1963 VW Beetle:Ragtop Resto.

166 posts in this topic

Getting there with the inner panel, I happened to test fit the handle again the other night and lucky noticed how dented the lid was just above the handle hole.


I got rammed by some stupid F&%# while sitting at a red light years ago.

With the inner panel out of the way I'm able to hammer thing back into shape, getting there!


Is there a rubber seal that goes under the handle here?

Got the strip tacked up


can see the tacks here


detail of the bottom gap for the drain holes


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Been doing lots of mocking up


There is alot going on back here when you think about it, fenders need to fit right, the valance needs to fit right, the bumper mount need to fit the inner fenders right and be in the right place so the bumper irons go thru the fenders in the right place, aaarrrrrrgghhhhh!

Anyway! I harvested these from the rusty baja I chopped up


bought one of these at supercheap for $14


drilled the valance and the inner fenders to match the fender holes


welded the little suckers on


also spent a couple hours with the grinder and wire wheel getting ready to weld the bumper mounts and engine tray things back on soon


this thing helps getting into the corners of the engine bay


as cheap insurance I stuck a bit of weld on the inside of the bumper mount nuts, then painted with super etch the rest with the weld thru stuff


nice to be putting things back on


the painful thing is having to drill heaps of holes in my lovely handmade panels so I can plug weld the mounts back on, oh well.

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Very excited as last night, I tacked in the engine trays on both sides!
Both bumper mounts are fully welded and smoothed out on the weekend.
Will post some pics soon, feels great to have it back in one piece, the dremal will be very handy for getting into these tight corners once the trays are welded, such a awesome little tool, BIG thank you to my brotherinlaw Rob who I nicked it off, chur!


Pics of burnt melted metal

from the welding side

good penetration(snigger)

both trays in

check out my fast and furious rear wing, neon baby!

plug plug

plug plug


everything seems to be in the right place

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So I did some awesome parenting yesterday, little girl=massive nap, little boy=DVD/Xbox



resulting in this



another small milestone.

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not much of a update today guys, mocked up the rear end again just to make sure.


the friggin bumper is still a little to low to get the rubbers on(hu hu) but at least it's flat/even.

I did find another great use for the dremel


try starting a drill right on the edge like this with a huge powerdrill.

And started planning some extra air/speed holes!


if you look at the top pic, the plan is to space out the number plate.
Would like to weld in some later/kab style vents also.

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So any thoughts on the speed holes idea?
I'm a bit worried about rain getting in?
maybe set the number plate like this?


I've spent age's trying to get the engine lid sitting better, not 100% yet but much better, the gap under the vents use to be huge, you could see the top lip that is ment to tuck under the body, alot of bending, tweaking and test fitting.

Welded up the 1300 badge holes


all smoothed out now

Still trying to suss out what to do about the hinges?



both pretty hammered!

I separated the inner panel from the scrap on the other lid I had.


but so far I'm to chicken to cut into my lid.
these hinges are in much better nick.

my options are,
a; grind down the shitty old welds and hope there is enough metal to hold everything together.
b; cut just the hinge area and let it into my inner panel
c; or undo all the spot welds and replace the whole inner panel.

what would brain boitano do?
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Did this last night

cal look, no chrome.











strange I thought how all but one seat belt mounts came out with the belts, kinda good as this held all the nuts and washers together.


this was a not so nice surprise


that little spot of rust bubbling through the wheel arch means there is a major bit of work involving the rear body mounts and that double layer of metal that it attaches too. icon_evil.gif


other side hasn't come though yet.


rust was covered by these awesome period old school patina fulled OG factory wheel arch carpets, must be worth a fortune!

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Carried on with the strip down, just the doors and the sunroof left now, pulled the steering column so that was the last connection between the body and pan.


shitty wiring all gone, yes!
Also purchased one of those hard foam paint stripper things.


wholy awesomenessness!


deals to the rust quite well to!
found a small pin hole in that rear fender, so that will need sorting.

tidied up the hinges, had to make two small patches and weld them in, pretty happy with the outcome.



then stripped the inside of the lid.



metal porn. icon_cool.gif

and finally!


