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Article: General: Dealing with
Last updated: 10/31/01
I have to preface this text with a disclaimer that these are my own thoughts, there are lots of other "Rust FAQ" texts on the web, most of which I generally agree with. A lot of this article is aimed at doing the minimum to keep your car road worthy and safe if it has rust. It is not about restoration in the pure sense (see "Doing a #4 Restoration"). Before I had the resources that I have now and the '57 I always wanted with a lifetime to restore it, I had daily driver Beetles and limited resources. My approach to body work was dictated more by my available resources and the need to have a car to drive to work the next day than my skills and ambitions. And I think that a lot of VW owners are in that same category.
So before you jump in to any kind of rust
repair, take the time to ask yourself: "What is it that I want to do and
what are my resources and capabilities?". This article deals with that
"basic need" body work. This is NOT a discussion on a years-long, total
disassembly repair/restoration technique. This is "My VW is rusting away
before my eyes, I need to drive it everyday, what can I do about it, NOW".
I live in Massachusetts, a state which pours literally tons of sand, salt and rocks on the roads every year so we can all develop our rust restoration techniques. And I will tell you that I have tendency to be a little fanatic about things (I have lots of those little storage drawer cabinets in my garage and most of my nuts and bolts are sorted by size, most of the drawers are labeled. All of the spray paint cans are in one place on the shelves and sand paper is stored in upright "file organizers".). Don't accuse me of giving "half ass" or "kludgy" advice here; thank me for offering some suggestions on some real life, low buck ways to keep your car on the road. But don't let me steer you away from the "right" way to do it either, if that is what you really want to do. DECIDE what you are going to do (ie.: methods 1 through 4 explained below)....and DO IT! I only have the skills that I have now because I am one of those people who 1) believe that I can do anything (in spite of the fact that I have proven that theory wrong once or twice) and 2) am WAY too cheap to pay anyone to do anything for me.
I have concluded that you HAVE to do one of four things to rust on your car:
Help in deciding what you are going to do....
So the first thing you must do is decide which of these approaches you are going to take. See, I know that while almost everyone would like to do that full, pan-off resto and be gleaming in the sun at next summer's VW show, the reality is, in most cases you just need to keep it on the road (this means that you can't cut it up so bad that you can't drive it to work the next morning) and really would like it to look like you are not ignoring the rust. So to guide you in making your choice, let me offer the BASIC tools, materials and skills that you would need to use the above 4 methods:
How to do it (well, sort of.......)
OK, I can't possibly tell you everything
here. My real intent in writing this was just to give you some good ideas
and tips that really focus on methods 2 and 3 above. #1 is easy, we see
examples of this everywhere in the northeast, and #4 I have completed on
'57. So let me give you the short version of #2 and #3 and then
some basic tips.
Method #2 (remember, just STOP the rust, don't care what it looks like)
There are some great products out there that are able to neutralize rust and convert it to a black, inert substance which includes magnetite (Fe3O4, for you chem. majors). I used to use, and would still recommend, a product called "Extend" (made by Permatex). It is thick milky substance that you brush on to rust and it turns it black. It also comes in an "aerosol" but my experience has been that it doesn't work well from a spray can. The problem with the stuff in either form is that if there is no rust, it doesn't react, therefore doesn't protect whatever is underneath it, and doesn't adhere very well either (with no rust to react to). Take your typical "cancerous" bubbled area in a flat panel, perforated or not. The technique would be to expose all of the rusted metal by wire brushing, with a drill preferably, and then apply the white stuff. The problem is in the area where the rust stops and the good metal starts. If you used a wire brush, you invariably uncovered some unrusted bare metal at the "borders" of the rusted area. This white stuff will do nothing here. In fact soon after it dries it will peel off and expose the bare metal so new rust can form. So be aware. Paint the stuff liberally on where ever there is rust, just surface prep with a wire brush enough to get the loose stuff off and especially any bubbled paint. It will usually dry, turning form white to black in about a half hour. You can accelerate this process (which will be slower if it is cold) by warming it with a heat gun. I basically do this all the time now since I hate waiting for anything the "dry".
A superior product to the "white stuff" though, is Eastwood's "Corroless". I swear by it now and use it anywhere I would have used the white stuff. It is somewhat expensive (as is everything in their catalog) but it is superior because it converts rust like the white stuff AND acts as a primer/paint which doesn't need to be top coated if you don't want to. I paid $16 for my last pint, but I must admit that coverage is very good. At the time of this writing Eastwood's number was 1-800-345-1178 and they had a web page at http://www.eastwoodco.com.
