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My Beetle build. Polish it everywhere.

Crusty Sills

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Now that my 1969 Beetle 'Buzz' (kids named him) has finally passed his MOT I though I would do a build thread just to show what I have done.

So rewind to 2009 hold on to your pineapples, roof racks and VAG hatred and ill treat you to many pictures and words.

I have always wanted a Beetle from about the age 13 but never had the time or space to work on one or enjoy one. I bought Buzz off of Ebay and promptly got an MOT on him ready for the summer.

I only used him a couple of times then I took him off the road to restore.


This is how he was when I got him.








As you can see it was a child of the 90's scene with horrid purple paint, smoothed dash and vile upholstery.

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I shall follow this with interest.  I have a '72 Beetle (non-pineapple spec) in the garage that my wife bought back in 2001.  It's never been restored, just repeatedly bodged up over the years, including by me.  After a lengthy lay-up I finally got it recommissioned 18 months or so ago and it lasted around ten months of daily use before the engine kersploded.  That was back in August and it's just sat since then.  I'm starting to think I should really crack on and learn the skills to restore it properly.

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I'm in.


Taff Jr has decided (at the ripe old age of 14) that it has to be a Beetle for him as his first car, so (in the interests of AS), I shall do what I can to prevent pineappling.


I also suspect that I shall be  afforded the opportunity to pay for the thing as well. Still, it's not like I need food and stuff, is it?

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Im assuming from your avatar that its possibly now a sensible colour.


My daughter wants a Beetle. It doesnt help that there is one over the road from us sat languishing on a flatbed and has been for several years.


On the plus side she is 9


There is time yet to convert her to something nice and hydropneumatic

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After I returned from a holiday in Sept 2009 I came home to find a lovely letter saying that according to the DVLA records the registration number and the chassis did not match.

I did some digging and found out that at some point the floor pan had been replaced and not been registered so was still on the original number plates.

As this was previously on a paper based system it didn't register but being computer based it was discovered.

So with this is mind I did what all good Autoshiters would do and jumped in to stripping the car without thinking anymore about it.

More on that later.


With the car in my lovely double garage I set to strip the paint readiness for the 12 month project.


The paint was very gummy when I DA'd it a clogged all the discs I used so I used some old Nitromors (the stuff that tingles your skin under gloves) which did its thing and removed everything in lovely long strips.

There was 1/4 inch of filler in the rear quarters which after removal I worked out the was absolutely no need for!

All of this was the part that I really enjoyed being an old paint sprayer.






With the paint coming off quickly it was soon time to actually take the car apart to get to all the hard t reach bits.

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That's lush. I really like that lilac wonder.


Yeah yeah, cue pineapple comments. You can even call me a nobber if you want. I love seeing original, beautifully preserved examples of cars but I also think it's fascinating to see how trends went, you can date a VW down to the year by looking at the colour, wheels, style of dash and comparing to magazines.


There's a BackTo89 club with lots of the old scene VWs restored to their show days. They're brilliant, I'd rather they were mixed in with restored cars than having endless original examples.

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There's a BackTo89 club with lots of the old scene VWs restored to their show days. They're brilliant, I'd rather they were mixed in with restored cars than having endless original examples.


I was going to mention Back 2 89 club but didn't think anyone would get the reference.

the thing I like about Beetles is the range of looks and scenes there are. I know that they are not to everyones taste but on the there were millions made and each to their own.

I know that much of the scene is very much repeated and recycled but the majority of it makes me smile.

With the exception of rat look which just upsets me as a paint sprayer, I do like a shiney car.


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I was on Volkszone for a while, I watched Stu set up B289 and all these old cars came out of the woodwork....

A mechanic mate of mine used to have a squareback in metallic green with purple geometric shapes painted onto it, and he sold me a fastback with a good 3" of filler across the dashboard, finished off with kitchen lino. But again, he'll happily take a Karmann Ghia back to original condition one month, and the next month fit a turbo whaletail to a 1303.


Those were the days!

