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1961 Turkis Ragtop Build
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks George, I appreciate the offer. Your 61 has been our 'Bible' and inspiration during the build, and I echo others here that you did an amazing job building that car. I've opened the Hot VWs feature numerous times looking at colors, engine specs, and other details. I don't have any expectation that ours will turn out nearly as well - you've definately set a high standard - but I'm certainly going to give it our best shot Very Happy
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1950 Pearl Grey Hoffman Standard Split Window
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1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
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beetleman217
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

George Meyer wrote:
Thanks guys. That was (hope it still is) a pretty nice car. It was a little too nice to drive, so I sold it while it was still fresh to a guy in Michigan. That's why you see snow in those pics earlier in the thread. I heard he sold it at Auburn Indiana's big auction last year, but I'm not entirely sure...I would love to know who owns it now. I took seven years to build that car because I wanted to get it right. I got my Hot VW feature, won plenty of trophies and had a great time, tons of stories and terrific encounters...no regrets.

Good luck to the father son(s) team...they picked a fun project. Let me know if I can help.

George


George, while I respect your decision to sell that car, I'll never understand how you could. I would have either kept it for my children and grandchildren or have asked to be buried in it.

BTW, which month/year HotVWs magazine features it? I'd love to get hold of a copy.
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Kjell Roar
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People like different parts of the VW hobby. Some want to drive, some want to restore. Some want to know everything. Some want to own (alot).

It will always be like that.
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George Meyer
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beetleman217 wrote:
George Meyer wrote:
Thanks guys. That was (hope it still is) a pretty nice car. It was a little too nice to drive, so I sold it while it was still fresh to a guy in Michigan. That's why you see snow in those pics earlier in the thread. I heard he sold it at Auburn Indiana's big auction last year, but I'm not entirely sure...I would love to know who owns it now. I took seven years to build that car because I wanted to get it right. I got my Hot VW feature, won plenty of trophies and had a great time, tons of stories and terrific encounters...no regrets.

Good luck to the father son(s) team...they picked a fun project. Let me know if I can help.

George


George, while I respect your decision to sell that car, I'll never understand how you could. I would have either kept it for my children and grandchildren or have asked to be buried in it.

BTW, which month/year HotVWs magazine features it? I'd love to get hold of a copy.


Most of us are only on this planet for 80 or so years. Unless you are Jay Leno, you have to keep moving in order to have one of everything on the bucket list. I have other automotive interests as well and needed the space and cash to continue my quest. I sold the car when it was most valuable. Right now I own a decent tourist delivery 59 Beetle sedan with the original engine, trans, dealer installed radio and roof rack. It's just a clean driver that I can take my wife out to lunch in, and leave in the parking lot with the windows down. Someday I'll probably do another restoration, but for now I'm having more fun driving them. There are so many great aspects of this hobby...something for everyone. Oh...the 61 was in HVW May of 2009.
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's continue with the story, shall we?

After the bug was dismanted, and the outside was substantially stripped of the 80's red & silver paint, it was time to perform a comprehensive physcial exam to see just how bad the damage really was under the surface.

Just looking at the outside, it was already clear that the body needed some serious work: there was a large dent on the rear left side between the side window and rear window, several areas of cancer had chewed through various of the body including both lower doors, both lower A pillars were rotten where they met the channels, the right heater channel required amputation, and the left didn't look much better, the luggage shelf looked like swiss cheese, the deck lid had a few dents and tears, and both aprons were beyond repair. Surprisingly, the best part of the body was the original 4-tab hood, although it needed some minor welding and patch work as well.

I began the proctology exam by drilling out the spot welds of the front apron. I discovefed that the spare tire tray needed to be removed as well, so I drilled out those spot welds too. Once the apron was removed, I found the side metal was rusted and will need attention. I also found the left bumper mount was twisted up, and the right was cracked - both will need to be replaced. I then test fit a replacement apron I had from a prior project to assess the metal alignment which looked surprsingly good.

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Next, I went to the rear apron which was mangled on the left side. I drilled the spot welds and removed it, and found the side metal in better condition than the front, but still needing work. The left bumper mount was cracked and bent, but the right side was in great condition. One stroke of luck. It's clear the car took a hit to the left rear/side at some point as the apron, bumper mount and area above the fender were messed up. The car was also missing the left rear fender when I bought it - I can only guess it was destroyed in the same accident. I then test fit a replacement apron and not surprisingly found the left side metal will need slight re-alignment.