Then there is the issue of covering the treated area. Well my rules about covering treated rust would be:
Corroless, used on the exterior body: Cover only if you have a problem with the color (primer red)
Either white stuff or Corroless used under the car: Roof tar!
For the tar I use an ordinary 2" nylon paint
brush but first cut about half of the bristles length off at an angle to
make it stiffer and give a "point" to push the stuff into corners. The
trick is to "push" the stuff into cracks and crevices with the brush. Eventually
(months) the stuff will semi dry to a gummy undercoating.
Allow me to diverge and mention sandblasting. While I consider this a "#4 class" technique, if you have access to it, by all means use it. I have a 3 1/2 hp compressor and a "blast out of a bucket" blasting gun that you can get for about $25. I use "Black Beauty" (silicon carbide, "black sand") blasting abrasive that I can buy locally for $9 for a 100 lb. bag! (Eastwood sells it- 50lbs for $80 plus shipping, go figure). It is spectacular for those flat body panel, no perforation "cancers". My only caution would be that blasting might remove so much rust that the white stuff might not work. Blasting and Corroless is a true #4 technique for non-outer body panels, used on the outer body is a #3 technique (I'm getting pretty anal about this #1, #4 stuff, huh?)
You might also consider using a sandblasting shop. The one I used to do my '57 body charged $75 and hour for sandblasting services but they had some serious equipment and could do a lot in an hour. Rims, for example, were about $10 a piece, a Beetle hood, both sides, was about $35.
So there are my New England tested tricks for STOPPING rust. Just remember:
Method #3 (remember, STOP rust, repair/restore the structural integrity, still don't care much what it looks like)
Go read "Method #2" if you haven't already, because #3 is just some metal work after you treat the rust as you do in #2 but before you cover the treated area. While I chuckle when I see a car on the road with bondo applied with a garden trowel to the rear quarters, I have to give guy credit for at least trying. I know so many people that will just watch their car waste (rust) away, day after day, and do nothing, sort of like putting sour milk back in the refrigerator and hoping "it might be better tomorrow".
So #3 is really about putting back metal
that rust has taken away and restoring the structural integrity of the
car. It is not about using bondo, glazing compounds, leads, primers and
paints. That is all #4 stuff. While I now routinely use inexpensive wire
welders, in the interest of fairness I will not mention them as part of
a #3 solution since I did not mention welding as a resource needed to do
a #3. But let me just say that if you have access to a .024" MIG welder,
you can do #3-like repairs (replace metal, restore integrity but don't
car what it looks like) and I would definitely recommend it over the fastening
Tools You Need
We can all be cheap when it comes to buying tools. About 7 years ago when I easily snapped a flea market quality 1/2" breaker bar trying to loosen lug nuts, I decided I had had enough, and vowed only to buy top quality tools from then on. I prefer Sears Craftsman tools because, as we all know, they will unquestionably stand behind them. Home Depot now sells a brand called "Husky" that is good and very affordable (and also has a lifetime guarantee too, I think) You need a good quality pair of tin snips. Ones that will cut up to 18 gauge metal. I bought a pair at Sears for about $12, if I remember correctly, about 5 years ago. I have beat the coating off the handles with a rubber mallet trying to cut "thick" metal and they still work great. Also a set of titanium drill bits are key. Lots of times you cannot exert immense pressure on a piece of sheet metal you are drilling and a good sharp bit will save the day. You can get a good 1/16"- 1/4" set for around $15, I like the titanium "bullet" tipped ones best. And of course the wire brush and drill are key. You should also seriously consider getting 4" grinder. Harbor Freight sells one for around $20 that is a very good value. These will take down metal very fast. For a picture of this tool, see Page 1 of the "#4 Restoration techniques.
Here's a trick that I did not mention in
the text for #2 above. When using wire brushes on a reversible drill, reverse
the drill often (every 10 minutes of use or so). This prevents the bristles
from getting bent over too much and also makes the brush much more effective.
The tips of the bristles will develop angled surfaces quickly based on
the rotation of the brushing. When you first reverse the drill you will
notice a much better "cutting" of the bristles on the metal.
