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1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave.
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:53 am    Post subject: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

Aloha,
This Thread is for a Restoration/Modification of a 1975 Super Beetle Convertible.

I wanted to thank everyone on the site for all the help that I found while I have been working on my project and wanted to return the favor by sharing my experiences. I hope that this post will assist others with their projects.

BACKGROUND- In the 80's, my parents gave me a 1974 Super Beetle for my first car. It was bone stock and in rather good shape. Over the course of my High school years and into my early twenties, I had a few collisions and did my novice type of repairs(Bondo every where!!). After the last catastrophic collision(not my fault), the beetle was junked. Needless to say, I had many, many great memories in that car. I also had many, many dreams of what I wanted to do to that car, but lacked the knowledge and funds. Back then there wasn't even any parts for them. Just to lower the Macpherson suspension was a custom job of cutting and welding.

So here I am. I now have access to sites like this, parts are now available and I have the FUNDS! I wanted a car like the one I had and ended up with a 1975 Super Convertible


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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:54 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

"THE PLAN"
When I was a teenage kid with my first Super Beetle, I had visions of a lowered, chopped, "Cal look" Super Beetle. The farthest that I got was Headers and some Dechroming before it's demise. I eventually moved on to owning a couple of Squarebacks. Still doing very sub-par body work and now, painting. So, I basically have no real skills or experience at restoring, fixing, or completing anything! THERE IS ALWAYS A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING!

Thus 34 years later, in 2014, I started my "Hobbie", as my wife calls it. The car looked pretty descent at a glance, but we all know how that gos. I am now 4-1/2 years into it and have yet to get it painted. Life happens as you all know, and I try to work on it every chance I get. There are spurts and pauses, but the "Hobbie" continues.

The plan was to do a complete body-off restoration/modification.
1. To eliminate all rust that could be found and make this Beetle last, at
least until I croaked.
2. Chop the top 4-1/2"
3. Change the Dashboard (I always hated that cracked foam monstrosity)
4. Suicide the Doors.
5. Shave the door handles and trunk handle.
6. Convert the huge U.S. bumpers to something more acceptable.
7. Install all kinds of goodies-motor, shifter, trans, suspension etc...
8. Cold A/C, to go along with the whoop! Motor.
9. Awesome custom interior.
10. One piece windows.
11. Other stupid unnoticeable mods(unless you really look and know).

AND THE KICKER!! I will do everything myself without any assistance. Except of course, from the awesome enthusiasts on this Forum!

Super Beetles sometimes don't get the love from other VW owners. The changes made to the Supers do not sit well with some of the older vintage Bug owners. As I said, SHE was my first. So, I LOVE this model.
So, please no haters.

"Should've just got bought an earlier bug"
"You're ruining the value by not restoring to original"
"You should not have changed this or that(prefernces)" Etc....

Anyways, enough reading...
The tear down.





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Last edited by MACJELLY58 on Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:33 am; edited 2 times in total
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:37 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

The Pans were rusty and had few patches.
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The P.O. had made patches to the Heater Channels and Support Rails. The welding was rather bad. See the little weld balls, poor penetration.
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The Heater Channels had some huge pukas (holes).

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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:51 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

As you can tell from the previous pictures, I had made a wooden saw horse to hold the body after removal from the frame. I tried to measure and make sure that the chassis could escape under the saw horse. Also, make it wide enough so, I could work around it and make the repairs.

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As I said before, I have no experience. So, you may notice that I kinda over think and overdo stuff . Check out the "TWELVE point" angle iron bracing.
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The Angle Iron are old bed frames that the neighbors put out for bulky garbage pick up.

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Last edited by MACJELLY58 on Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:57 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

It took me about 3 months to get to having the bug up off the chassis and on the sawhorses. Like I said, I'm a one man show. Sometimes the wife will come out to the garage to see if I got squished or have bleed out due improper handling of the angle grinder. No missing digits at this point although, i did have a couple of blood blisters and sheet metal cuts. I lived!

Of course, the first thing I wanted to get to was the Heater Channels and Support rails. But, I figured that I should repair the Cross members and Package tray first in order for the new Heater Channels to go back in the right place.

