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Documenting my RHD '54 build
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LOTYP3
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Joined: February 13, 2007
Posts: 108
Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:49 am    Post subject: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

I've had this car for over six months now, but I've recently sold a few cars and freed up the garage to begin pulling it apart and working on it. I have a few more days left on my holiday so I thought I'll roll up my sleeves, here's what I've done in the last few hours. Hopefully I can get the pan stripped this week and ready for some POR15 action.

I purchased this March 1954 Beetle from South Australia, from the looks of things it must have been sitting in the Outback for a very long time.

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This car is stamped MKA1409, making it one of the earliest VWs built in Australia. It was originally delivered in Clayton Green (our version of Iceland Green) with Brown interior, unfortunately I'll have the fun task of piecing together the rare '54 interior as everything is missing. The Clayton Green is still fairly intact in places, I'm hoping I can sand back some of that white bog to reveal more of the green and then hit it with a dull clear to protect the original paint and patina.

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I have a decent sized garage, but up until recently it was packed to the brim with cars and parts so have to be conscious of space so I decided to build this dolly where I can store the body above the pan to save space. I highly recommend anyone with the same space issue do this as well.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=519213

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After the dolly was built, I rounded up a few mates to help me lift the body off the pan and onto the dolly. The dolly held up but I decided to remove the fenders to reduce the amount of weight on the home made wooden frame.

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Now the fun job of stripping the pan...nothing quite like 60 year old road gunk to brighten up your afternoon!

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Everything went fairly straight forward without any surprises other than the early handbrake cable system, thank heavens someone already ran into that issue and already had a thread on The Samba about this exact problem!

Here's everything removed, I was distracted by the Rockets/Jazz game before I decided to pack it all up for the day.

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Stay tuned for more progress!


Last edited by LOTYP3 on Tue May 01, 2018 8:22 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Bug-nut
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Location: Knoxville, TN
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:45 am    Post subject: Re: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

Man that's a sweet looking car you have! Looks like it will be a lot of fun. Also I know what you mean about not having limited space. I've four cars also and it gets fun trying to juggle them all around. I should sell one or two but I just can't make myself do it. Keep up the updates! Very Happy
_________________
1959 VW Beetle "Gretchen"
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6...highlight=
1962 Austin Healey Sprite
1985 Chevy S-10 (for bringing new projects home!)

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A 59 Beetle is just an Oval-Window car with aspirations of modernity.


Stop dead photo links! Post your photos to The Samba Gallery!
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LOTYP3
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Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

Now its a stripped pan, sadly underneath the the gunk the floor pans are a rusty in the battery tray area. That puts the brakes on getting the pan ready any time soon, I'll need to source a correct replacement floorpan half.

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Who makes the decent floor pans for these earlier cars? Classic Fab? WW? Some other brand? I saw these on the classifieds...

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1397247


Last edited by LOTYP3 on Tue May 01, 2018 8:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Srecko
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Location: Adelaide - South Australia
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:00 am    Post subject: Re: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

Any further developments with this project?
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LOTYP3
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

Long overdue update.

All of this happened slowly across the last two years, only updating now as I have finished some other cars and the project has started to gain some momentum once again. I have been collecting 54 bits over the period, I now have correct hearts, h-pattern seats, tank, etc. Still looking for batwing and column, door handles and mechanisms.

Took the pan to Mark Krapp from ACME Aircooled and he gave it the full treatment. First order of business was to fix the center tunnel.

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Mark went around the whole of the pan and straightened out dings and damage prior to sending it off to be blasted.

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It looked pretty sorry when I picked it up for the blasters.

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Looked even worse when it came back from Blast Off Shocked

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Bought replacement pans with the correct pressing from Virtanen in Finland, can't recommended him enough! Lucky I didn't have to replace the pan section underneath the RHD pedal cluster as no one offered them off the shelf at the time.

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Mark wasted no time digging into it.

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All done!

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And POR15'd out of the gun! Well, it was KBS, an Australian alternative. Pan done! Can't thank ACME Aircooled enough, Mark's a very well-known VW guru down here and I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone.