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Finished off the lid on the weekend, still needs a bit of hammering/heaps of bog.



like new!


bare metaled the outside



just love the way naked steel looks! icon_lol.gif


just to show it's not perfect, much better than it was when I started.


and slapped some primer on the outside to.


next job is to remove the car's glass, should be fun? icon_eek.gif

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Pulled the rear screen the other night, damn! I knew it was rusty under that rubber but WOW!
First time I've had to use a pan and brush to remove car parts.


at least 50% of the sill is gone


close up of the nasty


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front screen is out.


not very pretty, but not as bad as I thought


the entire bottom edge looks like this, looks like all the spot welds were drilled out at some point then quickly welded back together? this is how the water was getting under the dash, in a couple places the holes have not been sealed up very well.
There is damage, and or course rust!


gave it a quick wire wheeling, a huge bit of bog came off here.


not so much rust in this side, but man the bog was thick!



Upon further examination, it would appear that the scuttle panel has indeed been replaced before. Damn PO steeling my thunder!
Also found rust hole half way up the pillars, past the patch job. This thing must have been so fucking rusty under that screen seal!
from what I can see so far it looks like both corners on the front screen have been repaired/replaced at come point with some quite nice homemade patches, the weld has been ground down a little, you can see it in running across on a diagonal, then covered in several mm of bog, which is fine, but all these holes in the bottom lip have let water under that bog, which is not good.
I pulled all the door and side glass also, only a few small holes under the rear left side window, right side is mint, door have been "converted" to one piece glass back in the 80-90's as was the fashion, quite badly done, like the quarter lights where just ripped out, so these will need some work, also the drivers side door has had a very hard life and will need the hinges fixed or replaced.
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So i finished this up on the weekend.



I wanted to build one like this but....


the body and indeed the cart need to be high enough to clear the tyres, about 64cm, but as my old skyline shed is only 7 foot from floor to ceiling,

which means I can only raise the shell about 60cm before it hits the roof.

The answer is that the wife should just keep that bloody honda outside! but at 13 years old I'd rather it stay under cover as much as possible, at the speed I work it will need a full resto by the time the bug is finished!
The real answer is i need a tool shed to move all the lawnmower, wheelbarrow, bikes and assorted other crap in, A work mate has a awesomely large one he wants to get rid of, but it's way the fuck over in Howick, and i don't have the space sorted for it yet, soon my pretty, soon.


Also got some steel to brace the shell, another box of woodstock for the boys across the road.
I'm hoping to save the sills, but just in case.
Car looks like this now.


found this, the bottom hinge on the drivers door has been ripped off and welded back together.


removed all the body to pan bolts, the big square washers under the sills have that gold coloured anodizing stuff on them, should have done the whole car! they are still mint and shiny as.


notice one of the big allen head bolt is missing up the top?

this is what it's friend looks like,


it's just spinning while making crunching sounds and dropping red dust icon_sad.gif
Ah well all the others came out pretty easy.

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so photobucket is being a dick so I'll post up some better ones soon.
Ed came round on friday night, roped in a car guy neighbour and the three of us lifted the shell off the chassis.



floorpan is in tip top condition, stoked!



world biggest skateboard!

now shit gets real!
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As promised better photo's




It's a bit cramped with all the bikes and other crap, I have rearranged things a little better now.
the trolly makes working on the shell easy once the honda is outside.


the bracing I welded inside


First up, the body mounts

sorry bad pic.

this is up underneath, looking from the gearbox's view, I didn't know this was here until i pulled the body off, very well hidden.


and after several days of drilling, banging and swearing.

didn't really want to pull these things off, but I'm glad i did now.




these are made of thicker metal like the bumper mounts, badly pitted but should be able to be reused after a sand blast.


and after a quick grind to see what I've got to play with.


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Update time, stuff has been done.
chopped out


spent one afternoon sandblasting, did the side here, the body mount and gave the new patches a little blast.

primed the outside

see that black stuff on the right side, that needs more blasting.

patches ready to go in

took quite a lot of welding, had a few gaps to plug, I drilled four holes though the inside panel and used pop rivets to hold the patch in place while I tack it up, I then drilled out the pop rivets and plugged them up with more weld.
The join at the top was the hardest bit, couldn't get clamps in, so I just worked it into place a inch at a time.

with the car spun sideways, this is the workspace.

and that's that bit done, well nearly, I did find one pin hole and I still need to grind down the inside, but the mount panel seems to fit back on sweet, so once I finish blasting the back of it, that can go back on, may need some more pop rivets.

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I've be less than enthusiastic about was finishing the sandblasting on the rear of the body mount panel, it's dirty, hot, shitty job at the best of times and it's just to hot lately, once again the boys across the road sorted it out for me, they have a 400hp industrial sandblaster in a massive shed, prolly took about 2 minutes what took me 6 hours with my shitty little compressor, WIN!


Finished up the left hand side, welded the mount back on and smoothed out, forgot to take many pics for a change, summer hoils is such a mental time of year.



ground all those evil little spikes off the firewall.