In the absence of welders, I recommend 1/8" aluminum rivets for fastening in the new metal. They are cheap, easy to work with, low profile and won't rust out. You can get a rivet gun for around $12, or borrow one. If you are not familiar with rivets, the basic principle is that you drill a 1/8" hole through both pieces of metal you are fastening. A rivet is a cylindrical piece of aluminum with a "pan" head on one end. A steel pin passes through the rivet and has a bulbed end on the side opposite the rivet head. The rivet gun grasps the steel pin from the head side. The "headless" end of the rivet, pressed up against the bulbed end of the pin is inserted into the holes in the two panels. The rivet gun, when the handles are squeezed, pulls the bulbed end of the pin through the exposed rivet cylinder on the other side of the gun and panels such that the rivet deforms and "squashes" against the inner panel. When the deformation is against the inner panel and the handles on the gun a squeezed further, the pin, just below the bulbed end and inside the rivet cylinder breaks off, releasing all but a tiny piece of the pin that is still inside the rivet cylinder. (whew!, trying to describe the simplest things with words is tough, go buy a box of rivets, look at them, and this will all make sense)
The rivets I described are called blind "pop" rivets. Blind, because you don't need to have access to the other side of the panels you are fastening, and "pop" because the pins break off once the rivet has supplied sufficient pressure to the panels. I would recommend riveting every 2" along the edges of panels, closer on irregular panels and at all corners. Make sure that the head of the rivet is on the outside of the car, this makes covering/sealing the repair easier. The technique for replacing metal is pretty basic:
The Bad News You Don't Want to Hear: RBR (really bad rust)
There is a saying that "any car is restorable". I believe this. I also believe that given the right amount of resources and money, the Titanic could be salvaged and "restored" into a really neat amusement park ride. In writing all this stuff about rust, I began to realize that I might want to warn the reader about "bad" rust. I call it "bad" or "doomsday" rust because when you have this kind there is no easy way out. You can't do a #2 or #3 on it. Your rust has eaten up multiple panels of the car and the bolts or whatever holds them together. It may very well have weakened the structure of the car and often may make the car UNSAFE to drive. ONLY A #4 WILL FIX "BAD" RUST and it almost always requires taking your car apart a lot more than you can possibly do in a long weekend; and it usually costs lots of money and requires lots of #4 type tools and skills. I know that you didn't want to hear that, but we have to be honest about this.
In my experiences, I have run in to "bad" rust in 3 locations on the Beetle, and while yes, I sometimes did apply some #3 techniques to it, I knew I was only buying some time. And this doesn't mean that these are the only locations for "bad" rust, but these are by far the most common. (if you are looking at a Beetle to buy and it has this kind of rust, keep walking)
This kind of rust is very often underestimated,
especially by the novice Beetle owner. It can start in the battery floorpan
area and spread, but often starts inside the rearmost area of the heater
channel. This is the rust you find mentioned in that too-good-to-be-true
ad "'56 Beetle, body solid, just needs floorpans. $500/obo". This is probably
the area of poorest design of the Beetle body when it comes to longevity.
This area has lots of strikes against it:
So how do you know when you have bad rust? Well a picture would be worth a thousand words, but I'll try to keep it to a few hundred. Those of you unfamiliar or even moderately familiar may need to go out and look at this area to know what I am talking about, because it is not very obvious where the "pan" ends and the "body" starts. ALL of what is visible underneath the car IS NOT the pan. The pan(s) bolt to the underside of the heater channels, which are part of the body. Look under you car, start somewhere halfway between the center (tunnel) and the running board, that would be the pan. As you go toward the outside, running board area, you will see a row of bolts (13mm, I think) that are in a shallow, wide "groove" in the pan. This is what holds your pan to your body, or vice versa. These bolts go through the outer edge of the pan and into nuts welded to the INSIDE of the heater channel. No continue your visual journey past the row of bolts continuing toward the outer edge of the car. The outside of this "groove" that the bolts are in forms a metal "channel" that is perpendicular (points to the ground) to the pan and has a big "lip" rolled into the edge of it, about 3 inches from the edge where the running board bolts to. This channel is the outer edge or your pan. It is usually pretty beat up and may be bent or collapsed if some bonehead shoved a floor jack under this part to lift the car. (If you did this, you're not a bonehead, just inexperienced. See the "How to Lift Your Beetle" article) Your pan ends at this channel. Everything farther outside of this is the body of the car, or more specifically, the underside of the heater channel. This approximately 2-3 inch wide inch area tends to rust out when the water collects in the back of the heater channel. You can now follow that up to it's edge, around a lip, and then go vertically up the side car in the area that the running board bolts to. Above the running board area, between the rear fender and the back edge of the door, is the classic "rear quarter panel" area.