The Cross Members were eaten up at the corner where they met up with the Heater Channels.
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The areas where the Quarter Panels and Package tray met up all had to have fabricated patches put in and the areas stripped to bare metal, treated and then POR15. Sorry, in the beginning I did not take as many pictures as I should have. I was very freaked out. because I had not welded/fabricated anything before and trying to plan to have major pieces fit back together again was very daunting. I had bought a Hobart hobby MIG welder from amazon and played with it for a while.
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A shot underneath.
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:04 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

Sorry, here's some pics of the patches. I had to piecemeal/Frankenstien them as best I could.
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:17 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

In removing the left Heater Channel to repair/replace the left Cross Member, I found that the Header mount and the mounting ear of the Napoleon Hat were rotten.
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:27 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

These body mounts are available but, I decided that there was enough left to repair. I had to also fabricate parts of the body where the mount was located. I've seen worse here on the Samba! It was a pain but, I got it all back in and cleaned them POR15.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:38 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

I also found corrosion at the bottom of the strut mount in the same area where the wheel well is welded to the cross body members just above the header area.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:01 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

Now I was ready to install my new left Heater Channel!! But wait. Will the Heater Channel match up to the new Pans? It should, I measured the points from the Pan holes to the tunnel like I read here and I fitted the pan according to those measurements. I hadn't welded anything so, I thought I should check. Down came the body back on to the chassis.

Nope, the new Pan did not line up with the new Heater Channel. I know, not a big surprise to the experienced. I was pissed. After all the careful measuring and cutting. It was for nothing. Luckily, I had bent the pan in place instead of trimming to fit.

I refitted the pan and Heater Channel to fit each other and the Body. Then, tack welded it all in.

Then, back up went the body on the sawhorses and welded the left Heater Channel in.
If you look closely, you can see green paint inside the vent hole in the Heater Channel and on the wheel well. It's EastWood's Channel Rust Encapsulator spray. I sprayed this stuff anywhere that I could. The new Heater channel had rust on the Heater Tube when I got it. I removed the Heater Tubes and welded the holes closed as, It's a convertible and don't plan on a heater in Hawaii.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:38 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

Then, it was on to the right side. Same thing, I replaced the right Cross Member. The Napoleon Hat was good on this side so, just cleaned it up and sprayed the Eastwood's Channel spray. The right wheel well had a rust hole just below the strut tower where it is spot welded to the body.

Then down came the body to the chassis again to fit the new Heater Channel to the new Pan and tack weld it all in. Then back up on the sawhorses to weld the Heater in all solid like.

Then, the body came back down to the chassis to fit the Support Rails, now that all is in place. I tried to have the Channels and the Support together during fitting but it was heavy and difficult for one guy to handle while fitting and tacking.

I had to make sure that the mounting holes in the Support Rail were positioned correctly, so that the bolt holes could match up to the Heater Channel with enough room for the bolts to clear the Pan lip.

With the Support Rail fitted and welded up tight, UP goes the Bug AGAIN!
So I can weld up the pans. But wait, the pans need to be prepped. Strip off that factory flash paint and POR15 it all up. Might as well do the Chassis at the same time right. I scored the Pan and tunnel to make sure the Pans go back perfectly and away I went cleaning, Prepping and Painting. Much corrosion but, mostly surface.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

AWESOME!!!
_________________
Rebuilt Salvage
72 Super Duper http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=672387
(adopted out) 61 Turkis Pile https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=728764
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:32 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

That is a lot of work! Looking good though, and nice to see another late model being saved.
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:12 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

At this point I'm about 2 years into the build, about the beginning of 2016. I was going really slow. I didn't really know what I was doing and again using The Samba for all the help I could find. Some of the rusty rotten areas were so bad that I wasn't sure how they should look. That's where I would scour the site to find a picture of what I needed.

There was a lot of sitting/drinking and looking at the Bug. Trying to figure out my next move. I really didn't want to just jump in and later find that I did it wrong or should've done something else first and have to take it all apart again to get it right.

I was also on a hunt for all the nooks and crannies for any kid of rust. Cleaning and coating with POR15 or the Channel spray. All this work and I started to hit "THE WALL". Just not feeling it, you know?

So, I tried to keep the enthusiasm by looking at other guys work and wishing I was at the some point in my build and how awesome their work looked. While I was doing all this surfing and research, I wondered back to Craigslist to check the VW'S listings. I found a 1978 Convertible listed for $400. It was listed as running and had a new windshield but, the pictures looked kinda rough. "But, hell, It was 99 cents" Well, $400. A deal none the lest.

