It's been a while since I'v been around these parts, let alone posted anything! But now comes the time for something new. So first, a bit of history!
Some of you may remember my Bug from a few years back... it was a 75' 1300 Beetle when I first got it at the age of 17 back in 2006, all pretty standard stuff and I ran it as it was for a year or so until the summer of 2008 when the Cal Look thing bit me. I decided at the time that I wanted to change a few bits on the bug and make it my own. So I started sourcing 67' only parts as I loved the look of U.S Spec 67' Beetles. I already had the upright headlights so ultimately it was a case of buying bolt on parts and I was most of the way there. I also wanted to drop the nose a bit and give it all the little Cal Look traits along the way.
As these things do, things soon started snowballing as it became apparent the bug actually needed a fair amount of bodywork doing also... Rear quarters, front quarters, heater channels, sills etc. etc.... you know the stuff! Cutting a long story short, the bug ended up having a minor resto (thread here if your interested... https://www.volkszone.co.uk/VZi/showthread.php?t=468543
)... full body blast and respray in its unusual Marino Gelb colour combined with a new lowered front beam, GT box and a new 1641cc engine as its original 1300 was on its last legs. A family friend who restores aircooled dubs did all of the work, but during my summer off from uni, I spent most of my time down at his workshop helping out where I could, seeing the bug come to life and ultimately, learning a small amount along the way. I continued to use this as my daily driver for the next 2-3 years (covering A LOT of miles in the process).
by Tom Meazey
, on Flickr
by Tom Meazey
, on Flickr
I am now 26 and my life is a lot different now having made the move from the flatlands of Norfolk to London back in 2010. Having worked in the big smoke for 5 years now, the bug doesn't get as much use as it used to do. Not wanting to keep in down in London with me and out of harms way, it stays up in Norfolk with my dad and gets taken to the odd show every now and then and is used whenever I'm up visiting. I'm 9 years older now and tastes have changed... I'v grown to like the idea of having a car that is original (at least from an aesthetic point of view) and I guess I'v grown to see the value in that to some extent. Having had 5 years away from the bug (for the most part) naturally I started to conjure up thoughts in my head of what to do with it next... If I were to go back to before all the work that took place in 2008, what would I do differently? And so it began...
I think there's a lot to be said for a really nice, clean late bug these days. You see a hell of a lot of nice, clean early Beetles but when it comes to late bugs, I don't think they are as common. Having done a bit of research into my bug in particular, I already new a bit about its background. Turns out it was a 1975 1200 Deluxe model, so left the factory with a 1300cc engine, had a padded dash etc... things that were considered deluxe back in the day! It had few optional extras (the most exciting being a passenger sun visor) but apart from those few things, it was a bog standard 1200 Beetle painted in its unusual colour (I can only assume the original owner requested this colour when ordering it). The more I thought about what I would like to do to the bug and the fact that these days it hardly gets used, it made sense to me to take it off the road and to start seriously thinking about it's next chapter... So I did... Just this evening in fact!
Now for the good stuff... It's probably worth stressing at this point that this whole process will definitely be a slow one and will not necessarily all happen at once... its more likely to be in stages... and I dream BIG (you have got to aim somewhere right?!) so plans may change a long the way... but I like to think I'll get to where I want to with it at some point. I don't have a pile of cash of any sort to delve into so certainly for these next few months, not a huge amount will happen to the bug itself but time will be spent collecting parts for it and scheming!
My (BIG) plans are as follows...
• First off... KEEP IT CAL LOOK
I love the nose down stance of Cal Look bugs so this wont be straying far from my mind. I want to keep it period correct as much as possible... So for example period aftermarket wheels with period matching rubber on all four corners etc. The details will be there. I want it to look like it would if VW did a Cal Look bug back in 75'. 'Correctly' and subtly modified for want of a better phrase?!
• Take the shell off the chassis and have the chassis blasted, repaired, sprayed and fitted with all new fittings (shocks, brakes, dropped spindles, beam, wheels, the lot). The chassis I don't think has ever been touched (apart from the odd weld to pass an MOT) and it looks very dry and crusty). I want to be able to drive it knowing I'v got a solid and well put together car underneath.
• Have the shell blasted, source OG 75' front wings, rear wings, front valance, rear valance, bonnet and engine lid and turn it back to how it should be... a 1975 Beetle! Having had a majority of the body work done a few years back and it sitting in a garage for the last 5 years, I'm hopeful there wont be a huge amount of rot/rust, if any at all, so hopefully bodywork will be minimal and it will be more of a case of straightening out anything, getting rid of dents and imperfections and the like. Naturally with that comes all the other bits an bobs... new lights, bumpers, trim etc.
• Fit an entirely new interior. Refurb the seats (or buy another pair if needed), re-trim them all in new vinyl, fit a carpet, new door cards, a new headliner, hunt for a mint condition OG padded dash as my last one was hacked to death when the bug got broken into one time and just generally give it all a good tidy up. I have a bit of a theme in mind when it comes to the interior... I'm toying with the idea of a nice tan interior accented with black but not 100% sure yet... matching an interior colour to a yellow car is tricky without going down the route of all black and I don't want to do that. I want to try and do something different. Porsche dials will definitely feature somewhere but thats all I'm saying for the time being
• Have a new wiring loom fitted through out.
• A pokier motor would also be lovely, but that is just a twinkle in my eye at the moment!!
I'm sure I'v forgotten many things but as you can see, they are fairly big plans! I like to think I will get there with it eventually but as I said above, particularly to begin with, it will be a bit of a slow start. Now that I'v taken it off the road, I have a reason to get cracking with it as I'll miss driving it and hopefully starting this thread will keep my optimism and excitement running high!
Watch this space!