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1950 Pearl Grey Hoffman Standard Split Window
1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that I knew what I was up against, it was time to create a plan of attack. It was clear that the foundation of the car needed serious work, so it seemed natural to start there. Both floor pans were rotten and were effectively gone, and it was clear one channel needed to be replaced and was pretty sure the other would need replacing too. Having never replaced channels or floor pans, I wasn't sure which problem was better to start with. Both would require the body being lifted from the chassis, so I decided to build a rolling body cart that would support the car at both ends, and give me access to replace the channels. I searched the samba for examples, and found a good idea in the ghia forum, so I borrowed the idea and set out to build a body cart.

I used 4x6s for the bottom supports, and 4x4s for the cross members. I picked up some simple angle braces and wood screws from Home Depot to bring it all together, and used pneumatic wheels from Harbor Fright. It only took a couple hours to cut and screw it all together, and I was pleased with how it turned out.

With the cart ready, we readied the body to be removed from chassis. We then removed the front cross member of the cart and rolled it around the car. Next, a few of us lifted the rear of the car while one of the boys pushed the cart into position, then we lowered the car onto the cross brace. We then moved to the front, and lifted the body while the other 2 placed the front cross member in place. The front end was then lowered, and the integrity of the cart was put to the test - luckily it held (I was just a little worried Smile ). I then used some screws to secure the front cross member down.

We then rolled the body over the top of the chassis and placed it in another stall of the garage, leaving the chassis exposed and ready for inspection. It felt like a huge accomplishment to have the body removed, and resting on a cart that we'd built.

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1950 Pearl Grey Hoffman Standard Split Window
1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
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YouBugMe58
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking Good, Keep up the good work. Watchin.
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DerekR
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a correct rear apron you can have if you want from a car I parted out, instead of the bolt on catch style.
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the offer - I've been on the lookout for a correct rear apron in good condition, but haven't found one yet so that would be fantastic. Please PM me your contact info and I'll get ahold of you.
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beetleman217
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic work, love the body cart - so simple and effective. I plan to do this sort of resto on my 61 beetle sometime down the road.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I just bought the ragtop on the right of this pic Very Happy
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats - looks like a sweet ride! Would love to see more detailed pics of it. Based on the interior color, looks like an early 61?
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1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was that the one in the classifieds here?

I was seriously eyeing that, looked like badass patina.
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the body separated from the pan, I spent a couple weeks deciding how to proceed. I started playing with the chassis by chiseling off the remaining pan from the lip where itís welded to the chassis, and removing the cracked tar boards that were lifting from the metal. When I bought the car, the PO included a complete left pan half, and at some point I bought a matching right side.

With the old pan completely removed, I test fit the new pans onto the chassis, and was surprised to find that they fit relatively well despite them being the cheap, thin pans that usually require modifications to properly fit them. Despite the good fit, I was still bothered by the thin metal, and a few months later chose to buy a set of Wolfsburg West pans. That turned out to be a great decision as they are significantly thicker than the others, and the fit was even better. After the test fit, I removed the front end and tranny, and cleaned up select areas of the wishbone using a grinder and pressure blaster with Star Dust media.

While playing with the chassis, I decided that replacing the channels should happen first, so I quickly shifted gears. I did not want to use cheap, poor-fitting replacement channels, so I turned to the samba classifieds and found a set of OG 61 channels still attached to the quarter panels (also bought an OG rear luggage tray from the same car). I also picked up a pair of lower A-pillars from a 1960 bug to replace my rotten ones. With OG metal in hand, I spent a lot of time examining how the channels were installed, looking for the best way to remove the channel from the body.

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I'll detail the channel extraction process in my next post.
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1950 Pearl Grey Hoffman Standard Split Window
1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
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sprkplg08
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EverettB wrote:
Was that the one in the classifieds here?

I was seriously eyeing that, looked like badass patina.


