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'56 Convertible Rescue
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Back in 2010 a friend of mine in Oregon called saying he'd found a rusty '56 convertible during one of his bus hunting trips and wondered if I'd be interested. After a few pictures and lots of questions, I took a chance and agreed to buy. The price was right, and it had a lot of the important pieces. How bad could it really be, right?

Once I had it in front of me, I began to question if this was a car worth saving. It was originally Sepia Silver, a rare convertible-only color, but there was severe rust everywhere. Channels & support rails were toast, rear package tray was swiss cheese, large rust holes in the rear firewall. Everywhere I looked, there was cancer and metal I could poke holes in with my bare fingers. In addition to the rust, it was clear the car had lived a hard life - the body was sitting on a '59 chassis, the motor was later 36hp - possibly a standard fresh air 36hp, May '55 trans, the front beam was split window, the front of the car had been clipped at some point in it's past so the 15-xx body stamp was long gone. The list of issues was almost overwhelming.

Despite all the bad, there were a few good things. The doors were rust free, the 4 tab hood was solid with no kink or tear (from an almond green vert), the convertible decklid was also in great shape (from an inca red vert), the bullet fenders were good, top frame was complete and in decent shape (also inca red, probably from the same car as the decklid), and the original H rear apron seemed to be savable.

I had no idea how to approach this mess. I was in the middle of a couple other projects anyway, so I wrapped it up with car covers and tarps and put it away in dry storage for several years. During that time I began picking up parts, clips, chassis, and other pieces that would help bring the car back to life if that was even possible. At one point I even listed it for sale, but changed my mind a couple of days later. The challenge was beginning to intrigue me.

I recently pulled the car out of storage and am about to tackle this beast. I'm sure it will take some time, and I'm sure I'll need plenty of advice and guidance along the way. Despite all the obvious issues, my plan is to take the car back to bone stock. That's how I like them.

Here are pictures showing the condition of the car when I received it. Enjoy.

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1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Sepia Silver Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
1965 Irish Green 356C


Last edited by laneven28 on Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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56Cabrio
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:38 am    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Lots of good info here https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=341124

Good luck.
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1956 Rag Top owned since 1988
1956 Convertible owned since 2000
1963 Hard Top

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lovethatconvertible
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Wow, it's gonna be a project for sure. But as Bob the builder asked, Can we do it, And you say, Yes we can. Please keep us posted on your progress.
Convertibles can be a Little Bitch sometimes, but the reward of driving them on a Beautiful day is priceless. Popcorn
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56Cabrio
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:10 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

lovethatconvertible wrote:

Convertibles can be a Little Bitch sometimes, but the reward of driving them on a Beautiful day is priceless. Popcorn

X100
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1956 Rag Top owned since 1988
1956 Convertible owned since 2000
1963 Hard Top

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Russ
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:43 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

it's going to be a big project no doubt but what a cool car.
try not to look at the whole thing at once but start in one place and finish that section and so on.

keep the updates coming
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Thanks guys. Iíve spent a ton of time on the oval convertible thread learning about these cars and how to best restore it. The resources available and VW community are just amazing.

While I realize this car will never be completely original, I still want it to be as close to period correct as possible. Since 2010, Iíve bought 4 different 56-57 chassis in various forms intended for this project. The one I decided to use was from an east coast January Ď56 vert, but it needed moderate surgery to make it useful (body is May í56). I found a nice í57 wishbone locally that provided the repair pieces, and used WW pans to finish it off. WW pans are great quality and fit well, but Iím surprised the pedal mount on their 56-57 pans are not set up for oval window pedals. Not to mention the incorrect front stampings. Iíll be ordering the pan sections Mika makes soon to address both issues.

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_________________
1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Sepia Silver Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
1965 Irish Green 356C
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

The vert is moving right along. The car is now with my friend that has done metal & body work for 25+ years. Heís doing this project for me on the side, and Iím grateful as Iím sure itís going to require many, many hours to address all the rust and issues.
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I recently received new Gerson heater channels, VW Robert rail supports from the UK, and several pieces from Mika including the front floor pieces and rear cross member repair panels. Iím confident Iíll need more panels as we dig in.
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1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Sepia Silver Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
1965 Irish Green 356C
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 10:30 am    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Using a solid, complete front clip from a 57 to address all the front end issues.
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When the rusty channels were cut it was interesting to find convertibles have an extra brace running vertically down the middle of the channel Ė I wasnít aware of that. Trying to decide if I should open up the new Gerson channels and add that support, and the wire tube. Any thoughts?
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1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Sepia Silver Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
1965 Irish Green 356C
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Lars B
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

I guess you need open the right one to add the tube for the wiring.

