !

vwhelmot Tue Jun 27, 2023 4:26 am

As time went by the fact that the car was a bit of a patchwork quilt started to annoy me. It was various shades of green but the interior and dashboard was still wearing its OG Jungle Green paint that came from the factory and i started to want to get the car back to its proper factory colour but i knew that i had to be careful about how i went about this task because i still wanted to be able to use the car and not worry about it too much. Cari and i had been out in the car with the boys a few times and it started to dawn on me that this a car still running its single circuit brakes etc and that started playing on my mind.








It was also starting to leak oil from the motor and the gearbox so i took the decision to give the car a little refresh and upgrade the brakes and sort a few of the panel gap issues it had. The accident rebuild was sufficient at the time but the more i looked at it the more i didn't like the fact it had the wrong bonnet and wings etc so i decided to lift the car up to my workshop on a mezzanine floor in work and carry out the work in time for the following summer. That`s where my plan failed .























vwhelmot Tue Jun 27, 2023 6:24 am

First job i did was to get the OG panels down from storage and see if i could resurrect them. The rear wing/fender was really out of shape and broken in many areas but i thought that i would give it a go. I`ve read that metal has some degree of memory and its true to some extent but i wasn't holding out much hope. I`ll let the pictures do the talking










































The panel after a serious amount of work turned out really good. You will later see that i didn't have to use any filler or bondo, zero and i carried on with that theme later with the bonnet/hood .

vwhelmot Tue Jun 27, 2023 6:30 am

Like i said, i used zero filler. It was Ritchie Kings fault that i went to this length because he said that it shouldn't need any filler and i should push myself to do the job right. TBH i`m glad i did it this way.









These last pics are of the same wing after i had painted it.

vwhelmot Tue Jun 27, 2023 6:47 am

Same theory applied to the decklid although i still haven't painted this because i`m running a Cabrio lid instead.






































finster Tue Jun 27, 2023 7:00 am

wow, impressive skills!..and a workshop with mezzanine level :shock:

ps what's with the jazz mags in the spare wheel? :?

vwhelmot Wed Jun 28, 2023 1:49 am

The jazz mags were a joke for the photographer by my workmate. He had slipped them in for a surprise for the camera man and his wife. I didn't know anything about them until he asked me to pop the hood.

The Bonnet turned out to be quite a bit of work as it had some previous damage and was full of bondo which i didn't
know about until i stripped it. I worked with the same mindset as before where i would not use any filler so that took extra time and effort.
Half way through i fitted the OG bonnet back on the car to check fitment.
This is how it was after the crash






























































vwhelmot Wed Jun 28, 2023 1:58 am

So , once the car was lifted up onto the floor i set about removing the motor and rear panels. Something from the crash still was not right but i had lived with it since but now i would fix it properly. The offside rear corner was lower than the nearside and the decklid gap was way out . Removing the apron created more work as i had to rebuid it with new mounting flanges.























As you can see, something wasn't right so the only way to fix it was to cut the corner off and use a donor piece.




















henry roberts Wed Jun 28, 2023 3:28 am

Stunning work. You have a gift with sheet metal!

VWGlassee Wed Jun 28, 2023 3:50 am

I've followed this project on insta. I'm a huge fan 8)
Love your work!

Yannick

banana split Wed Jun 28, 2023 8:41 am

Insane high degree of work being performed! From the show car to the metalwork... wow!! :shock:
Is this your profession? Doing auto body work and metal fabrication? Your talents are amazing. Great job 8) :P

vwhelmot Wed Jun 28, 2023 8:52 am

Hi, thanks for the comments. Its all just a hobby and its all done in my spare time. Cheers

aa390392 Wed Jun 28, 2023 12:04 pm

Very impressive skill set! In awe of your intensity to degree of perfection.
Hell even your twins are perfect little beasts (adorable)Ill keep coming back for more.
Thomas

vwhelmot Thu Jun 29, 2023 12:23 am

More on the rear, this was the third time i`ve installed a rear bumper hanger to the rear of this car so i made sure that the panel was in exactly the right place.





























While i was there i decided to replace the engine side tray panels too, i just wanted everything to be as it should when it left the factory in 56








I also realised that i had the wrong bumper hanger on the nearside so i replaced the outer panel to the correct shape version



Weather strip added and if you notice i welded it with the top straight just like the OG nearside. Welded from underneath.













vwhelmot Thu Jun 29, 2023 12:42 am

At this point i had ideas of blending the paint, i knew the car in the past had had a blow over and the colour was not right so i started to strip the top layer off the rest of the car to see if there was any of the original paint left. Unfortunately there wasn't enough and what was left wasn't very good.













The roof was going to be a big stumbling block. Somewhere along its life its either been on its side or its had maybe a tree fall on it. The whole roof was dented and looked like the surace of the moon. The drivers side gutter and swage line had been quite badly damaged and was out of shape, something which i had lived with and used to call character but i realised that i had to do something about it. Years ago i had bought a Golde rag clip but thankfully i never installed it because now i just don`t like fake rag top bugs, just something about that how it left the factory kind of thing. So after stripping some of the paint this is what i was left with and it wasn't pretty...


























vwhelmot Thu Jun 29, 2023 1:11 am

One thing i didn't want to do was to lose the cars character especially on the inside as i always intended to leave it as it was warts and all. I really did not want to remove the headliner but as time went by the more i realised that i would have to remove it to gain access the roof skin from underneath. The metal stretched in a few places which at the start caused a few headaches but the more i worked on it the better it got. The gutter area came good in the end after i welded various pulling points to it and used a large slide hammer to pull it back into shape. These pics are just from the start, i would go on to spend a long time on the roof getting it right.












































I initially did not strip the paint off it because i used it as a guide to initially show all the high and low spots. I then would add a light coat of black to act as a guide as i went along.



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