So, I gave him a call and went to check it out. Went on a test ride and bought it. My wife was with me and all she could do was keep shaking her head. It was really ROUGH! Hardly road worthy. No working top, No engine hood, it wouldn't idle and it was getting dark out. So, of course...I decided to drive it the 15 miles home. Rookie mistake #1. About 10 minutes in to the journey home, just as I was approaching the on-ramp to the Freeway, I decided to check how much gas it had. Rookie mistake #2. It was DEEP into the red. No problem, I'll just swing by the gas station about a mile away.

It didn't make it. My wife was following me and was not pleased as the Bug sputtered to a stop on a slight incline about 300 feet from the gas station. You guessed it, she was again shaking her head adding a few "Oh, My God's".
After dodging traffic and getting the tow strap secured, I asked my wife if she would like to do the towing or be the one towed. You guessed it again, she flipped out. I don't know what she thought was gonna happen....I was gonna tow myself?

Anyway, I got the gas, along with a few strange looks and the wife who, is now throwing in eye rolls to her head shaking. It was at this instant that, I began to think about all those "Good time, funny stories", that I had with my other VWS. I asked myself, "Is it the VWS or is it the people that are attracted to the VWS"? Because I don't remember anyone other than VW people who have these stories.

I eventually made it home after a scary, exciting and definitely illegal drive home and got a good look at my prize!
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My wife just disappeared into the house without a word. Then my
Mother in-law came out to see what all the noise, smoke and smell was. She was not impressed. She wanted to know what I was gonna do with another project VW? Good question...Impulse buy! Well, it obviously was beyond any repair. There was rust-through on every joint, hole, edge, surface. It was like it was submerged in the sea for all it's life. Can you say...."Donor Car".

It took me 5 days to completely disassembly and cut up and otherwise consolidate the whole beetle into a 10' x 4' space in the storage room.

Mother in-law, now back to Happy.
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:59 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

Now this foray got the fire going a little bit again but, not really burning. I was losing sight of the goal. What was my mission? Why even do it? What's the point?

So, I set out to do work on the car- without having to do work on the car.
I would look for a finished car on-line that looked like what I wanted to do. That oughtta get me going! No such luck. I scoured the internet for a lowered, chopped, suicide, tricked out Super Beetle Convertible. Apparently, I'm the only stupid/crazy/naive person out there or are they just very secretive with their cars.

My solution, to photoshop a car for inspiration. AHA! I did my project car from the purchase photo and also a locale island bug I found on Craigslist.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:21 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

Okay, I had got it back. I went back to work. This time, I went back with a little more abandon. Thinking a lot less and doing more.

I jumped in on repairing rusted areas on the body. Starting with the left rear quarter panel. There was a large amount of Bondo filler on the lower half of the panel. I started to grind into it and after about a minute, there was an unholy cloud of Bondo dust everywhere.

This was not going to stand! I started to apply the paint stripper to the area to get a better idea of the size and found when I was scraping, the stripper also softened the Bondo. I could scrape off a thin layer of the Bondo pretty easily, about a 1/16th of an inch. This would take longer, but was more acceptable to the dust cloud.

After getting down to metal, I found that the P.O. had spot welded a repair panel over the rusted lower quarter panel. Which would have been great, however, they did not remove the rusted panel first. They literally just welded it right over the old one. Thus, the large amount of Bondo. They had to pound in the old panel to make room for the new panel and then fill it with Bondo to level everything out. AMAZING!

I removed the repair panel and cut out the old rusted, hammer mangled, section and left the hole. The access to the inside of the quarter panel might be helpful when installing the suicide hinges.

I moved on to rust damage on the quarter panel rear window area.

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I cut it out and fabricated a repair piece. Bummer, the donor Bug was rusted out here as well.
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There was rust damage to the area where the cable for the top passes through the body and the C-Channel here also.
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I cleaned out the area inside the the panel and again applied the green channel inhibitor.
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Stripped and treated the rest of the panel with KBS Coatings "Rust Blast". This metal prep is supposed to convert any remaining rust and leave a Zinc Phosphate coating to help inhibit any surface rust for 5 to 6 weeks. In Hawaii's humidity, it's more like 2 to 3 weeks.
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:48 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

I continued to work around the back of the car. I removed and repaired the Convertible Top Cable Channel. There were a few sections that needed replacing. The Donor car came in handy here. There also was a little surface rust under the Channel as well. All cleaned up and POR15 under the channel, as the top of the Channel will be finished paint and I don't want POR under the finished paint.