So when is rust in this area "bad"? Well,
to start you need to remove your running boards, and this will be your
first test. They may have already fallen off, or close to it. You may find
that the rearmost bolts are not bolted to anything. If any of the bolts
"twist out" their rusted nuts which are welded into the inside of the heater
channel, well, this is not a good sign. (you may want to use the "Hot Socket
technique" is you suspect weakened heater channels. See the "Tool Techniques"
article) Now, get a small flat blade screwdriver and start poking. You
are focusing in the lower area between the front of the rear fender and
the rear part of the door opening. I know this is hard, it's natural that
you don't want to poke through the skin of your car with a sharp object,
but you have to push hard. Good, unrusted metal won't be "punctureable"
with a screw driver. Poke around all over the place. Most often these channel
cavities rust from the inside out, so it may look like good metal but actually
be paper thin. Poke the under side of the heater channel (outside of the
pan edge), the running board fastening area. Poke the back end of the heater
channel, from inside the rear fenderwell. If you suspect damage higher
up in the visible quarter panel area, poke here too, but hard poking on
good metal will damage paint and expose bare metal to rust, so unless you
don't want to sign up for some kind of "chip repair", don't poke in the
visible body panel area. Plan on dabbing on paint or roof tar on all the
places you poked (remember, the idea is to stop rust, not start it). When
any more than one of the following are true, you have most likely have
"bad" rust in the rear quarter area:
Bad rust in the front bulkhead area
Hopefully you read the previous text on rust
in the rear quarters/heater channels. Because I am not going to explain
the scientific "poking" technique again. This rust prone area is basically
the area between the "firewall" (behind the pedals) and the front beam.
It is pretty easy to see where the pan stops and the body starts here,
but you may want to jack up the car, take one or both wheels off and really
crawl up under (see "Lifting your Beetle" for
tips on safety and lifting). You can also take your gas tank out, if it
is convenient, to get a good look at this area from above. In particular
you want to look at two areas. The back of the firewall where the master
cylinder mounts and its equivalent area on the passenger side). This is
a much heavier steel than the "body" type sheetmetal but it tends to rust
What makes this rust potentially unsafe is when the bosses holding the master cylinders rust out and weaken and then, in a panic stop, you rip your master cylinder right out of it's mounts on the fire wall; until you hit that pickup truck 'cause your car doesn't stop, then it comes back inside the car when the whole front end collapses. Pretty scary. Get out the screw driver and do the pokin' thing. Press hard, you are only fooling yourself if you don't. They guy in the pickup truck will appreciate it. If you perforate any of the area around the master cylinder, you have "bad" rust. This area is part of the pan, not part of the body. If you have rust on the passenger side that opens a hole smaller than a quarter, I would say you can patch this using the #3 technique, and plan on it because lots of water will come in here.
The other area up front you want to look
at is the whole front beam mounting area. This bulkhead is actually very
beefy, but suffers also from "body cavity" syndrome. My theory is that
water accumulates in the tunnel and sits up near the front beam, especially
if the front of the car is even slightly lower than the rear. Look closely
underneath at the frontest part of the pan where it meets the front beam.
Poke. I hope it goes without saying that if this area is rusty, your front
beam, and hence the attached wheels, steering and brakes, are in jeopardy.
If you have ANY perforation here: "bad" rust.
Bad Rust in the Lower "A" Pillar
This rust really should be pretty evident without a lot of poking. I am talking about the area where the "A" pillar (the part of the body that the door hinges bolt to) meets the top of the heater channel (door sill). This rust is exacerbated by water collecting down inside the a pillar. To view this area open your hood and get a mirror and a flashlight (or if you are creative, a 12 volt parking light bulb on a pair of leads, as mentioned in the "Reattaching the clutch cable tube" article). Illuminate that hole on either side of the car (yes, one at a time) just under the hood hinges. You will need the mirror to be able to see the bottom. When either the upper corners of the hood seal and/or the lower corners of the windshield seal leak water (rain), it drips down into this hole, sits and that's right, rust forms.
Now before you go shoving you arm way down there to try and reach some old tool or some coins that you now see at the bottom, let me give you a pointer that the inside, tender area of your arm will appreciate. At least on the '57 through '68 Beetles I have owned, the carpet in the inside firewall is held in place by glue and nails. That's right, little short nails with twisted splines so they get a grip when pounded through sheet metal. And the sharper sides of these nails poke into the dark hole that you are looking down into. But they are small and can be easily missed. So before you shove your arm down there, get some pliers, go into you car, under the dash and, even if new carpet has been glued up there, pull it down and pull any nails that you see out. Aaahh, those little "tricks" of working on VWs. That's why I wanted to write all this stuff (and if you look real close, you can still see the scars on my arm).
