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Old 28-09-2015, 12:10 PM   #1
Jonah_Fro
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Default 20 years in the making - '73 1200 resto

Let's go way on back to 1996. When Beetles were still a daily sight on the roads of Bristol, and I bought a 1200 1973 Beetle from one of my old mates. It was in the style of the day: de-chromed, custom interior, pastel turquoise paint job, flower sticker in the back window...

Over the next few years "Thumper" was my daily driver for the commute between Bristol and Bath. While I had grand plans to make the car my own, but all I really did was spew cash into keeping him on the road, and fitting one piece windows.

In 1999 the MOT estimate was the end of the road. Thumper was shut in my mum's garage and a Ford Escort took his place.

In 2001 I moved to a new house, and Thumper moved to a new garage. Ever so often, I'd drink a few beers, sit in the little fella and dream of restoring him. Sometimes, I'd even get the sockets out and take a wing or bumper off. Trouble was, every bolt that came out was accompanied by half a panel's worth of rust; Thumper was not healthy.

In 2009, with the Credit Crunch in full effect, I was made redundant, and finally had the budget (and time) to get Thumper back in shape.

Now I'm nearing the end of the project, I felt it was time to share the story with you guys.

This is Thumper circa 2009. Doesn't look too bad from this angle does he?


This was lurking underneath:







So, I got some quotes, took out the engine, and sent him off to Mark at VDub Resto in Bristol, for some major surgery. I didn't know half of it...
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Old 28-09-2015, 12:22 PM   #2
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The strip down identified far more work than I'd expected:

Front Inner wing removed:


Other side was the same:




A previous monkey had welded the pan to the body, which made a bit of a mess:


When you see your car like this, it's a sobering moment:




So, what began as "Do the heater channels, floor pans, and rear bumper mounts" turned into:
Floor pans
Heater Channels
Front inner wings
Rear inner wings
Rear bumper mounts
Doors
Bonnet
Front bulkhead
Rear cross members

Basically it's the automotive equivilent of Trigger's broom.


Last edited by Jonah_Fro; 28-09-2015 at 07:34 PM.. Reason: correcting picture url
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Old 28-09-2015, 12:30 PM   #3
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Meanwhile, I stripped the engine down to the long block and set about sorting it out.

Tinwear was blasted and powder coated.
CSP spring loaded pushrod tubes took care of the leaks.
Fitted an alternator.

Now it looks like this:


I also got a bit carried away with the wire brush and fell in love with powder coating, so I did the pedal cluster and wheels









While I was at it, I refurbished the entire brake system too.
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Old 28-09-2015, 12:35 PM   #4
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Eventually, the welding work was finished and it was time for him to come home:



It was at this point, that the money ran out. Or at least, I figured if I wanted to stay maried, I'd better stop spending cash on the car. The next step was to get him MOT'd so I could actually enjoy driving the car (on sunny days, so the primer didnt get wet!)



I was so chuffed, he got through his first MOT for 15 years with just a couple of advisories about ball joint boots and brake adjustment. Now I just had to save the cash to get him painted.
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Old 28-09-2015, 12:41 PM   #5
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Saving for the paint job took a long time, and in the mean time, I played around with designing a centre console:


Summer 2015: I took Thumper to Moores Motor's in Clevedon or the paint job.

When I saw him in bare metal, I was tempted to just lacquer over the top. It was a bit of a moment...





He went into pimer last week:





Thats it for now...
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Old 28-09-2015, 06:02 PM   #6
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What a great thread, I can't wait to see it painted. This is an inspiration to anyone who has a long term project which sits untouched for long periods of time.
Also my first car was a '73 1200. It was pastel white but the owner after me changed it to torquoise.
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Old 28-09-2015, 08:58 PM   #7
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Yep agree great thread fella,20 years brilliant.looking forward to the final paint,good work..
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Old 29-09-2015, 01:41 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments. It's been a long time coming, but will get some pics up once the final paint is done.

Got literally hundreds of pics, so might add some more as we go along.
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Old 29-09-2015, 05:55 PM   #9
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great thread
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Old 29-09-2015, 06:16 PM   #10
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Looking forwards to seeing it in final colour.

Threads like this are just the kick in the arse i need to get mine done.
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