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Is it as cliquey as it ever was? It changed hands, I was one of the cool kids when it grew out of TotalVW and enjoyed being like volkswagen-forum-royalty. One by one, the old gang moved on and all these new kids thought they ran the place. Then it was flogged to some Canadian forum business who keep emailing me with roadtests of brand new Golfs and the best winter tyres to fit to a Toureg. 


TBH it was never a good source of information apart from one or two people who knew lots, but often argued between themselves. 


Anyway, end of thread drift - sorry :)

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There's a BackTo89 club with lots of the old scene VWs restored to their show days. They're brilliant, I'd rather they were mixed in with restored cars than having endless original examples.


Never heard of B289 before, but I like the sound of it - even though I'd generally prefer an original looking car. As you say, they're like a mark of their time so interesting to look at if not something I'd hanker after owning.

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Another plus vote here for the lilac and the seats.  Looks like it's only really had a recolour, a smidge of lowering and some different wheels, that's barely even a sprinkling of pineapple juice.


Will be interested to see the progress made on this one, Beetles can be spectacularly horrible underneath the paint.

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Will be interested to see the progress made on this one, Beetles can be spectacularly horrible underneath the paint.


That's the truth! One of the worst (early 90's), most spectacular MoT-Fails I've ever seen was a beautifully presented, shiney chrome and red Bug whose owner sneered openly at my rather tatty '69 MGBGT when we both bought them in for testing.


He was a good deal less smug later that day when we both showed up to collect our cars, the B - passed, no advisories, the bug had a fail sheet the likes of which I'd never seen before and not seen since, they ran out of space on the fail form and had to continue on a sheet of A4 - mainly regarding the utterly rotted chassis and suspension.

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Beetles are notorious for being like automotive armadillos - smooth and shiny exterior, utterly squishy underneath. Most of this is because they were unloved as "classic" cars in the 90s (given that they were still in production, that's understandable), they were dirt cheap. Because they were dirt cheap, they were bought by penniless people. Who then couldn't afford to actually keep the car in good order, so each MOT would just see another layer of underseal over a heater channel hole.


Also, once the popularity picked up, a million garages rebranded as Custom VW shops. The wob tanker would arrive on a Monday and unload 25,000 gallons and the rest of the week it would be used to cover up rust and "smooth" bits of any old Beetle-shaped crap they found in the free ads, generally in place of that tedious welding lark. A quick blow-over in something pastel, lob a set of Astra GTE seats in, sorted.

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Just before I started stripping the Beetle fully a friend of mine asked if I would respray his car for him, it took longer than I thought but it gave me some money and I do like painting!!








With that finished and a lovely coating of red dust over most things in the garage I cracked on with getting the car stripped. With it being a separate floor and body it was easy enough but at the time I was doing it by myself!!




The floor pans only needed a little welding under the battery and then the floor got a coat of stone chip and 2 pack black.

The engine came out and had a full strip which showed no issues but the strange purple paint on the tin wear had to go so I sent off for powder coating gloss black.


Wanting to put the car more original I started working on the smoothed dash, although fiddly I ground off the welded plates and made it all look good and it was coming together.

All of this was coming along nicely but then came to a grinding halt when I was hit by a bit of a messy divorce which meant I lost my double garage, walking out with only the Beetle and my clothes.

Having to pack up a car in bits and move a load of stuff to a new house was not nice and I didn't work on the car for 9 months whilst I wallowed in self pity.


It was thrown in the garage with the floor in 1 place and the body stored round a friends.




This leaves us at the end of 2011, way off my 12 month time frame and a shed load still to go!












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When I got divorced, I bit my tongue and kept the peace.... until a mate with a trailer turned up to take away my VW Fastback from the driveway to a place of safety. Then I could start answering back :)


Looking forward to the updates, it does look like it was one of those rare "good jobs" originally with only a bit of welding.

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Up dates a bit slow as I'm on nights this week.

Welding wise it was very good only a bit on the floor pan, some original seat runners fitted and a few holes in the body that were no longer needed. It had been done several years ago but from what I can tell was hardly used and never really finished properly.

I found a few bodges, a bit of fibre glass and loads of unnecessary filler.

Divorce is shit, although should have learned the first time round!!

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