Now if you were able to retrieve stuff from the bottom of the hole from OUTSIDE the car, well, you have the "doomsday" rust in the lower "A" pillar. Like the other "bad" rust mentioned, it ain't fixable by a #2 or #3. They make all sorts of replacement panels for the lower section, but replacing them REQUIRES welding and materials we're not talkin' about here. When this area is really bad, it may often cause the back end of the door to sag. A quick check if the pillars "look" OK is to pull up on the door handle hard with the door almost closed. If there is any flexing at that lower hinge, call the coroner.
worth mentioning, if you discover yours aren't so bad: The defroster tubes.
These are a hard to find diameter of (I think) 25mm or about an inch. In
my old '57, they were made of a "spiraled" steel and spot welded to the
little flange in the top of the heater channel at the bottom of the "hole".
I know this because I have removed the entire quarter panel from the drivers
side of my '57 (see, I AM doing #4 stuff, see the '57 resto pages). This
is one of two ways to get open access to the bottom of the "A" pillar "hole".
The other way is to cut a hole from the inside at the lower edge of the
kick panel behind the carpet. Suffice to say that neither one of these
things are trivial (your other option is to remove the entire front quarter
panel like the picture at the left shows...). Later models used the
carboard/foil type hoses that would rot out at the bottom about 5 months
after the car left the factory (well that's and exaggeration, but a little
"sitting" moisture down bottom, and they go quick). In summary, I never
relied on the "A" pillar tubes to provide defrosting heat (see my "Heating
the Beetle" article). What I did do to ELIMINATE any water getting
down there, and I would only cautiously recommend this, was to remove the
tubes and fill the holes up with that expanding foam stuff that you can
buy in a can (on brand at Home Depot is called "Great Stuff"). Right up
to the level of the underside of the dash. Yes that's right, my theory
was "I'll just make sure no water can get down there". You could actually
see it through the heater vents on the floor "sneaking" down from above
once it hardened. Seemed to work on the '67 I did it on. You decide on
that one. Not exactly something you want to do on a vintage classic, but
you shouldn't be driving that car in bad weather anyway.
Let talk some more about heater channels
I get asked all of the time about replacing heater channels. Is it worth it? How hard is it? Where can I go to have it done? While I have never personally done it myself, I feel confident in presenting the following list of
There are some websites on my links page that show pictures of heater channel replacement.
But very quickly, what is the heater channel? Well, it is a hollow, multi-walled "tube" that runs from just in front of the rear torsion tube ends all the way along the lower edge of the sides of the car to the bulkhead where the master cylinder is bolted. It is a key structural component of the car. It houses a hollow tube that carries heat (yeah, right) up to the front floor vents. It is the front floor vents, it is the door "sill", it is the thing that the running boards bolt to. It is all of these things.
(Left side shown)
And all too often people ask "Should I have it done?" before they ask "Can I have it done?". Heater channel replacement is not like having your house painted by someone. You won't find anyone listed in the yellow pages under "Heater Channel Replacement". They guy who you would want to have replace your heater channels would be an old VW bodyman who cared about your car, quoted you flat rate for the job and took as long as he wanted to do it. Yes, many of the skills needed are common "body shop" skills, but some are not. Someone with a basic "chisel, patch and weld" technique, who is most interested in getting your car out so he can get the next one in, might get the job done but will look like crap, diminish the value of your car and you may have structural problems down the road.
If you seriously want to assess this job, first go find out what a replacement channel looks like. You usually can see them at the larger shows and many good catalogs, even Hot VWs ads, have pretty good photos/drawings. They usually run $130-$150 a piece. Once you see what one looks like, you will have a better idea about how it fits into your car, and what is involved in putting it in. Pull up the front footwell and rocker panel carpet, remove the rear quarter panel(s) and rear seat bottom. Remove your running boards (if they are still attached). You will now be able to see just about as much of your existing channels as possible. Examine them front to back and you will see how many different places that they are welded to other panels in the car. They are welded to the back upper floor where it rolls down toward the seat back, the lower edge of the rear quarters, the bottom of the B-pillar, the bottom of the A-pillar (hinge facing edge and inside the footwell area), the front quarter behind the front wheels and to the bulkhead cross member.
The old channel must be carefully cut away
in all these places and there must be good metal present to weld the new
one in. "Filled hole" MIG spot welds are best and closest to the original
assembly. MIG butt and stitch welds may also be used but will definitely
not look "factory". In any case, extensive welding is required.
