1970 Volkswagen Beetle
In about 1990 I decided that I wanted to restore a Volkswagen Beetle. I found a 1968 model and spent the next two years restoring it. We drove it for about three years and sold it. I then found a 1973 model, spent about two years restoring it, drove it for about a year, and sold it. About this time my wife decided that she wanted one of her own, so we started looking for another one. We found a 1970 and set out once again on a two year restoration project. The picture to the right is what the car looked like when we unloaded it at my shop.
As you can see, it was in terrible shape. In fact, of the three, it was the worst. It was obvious that a complete body off the pan restoration would be necessary. The car had been wrecked in the past and there was a great deal of body work that would have to be done including complete replacement of some panels and the fenders. An incomplete engine was included with the car that would have to be rebuilt. But for $200 I felt like I got a reasonable deal and was confident that the car could be restored to like new condition. The picture to the left was taken soon after removing the body from the chassis.
The early months of the restoration were spent on the chassis. New floor pans were installed. The brakes were rebuilt including new shoes and wheel cylinders. New shocks, tie rod ends, ball joints, wheel bearings, and most everything else that could be replaced was. Fortunately the transmission was in good shape. Just needed cleaning up.
The engine was rebuilt to stock, 1600 CC. New pistons, rings, and cylinders were installed. The case was line bored. New rod bearings, cam bearings, and main bearings were installed. The heads were rebuilt including new valve guides. Of the three Beetles I had restored, this was the only one where I actually split the case. All of the tin was cleaned and painted. And of course, a new muffler.
Restoring the body was probably the most difficult part of the project. I spent many weeks of filling, sanding, filling, sanding...... As soon as I thought it was good enough I'd find other problems. The rear apron was in such bad shape I had to replace it. The car had been wrecked previously and most of the old body work had to be sanded out and refilled. There were a couple places around the rear window that were rusted completely away that had to be repaired. The luggage deck behind the rear seat was rusted so badly it too had to be replaced. I was able to get that replacement part from the same person I bought the car from. The front deck lid was also in too bad of shape to use. I was also able to get another one of them from the previous owner of the car. Lots of Bondo, fiberglass, welding, and hours and hours of sanding went into the body. Though I did all of the body work, I am not a painter. I had the painting done by a professional.
As you can see in the picture to the left, all of the work was worth it. We chose a New Beetle color to paint it called Arctic White. Though we don't drive the car daily, we drive it as often as we can just for the fun of it. It's a pleaure to drive. Smooth, quite, peppy, and best of all, it even smells like a Beetle.
The interior was completely redone including the headliner. We chose a tan color, cloth on vinyl interior. As an added touch, I was even able to find an original 1970 Volkswagen Beetle Owners Manual.
The completed engine compartment. Nothing special here except the look of a factory fresh Beetle. Though you can't see it in the picture, the license plate holder says "1970 Volkswagen Beetle".