Yes it was, its a sweet looking car. ill post some pics up this weekend.
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before cutting out the rusty channel, the doors were removed, and I used some angle iron and turnbuckles to make an internal bracing system to keep the geometries in place. Messing with the structural part of the car gave me a bit of anxiety, so I was also careful to take numerous measurements of the body before cutting anything out. Better safe than sorry, especially since Iíve never done this before, right?

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Once the braces were in place, and measurements were taken, it was time to pull out the cutter. Wade of course happily volunteered to slice the metal up, and he did a great job. Itís clear he has a natural ability with all this, and has amazed me many times with his skills. Welding included. He started by removing the external channel, and then moved to the internal one. We found a mess of rust inside that went everywhere throughout the extraction process. The lower A pillar was also removed in the process.

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1950 Pearl Grey Hoffman Standard Split Window
1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the deteriorated heater channel removed, it was time to start fitting the replacement channel. As my replacements came with the full quarter panel attached, I considered replacing that as well but decided I wanted to keep as much original metal as possible so I set out to remove the replacement channel from the quarter panel.

Once the replacement channel was free from the quarter, I removed the bottom plate. I busted through several spot weld bits during that tedious process. Once opened up, I media blasted the internal channel and the surface rust on the outside, and then coated the internals with Eastwoodís rust encapsulator. I discovered the bottom plate was heavily rusted on the inside so I bought new ones to ensure strong metal for the pans to bolt to, and good welds back to the channel. I was disappointed to find the replacement plates had a different pattern than the originals.

There was also a good sized hole on the outside channel skin that had to be replaced, so I welded it up and used metal-2-metal over the repair.

I spent a crazy amount of time getting this channel cleaned up and ready for use, and wished numerous times throughout the process for someone to produce quality, correct channels as I knew the other side still needed attention too. It was about this time Gerson confirmed that he was going to make correct channels (last August), so I decided to turn my attention to other areas of the build hoping heíd have them done in time. Luckily, my patience paid off. I received those funky green channels yesterday Ė just in time Very Happy

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1950 Pearl Grey Hoffman Standard Split Window
1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While waiting for Gersonís channels, I turned our attention back to the chassis. I had the boys use Eastwood Corroless (pre-rust encapsulator) to coat the wishbone. I also ordered the WW floor pans, and was not disappointed when they arrived and test fit them to the chassis.

We found several areas on the chassis that needed a good blasting, so one weekend in late summer 2011 when my Dad and Wadeís Grandpa was visiting from Boise, we pulled the chassis out onto the driveway and turned Wade loose with the blaster. Check out the mess that stuff makes!

I credit my love of VWís to my father as he fixed up and drove several throughout my childhood and teenage years, and gave me my very first car Ė a 1960 VW ragtop that I customized and drove in the late 80ís. He enjoyed helping Wade with the car that day, and I snapped a few shots of them working together.

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1950 Pearl Grey Hoffman Standard Split Window
1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope Iím not talking to myself here, but Iíll continue detailing whatís been done on our bug to date Ė I'm working towards current status, and we're not too far off now.

Shortly after we finished blasting the chassis in late summer 2011, I took the boys on a hike through a slot canyon in Zionís National Park as our final summer outing, and shattered my right ankle half way through the hike. It required surgery, which put me down for several months and brought our work on the bug to a trickle until early 2012. While I was down, I had plenty of time to parts hunt on the internet, and had a steady stream of packages show up on my door step from samba classifieds and Wolfsburg West Very Happy

When I did get back into the garage, I went to work replacing the rear torsion bushings. First, torsion covers were removed, and the original positions were marked on the spring plate and torsion bar. I then used a spring plate compression tool and a big screwdriver and hammer to ease the plate off the stop and down to a natural resting position. Once here, I used a protractor to measure the angles as a secondary metric for reinstallation. The plate was then removed. I did not remove the torsion bar from the inner mount during this process. While the plate was off, I cleaned and coated the area with rust preventer, and top coated with Eastwood Extreme Chassis Black. The inner bushing was then coated with baby powder and replaced, and the plate was reinstalled using the compression tool and a big hammer, followed by the outer bushing and cover. I had to use some longer bolts to finagle the cover plates on, but it wasnít terribly difficult.

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1950 Pearl Grey Hoffman Standard Split Window
1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Iris Blue Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
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fuscavw
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome work, Lance! Keep the updates coming.
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