I did get to spend a whole day on the car during the holidays, so i ripped the right side body mount off in about 3 hour, this took about 3 weeks on the first one.


you can also see I had to weld the bottom corners of the firewall back on to the quarter panels on both sides, the bug has had a couple knocks on it's ass over the years, which i think may have kinked the shell a little in this area and the spot welds had let go, so drilled a couple holes, hammered up nice and close and stuck together.


just got this back from the boys across the road, looks brand new after blasting.


the damage.


inside of left side looks okay, will be covered up anyways.


and the inside of the right.


time to get inventing!

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Small update, while the body mount was getting blasted I patched up some small holes that old bugs tend to develop between where the fenders bolt onto the shell



patched up the tinworm


cut out crap


make patch and tack in


carefully and slowly weld up


grind weld down


and because I'm a bit silly I like to smooth it out with a sanding disc


and prime.

body mount looking a bit better.


check out those pits


getting there.

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I needed some more panel steel for patch making, found a workshop just down the road from home, got this bit for 5 bucks, seemed like a good deal.


thought I'd show how I make this patch


template, I made this when I did the other side, so i knew it was pretty good.


trace template


cut out, then hammered flat as the tin snips twist the edges


looks about right


file down the edges and start shaping/hammering

as with most things it's harder than it looks, the panel is concave, so the curve goes side to side and up and down, which means the steel needs to be stretched/beaten into submission.


kinda hard to show in pics.


this is the hole from above, tricky.


starting to rough in the return lip, always amazes me how simple things like this strengthen the thin panels steel and how clever the people how made this seemingly simple cars where.



and bending up the bottom edge, using the mount panel to get the fit as close as possible.



and this is where i cocked up. That bottom fold is actually alot straighter than that, guess the old template wasn't as accurate as i thought. And that is where the problem is with this shit sometimes, It's not until you actually get the patch to fit ALL the edges and the side of the floor, can you see if they fit correctly.
Because I had already cut the shape of the edge when I moved the fold back where it should have been, I had run out of metal, doh! not a problem, just stick some more on!


welds be gone


that's better, trimmed to fit


fits pretty good too, pop rivets like a pro!


weldy weldy


inside looking good


different angle


nearly done.


tiz slow going, got to be disciplined and only do two tacks at a time, then cool with air gun on the compressor.
As I do most of this at night once the tank is empty that's it as I try to not keep the whole hood awake.
So I was looking for something else to do the other night, opened the hood and thought hhmmmmm....


When I had the sandblaster out last I finally blasted the back of the area the water bottle panels attaches to
under where the beam sits.
This will allow me to weld the spare wheel well back together and I'll be able to mount the shell onto a spit of some kind so I can attack the rust in the sills.

but back to the water bottle panel, I'm not planing on using this for the brake fluid res, whether I go duel or not I'll use one of those tanks on top of the MC, also I don't think I bother will the screen washer either and if i do I actually have a brand new tank with built in electric pump off a ford lazer or something, only problem is it's so ugly!

anyway more welding


all done just needs grinding


this sits up the front behind the spare wheel, the plan is to mount a fuel pump and filter in here.

think I need to get me some stock steel rims icon_cool.gif 




no life like the low life!

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The saga continues....

Finished up the grinding on the rear mount


and the inside, come out a bit better than the first side so i must be learning sumfing.


smoothed out the bottle tray


started welding it back in


that fucker is never going to move again!

decided to start working on the fenders.


on the left is the old fender that was on the bug, the middle one is the holey oval fender and the right on is a 60's fender that I first practiced welding on , filling the horn grill hole and the indicator hole.


lace work on the oval fenders, the plan is to use the 60's fenders to patch the 50's ones.


chopped out the shit


getting there


tacked in place



not a bad start, needs alot more work, there is a small ding where the two parts meet on the edge of the fender, after I get a few more tacks done hopefully I can smash it into shape.


I also pulled the carpet holder downer thingy off, I will remove the passenger side one, but the drivers side really had to go, was krusty as



no holes in the sill, should be sweet after a blast.

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Got this thing sorted on the weekend


pretty happy to be sticking things back together somewhere.


smoothed out the tack on the fender while I was at it


see the dent to the right side of the weld, bog fixes erthang!


more tacks



thought I was so fucking clever so i chopped the back of the fender off as well


part of the 60's fender not full of holes like the 50's one.


may have bitten off more than i can weld icon_eek.gif 


it would seem that the oval fender is about 15mm wider than the later one, hhmmmmmmm....

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