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Last edited by LOTYP3 on Tue May 01, 2018 8:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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LOTYP3
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

The plan is to go build a 2270 from a 1700 914 engine I have laying around, so I had to get a worked gearbox to match. Rather than go with a Rancho or another off-the-shelf route, I decided to enlist 'Dangerous' Dave Butler from Queensland to build me a custom unit to suit my needs. Dave is a well-known VW drag racer who has a reputation for building the best gearboxes in the country.

I sourced a 12v swing axle 'AC' unit and had it shipped to Dave's workshop on the Gold Coast.

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I explained to him that I was building a 1954 Oval running potentially a 2270 Type IV motor, still working on specs but will focus on torque and reliable power. I live in inner city Melbourne, so the aim is a tough streeter that’ll surprise people during stoplight racing. It needed to be bearable on the highway.

I also wanted to stick with 15" wheels but fell in love with the (then-new) Firestone Wide Oval Radials which run pretty huge. The smallest option is 26.1”!

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Based on all of this, Dave suggested I go with the following ratios:

4.125 diff,
3.800 1st gear,
2.059 2nd gear,
1.261 3rd gear,
0.889 4th gear.

Dave would go on to spend 30 hours knocking out the box for me. Here's some photos he sent of the build.

New super-diff, extra spider gears and with oiling mods.

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New billet ERCO side covers , studs, oil holes, side gaskets and clutch tube bracket.

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New ERCO hard key.

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Welded cones on coarse tooth 3rd and 4th gears.

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Bus nose cone hockey stick so it would work with my pan.

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New steel thrust plate with oil hole.

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New steel forks.

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Re-bush intermediate housing.

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Late fork tube and hardware, weld fork arms and nubs, NEW bronze bush.

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New FAG brand pinion bearing, German nut, Weddle SPECIAL long needle 1st gear bearing, brand main shaft ball and German INA main shaft needle bearings.

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Longer mid-mount and side cover studs.

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New reverse idler and lever, german reverse fork.

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New genuine VW synchros: (all 4, only 1 and 2 in picture).

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I can't be bothered uploading any more pictures, but you get the point. It is a very nice piece of gear! Here's a finished shot.

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I haven't decided on what axles to go with just yet, but have been eyeing off the HD short axle units from EMPI. Does anyone have alternative suggestions?
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LOTYP3
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

Ross AKA Skinned Knuckles was my phone-a-friend for the rust repairs. There was a three sections, but the biggest task was the right rear cross member reinforcement (section under the rear seat) and the connecting heater channel.

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Virtanen comes up with the goods again, cannot overstate how happy I was with the panels supplied by him.

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Ross had to make up a section for the top of the heater channel that was more rotten than expected

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Drenched the insides with fish oil, let it dry for a few days, then a light layer of filler to even out the seams and edges, primered then a light coat of this satin military green I found that was as close as I could get to the original Clayton Green off the shelf.

The plan was for it to not be perfect, as long it wasn't going to be noticeable that it was repaired. Almost impossible to notice once I coat it with protectant, chuck it back on the pan and the fender and running boards are back on anyway...

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I might wet sand this area just to blend it a bit better, I was fairly drunk/exhausted by the time I was tackling this section.

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LOTYP3
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

Repaired both sides of the little section body where it meets the front of the pan, didn't take too many photos though unfortunately. (for the record the crappy heater channel repairs were old repairs not done by us.)

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Other side

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(before grind back and smoothing out)

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All cancer is now cut out and repaired with metal!
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LOTYP3
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Documenting my RHD '54 build Reply with quote

Preview of the next job, putting together the front end. This is my 4" narrowed beam built by Skinned Knuckles and narrowed leaves, just waiting for the powdercoated trailing arms to come back from the painters. Check out some of the other toys he has in the garage...

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More info on the beam on his IG post here:

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Lanner from VDub Engineering was supposed to put together a custom disc brake kit for me that could run a Porsche script caliper with 15" wheels...but the guy has gone completely radio silent after telling me it was 'in progress' months ago.

Does anyone have suggestions an alternative for a flash disc brake kit that can still run a 15"? I want to get the pan rolling asap!
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