I Also stripped and POR15 the engine compartment. The Engine seal channel had some rusted out sections but, not a lot. I cut those sections out and I will repair and replace later.

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There was a 2-1/2 inch hole here. I don't know what it was for. The P.O. had a piece of Duct Tape over it. I assume it was a pass-through for part of the Fuel Injection? Well, it's welded now!
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Here are the Channel sections that needed to be replaced.
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The Convertible does not have the Dreaded Killer Foam behind the rear windows like the late sedan Super Beetles. However, there is still a little foam in the same area. It seals the engine firewall and the outer quarter panel. It's about 1/2 " x 5". On the right side, near the top of the wheel well, it caused a rust through and had to have a fabricated piece welded in.


You can see it here up there between the Firewall and the Quarter Panel.
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I went ahead and stripped and POR15 the rest of the Package Tray and the inside of the Quarter panels. There was a portion of rust on the interior wheel well on the right side. It was hard to get to and clean out, but I got it.
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Here are some repairs to the right rear window area same thing as on the left.
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Last edited by MACJELLY58 on Thu May 02, 2019 2:01 am; edited 4 times in total
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MACJELLY58
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:18 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

The rear apron had to be repaired on the sides that welded to the body supports. Rust had eaten through some section and I want to remove the exhaust hole for the muffler pipe. So, off it went and repair sections went in.
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Closing the Tailpipe hole.


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MACJELLY58
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Joined: September 26, 2014
Posts: 229
Location: HONOLULU, HAWAII
MACJELLY58 is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:02 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

I went back to the Heater Channel area as I had not replaced the front Reinforcement Panels that go near the front Kick Panel. The new Heater Channels of course did not match the original Heater Channels. The old channels had a lip on the bottom that the Reinforcement Panel would fold over and they were spot welded there. The new Heater Channels just stuck out horizontally. There was no place to spot weld the Reinforcement Panel to the Heater Channel. So, I had gotten pissed again and put it off and moved on to the more fun rear section.

Well, now is the time to get back and figure it out. After much thought, I remembered my late father's saying, "That all you ever need to fix a mechanical problem, is a large hammer, vice grips, standard screw driver(use the corner if you need a philips) and Duct tape". He wasn't a great mechanic, but he taught me all I know(not a whole much). So, I immediately got the "BIG HAMMER", usually the first "go to tool" for me. I hammered the folded down lip of the Reinforcement Panel straight so it would mate with the new Heater Channel ledge and trimmed the excess off the Panel. After I die, the next owner will get a kick outta that Rolling Eyes I LOVE YOU DAD! WHERE EVER YOU ARE!!



Here are some photos of the original Reinforcement Panels. If you look close, you can see the lower lip of the Heater Channel folded down and the Reinforcement Panel also following it down.

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This is probably the best picture I took of the ledge. See how it sticks out 90 degrees away from the panel. The Panel's lip originally continued straight down toward the ground and would mate to the Heater Channels lip that went straight down as well.
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After hammering and cleaning and POR15 inside and out, they were welded in and POR 15 and seam sealed.
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If you look well, you can see the green inhibitor spray in the holes of the next few pictures. I really, really hate rust!!!

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Here is a shot of the welds from the outer Wheel Well. Sorry, a little blurry.
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Last edited by MACJELLY58 on Thu May 02, 2019 2:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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MACJELLY58
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Joined: September 26, 2014
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Location: HONOLULU, HAWAII
MACJELLY58 is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:09 am    Post subject: Re: 1975 Beetle Convertible Resto/Mod Build-Chop,Dash,Suicide,Shave. Reply with quote

Just thought I would add, as you remember, the Bug was white respray. As you noticed later, the original color was the Super Beetle Yellow (don't know the technical name). My first car was this original Yellow color and was one of the reasons I over paid for this one. Oh, Nastolgia !! You're Killing Me !!

Actually as I remember it, I really didn't care for the color when I was a kid. You know it wasn't a cool color for a strapping young man in High school. Plus, it was easy for the Cops to see at night, especially with all the primer spots!

I'm gonna see if I can find one of the two surviving pics of that infamous 1974 Super.
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