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Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do?
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nic_
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:30 pm    Post subject: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

Quick version:
I have a '56 Oval that's currently in pieces, in a shed. I'm trying to work out what to do with it (restore (slowly) on my own, restore with help, or find it a new owner).

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Photo gallery is here (engine photos are from 2006, all others from January this year)

Longer version:
I've spent the last few weeks reading these forums (and a few others), looking at some brilliant restorations and learning a lot. To be honest I'm now a bit intimidated about what I may have ahead of me...

In 1996 I came to be owning a 1956 Oval. It had been sitting idle for 21 years - last registered in 1975. It's got 63,000 miles on the clock.

At the time I basically just wanted to pull a car apart and rebuild it. So I started doing just that. Everything was catalogued and written down as I dismantled. While age had obviously taken it's toll, things such as the cardboard glovebox, sun visor, and semaphores were all in good condition, and have been stored well since I begun dismantling.

From 1998-2003 I was off at university, so no work got done on the car.

Between 2003 and 2006 I completely stripped, cleaned, and rebuilt the engine.
I then moved to another city for a few years. The engine was to the point of bolting down the heads (but that wasn't actually done - hopefully only resulting in the need for some new paper gaskets).

For the past 9 years, the in-pieces-Oval has sat in a (mostly dry) shed outside Melbourne, Australia. The engine has been wrapped up in a tarp, I pulled it out a few months ago and it looks to be in exactly the same condition as when it was wrapped up.

The body is solid, but with some patches of rust. The floorpan is in good condition, however completely rusted out where the battery goes (it was stored from '75-'96 with the battery still in). Interior upholstery is completely gone, seats are acceptable probably will need to be reupholstered. Front-end brakes/axle/suspension are quite rusted, the rear end slightly less so. Engine as mentioned has been re-built by me, and gearbox is in good condition.

So I'm now looking to the collective wisdom of this forum - is it worth restoring this Oval, and if so, how should I go about it?

How much work would be required to actually restore it? It's obviously been many years, so I'm happy to commit many hours over many more years. But it's a 45 minute drive away, so it's not like I'll be working on it nightly. I'm comfortable with anything mechanical, and even though I can weld, I wouldn't be comfortable doing any body work myself. I'm happy to spend money on it as well, but where possible I'd rather do things myself. Is this a realistic plan or a pipedream?

If it's realistic - what would people suggest would be the best process from here? Start with the floorpan and then clean/rebuild everything to the point of a rolling chassis? Should I leave the body as-is, or take it off to get blasted, cleaned up and primed while I'm doing the mechanical work?

If it's unrealistic to slowly restore, what are my options? Given the condition is it worth doing a chequebook restoration? Or is my best option to find it a new loving home?

I'm happy to answer any questions - and thanks if you made it this far!
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air-h2o-air
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nic, only you can choose what is right for you..I will say that there is nothing wrong with a long rebuild project as long as you can stay motivated and not loose interest over time.

Upon completion, I'd bet you will have a greater appreciation for the car if you did it yourself than paying someone BUT you'd have useable time with your 56 sooner.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoyed working on the car, never considered it a chore. The 56 oval would be a joy to put back together.
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nic_
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely enjoy working on it - probably as much as I will enjoy one day driving it!

So from the responses so far it sounds like it's an achievable task as a weekend project, based on the condition? (or what can be seen in the photos at least!) It's not an issue to do a rebuild over what I'm guessing will be a few years?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get Hemmings Classic Car magazine. There are restorations featured in there that have taken 10 years or more. Many of us have projects that also have gone on over a period of years.

Something I would not do right away is overhaul the brakes with exception of redoing backing plates, drums, bearings and such. A good example is a 67 pan that I had recently partially restored. I have a big project I am working on now and 2 future projects. So, its going to be years before I get to doing anything with the 67. What I dont want to have happen is rubber hoses, wheel cylinder seals, etc dry rotting before I even start working on the car.

Bottom line is this - if you are having fun with it, just keep plugging away. At some point you may be able to be closer to the car and working on it will be easier.

One last point - as you go on with the car, you may get more comfortable with doing more things (body work for example). That was something I NEVER planned on doing and I am at least getting to where I feel good about roughing in replacement panels and such. Final body and paint is somebody else, but I can do more than I did a few years ago.
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nic_
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

Well more than 2 years later I figure this thread is worth a bump! The replies I got, combined with a visit to a friend-of-a-friend who has built 100's of VW's convinced me I can just chip away at this project.

The car is stored 45 minutes away, so I've been getting out there a couple days a month. It's going to take a while, but I'm enjoying it immensely. Very Happy

A few photos...

Cleaning 10 years of nature out of the stable where it was stored...
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All original body, but in various states of health...
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OG rear window! I've gotten a bunch of photos of the sticker in case I need to re-create it, but I'll try my best to save it!
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Out of storage, ready for work to begin...
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Looking a bit worse for wear in a few spots...
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And the pan after a good pressure clean and scrub...
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

Looking at the front of your pan, it looks as though it's pretending to be carry-on luggage! Laughing

Your oval window appears to be very solid, and very straight! It looks like a great start for a restoration... glad to see you're back at it. All the best on your project
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nic_
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

Heh! Yes the front was already off, so I built a dolly wheel to move it around.
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tisius
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:38 am    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

Looks like a very decent car, fun project Cool
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:35 am    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

Looks like part of the heater channel bottom still attached to the pan in that one picture. You will at lease need part of a bottom but possibly new heater channel(s) depending on how far the rust goes. I would recommend Virtanen, Wolf Parts and Klassic Fab for replacement parts. Avoid the Chinese, Danish and Brazilian panels.
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nic_
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:53 am    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

@splitjunkie: Yep I'm going to go with all new channels. It's the one area where the rust really set in...

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A few other updates. I stripped the pan down, new pan where battery had rusted it out, and had it blasted:
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Pan painted, front-end rebuilt, trans on...
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Engine finally all closed up...
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Carb rebuild, engine on...
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Which brings me to my next question.
As you can see above the air cleaner hasn't been touched yet.
I'm conscious of not blasting the top due to the filter on the inside.
So wondering if there's any tips on restoring the outside to a nice black, and cleaning out the inside?

I don't have a great photo of the top, best one is probably this:
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Major Woody
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

Good progress.
I wouldn't blast the top of the air cleaner for the reasons you note. Do it with a wire brush, rinse it thoroughly in solvent and then paint it along with everything else.

I have a 56 that has been in pieces for 20 yrs or more. I'll finish it when time allows. Glad you didn't give up.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:45 am    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

Coming along nicely.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:15 am    Post subject: Re: Unrestored '56 Oval in bits - what should I do? Reply with quote

You go, Badger! The work done looks great! I've been working on and off my '57 for over 20 years. It's getting close to being finished. The closer it gets to getting finished the more motivated I get. I just finished a '59 and have a '58 MGA almost done, too! These cars get along very well in the garage!!
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