I opened up both mine to add the Z Part (and tube)..

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http://www.brandow.eu/vw/01/vw01.htm
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Skim
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Kick ass. Keep it up!!
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1953 Kabriolet
1954 Sunroof
1960 Lt Grey Double Cab SMZ LEGIT
1961 Deluxe SWR / BG 15 Window
1963 Deluxe Turkis Walk Thru 15 Window OG Paint
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lovethatconvertible
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 8:54 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

^^^^Boy Howdy on that, So cool you got Robert's Reinforcement rails. they are supposed to be pretty damn cool. Keep the updates coming.
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jason
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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 9:17 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

My 57 has the wire inside the vert rail and not the heater channel. It is inside the paper covered aluminum like the carb preheat.
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 11:24 am    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Appreciate the comments everyone. Robert's rails are top quality, and really weren't that much more $ even with shipping than the inferior rails on the market. Money well spent in my opinion.

Thanks Lars, you clearly went to a lot of work to do your channels right - It's a lot of work that arguably isn't necessary from a functional standpoint (my metal guy doesn't think I should), but I'm leaning that way myself so the construction stays original.

Jason - Sounds like they changed the position of the wiring and the conduit sometime between the 56 and 57 model year. What month/year was your 57 produced?
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1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Sepia Silver Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
1965 Irish Green 356C
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jason
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:35 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

I will look. I got my rails from J3. He sold his template to Gerson. I thought he was now making them. Mine also comes up in the kick panel area. You can see where it comes in.
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splitjunkie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:03 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

laneven28 wrote:


Thanks Lars, you clearly went to a lot of work to do your channels right - It's a lot of work that arguably isn't necessary from a functional standpoint (my metal guy doesn't think I should), but I'm leaning that way myself so the construction stays original.



VW would not have put that Z brace in there if it wasn't needed. Is your metal guy an engineer? I doubt it.

Virtanen is making heater channels now too. I bet he could make you a set with the Z brace already installed. Save the Gerson channels for another project or sell them to recoup some of the cost.
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Basketcase
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:53 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

awesome project.
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jason
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:38 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

I believe the z bar is for the heat. Mine doesn't have them. It does have the heater tube welded to the side though. I took my plates off to blast, epoxy, paint while the rails were off. It was only a vew hundred extra spotwelds to remove.
Maybe the earlier channels have the z plate since the heating was different. Anyone have a pic of an early heater channel cut in half?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:49 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Might be a good idea to open them up and put it in. I had issues with the Gerson nuts. Check them while your in there. They stripped out with less than 10 lbs torque. Must of got them from China. Never responded to my many emails either. Why would he, already had my money. I have to go back and put nutserts in most of the holes or figure something out. I dont want to cut it up again. May be wise to torque a bolt down to spec before installing.
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

jason wrote:
Might be a good idea to open them up and put it in. I had issues with the Gerson nuts. Check them while your in there. They stripped out with less than 10 lbs torque. Must of got them from China. Never responded to my many emails either. Why would he, already had my money. I have to go back and put nutserts in most of the holes or figure something out. I dont want to cut it up again. May be wise to torque a bolt down to spec before installing.


That sucks man, sorry to hear. Did you figure out a solution? I've heard the weld nuts strip easily on Gerson channels from others as well, so I guess I should have the channels opened up, have the z bar installed, coat the inside, and replace the weld nuts. Sounds like I'd probably be doing repairs later anyhow, so why not do it right up front, right?
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1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Sepia Silver Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
1965 Irish Green 356C
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laneven28
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:11 pm    Post subject: Re: '56 Convertible Rescue Reply with quote

Stopped by my welder's place today to see how things are coming along. He's been tied up on another project so not much has happened over the past couple weeks. I let him know I wanted the Z bar added to the channels and new weld nuts. We made a few other decisions on how to proceed, and it sounds like he's about ready to jump back on it. Here's how it looked today.
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1952 Azure Blue CC Split Window
1954 Iceland Green Euro 3-Fold Oval
1956 Sepia Silver Convertible
1958 Pearl White Lowlight KG Convertible
1961 Turkis Ragtop
1965 Irish Green 356C
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