The job can be done with the body on the car. It is a bit more difficult
working around the pan (unless it (they) is being replaced too) but it
does help keep the door opening square.
As I said in the "buying" article, I wouldn't
"walk" on a '51 for $1000 because the rear running board area was rusted
through, but don't just lump wholly rotted channels into the same aggravation
factor as a hole in the pan or a dented fender. Heater channel repair is
Your options if you have "bad" rust
If I were in law school, I would tell that you have just one option- stop driving the car, for fear of some kid throwing some roof tar over a gaping hole in his front pan and then suing me when his front end flops off when he hits a pothole doing 75 mph. I do believe that you should evaluate your entire situation and let safety be your FIRST criteria.
"Bad" rust in the rear quarter panel area, as I have described it, has little effect on the structural rigidity of the car. But a #2 or #3 approach to rust in these areas will, at the most, buy you a little time. Some cutting, some patchwork with sheetmetal, some sheetmetal screws, wire brushing and lots of roof tar bought me a couple years in my "salt beater" '68; but all the while I knew this car needed major transplant surgery or was on it's deathbed. No matter what you do, aside from a full heater channel replacement (aka: "a #4"), will effectively stop the rust inside the rear heater channel.
You can buy replacement front end (bulkhead) panels or maybe find a clean new pan at a wrecking yard, but again, this is #4 territory.
So your options are:
A running example of all of the discussed techniques (light reading) ....
Something happened to me when I got married (well, a lot of things happened actually). I had just finished as much of a restoration as I could afford on my '67 and got it a $700 paint job, when I decided it was too nice to drive in the winter anymore. A couple other things influenced this too:
I mention this because this car truly became the embodiment of method #2 above. Visualize this car: I stripped off all of the body molding from this baby blue Beetle because some rust was starting to form around the holes, treated the rust and then went around with silicone in a caulking gun to fill the holes, leaving little silicone "Hershey's kisses" on the hood that stayed there for 4 years. I took off the running boards and riveted new sheetmetal over treated rustout on the rear quarters and then applied a coat of roof tar from underneath to about 8" up on the quarters. I used extra wide foam weather stripping between the hood and body (see the "heating your Beetle" article) that stuck out all around. I had some trouble with the ignition switch so I just wired a switch on the dash and a push-button underneath so no key was needed. This car was a true "salt beater".
One of its many duties was to deliver the trash bag to the end of my driveway on Friday mornings when the garbage truck came by. My driveway is 150 ft. long. I would toss the Hefty bag full of trash up on the roof of this car in the garage and then back down the driveway slowly picking up speed. Just before the road at the end, I would cut the wheel slightly and hit the brakes hard. I got pretty good, I could usually deposit the bag right at the curb edge. I remember looking forward to Friday mornings before work.
It was a car that made a statement. People in the Lexus's and Jags did a double take and aborted the merge next to me in the city; people in the parking lots avoided brushing up against it and mothers yelled to their curious kids "get away from that thing"; a shopping cart in a good empty space at the grocery store made my day and curbs and median strips were just minor inconveniences (although my rear camber compensator mysteriously disappeared after some "curb climbing", I never found it). I kept the interior meticulously clean, but the closest the exterior ever got to a car wash was some overspray from when I washed our Jetta next to it on the driveway.
I used a hot glue gun in December to glue a string of 12 volt Christmas tree lights to the drip rails (maybe you saw me?). I drove it in a caravan to the Manassas VW show one memorial day weekend. At rest stop a guy's teenage girlfriend and I were talking, she asked, "So, what color are you going to paint it?" I faked insult and said matter-of-factly, "it IS painted". I always thought that there should be a new class at the VW shows: "Best use of body fillers and miscellaneous adhesives" I used this car and a length of rope to tow home the engineless, brakefluidless, one-emergengy-brake-cable-working '57 Beetle I restored (that's a real exciting story in itself, see the My '57 Beetle Restoration- page). In fact, we had to DRAG the '57 out of the barn it had been sitting in for 6 years as all 4 hubs were frozen and had to be beaten into agreeing to roll. I used this car as what in southern sections of the US is referred to as a "stump puller", to rip unwanted shrubbery from the front of my house. I carried so much pressure treated wood on the top when I built my deck and porch, on a homemade roof rack, that I cracked 2 body-to-pan mounts. I miss that car. But I drove it 4 years and 80K mi before I sold it for $500. That's VW value to me.
Copyright© 1998; John S. Henry
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