The BugShop: Project '57, pg 8

This page last modified- 11/3/01

Now you get to look a something other than the inside of my garage.

And an interesting comment about the time it "takes" to restore a car like this (with all things considered); a few nights ago I dug out my old spreadsheet file that I use to keep tally of the costs on this project. I hadn't entered anything on it for a while. I have been telling people that I have been working on this car for 6 years now. As it turns out, I bought the car in October 1991! SEVEN years ago! And I have been working on it all that time. No, not constantly, but I have been working on the car steadily during that time. There was no period of months that went by where I didn't touch it. This is a peeve of mine, I always "made" myself do something on it every week (well, almost every week).

What are the ugly side effects of working on a car for that long? Well for one, you buy some new parts for it, only to find out later that you actually already bought those same parts years ago.

So the car finally gets "out" and gets sandblasted and in a body shop. While this is very encouraging, I am trying to be realistic about how much work is left to do. Remember the whole chassis is totally done. But I have to do headliner, interior, new wiring, dash, steering, etc. I am really looking forward to it though. If I can get it painted this month, I can spend the fall/winter putting it back together and will find myself waiting for a shiny spring day to get it out and drive it.

Parts Pile

Here's all of the "unboltables" from the car. The brown-ish "W" decklid behind the doors is an extra one that I picked up at the Litchfield CT show this past June. I will have it sandblasted, dollied out and primed. Half of me wants to sell it to scare up some funds for this resto, the other half wants to hold on to it if (God forbid) somebody pops me in the back end.


Ready to Roll

Believe it or not, 4 fenders, 2 doors, 2 decklids and a hood are in that tiny trailer (was like a big "VW Parts" puzzle). The gas tank is in the car. That little department store "kit" trailer ($150) has been VERY useful over the years. 


This is when the panels were all done a couple days later and I was picking them up. Fortunately it wasn't raining (but hurricane Bonnie was rolling up the coast). They were done at "Prep Rite" in Tewksbury, MA (About 30 min NW of Boston 978 453-0006). The doors are already in the trailer, those "rings" on the hood are the rubber headlight to body seals that were still in the fenders.


On the Highway

This picture didn't come out quite like I wanted, but it is pretty cool. In the rear view mirror, I could see the hood strapped to the top of the trailer. It was kind of cool, like "part of" a Beetle following me down the highway. Can only see it a bit in this picture. 

Paint Booth!!

This is the paint booth at Tom's shop "Whiting's Auto Body" in Maynard, MA (978 897-9735). Actually, the parts were just put here for storage over the weekend, they will go to another part of the shop for some metal work prior to coming back in here for primer. The things in the middle of the floor are "tables" that are used to support parts while they are being painted.

Here you can see the decklid, gas tank and a rear fender. You can see bondo on the decklid and fender. I was a bit surprised that the sandblasting did not just rip it all away, but it is pretty gentle and only removes the surface coating. This car had been popped in the rear a bit, evidence of hammering is visible on the underside of the decklid. Tom will strip off all of the bondo from all of these panels and dolly out the dents; professionally. The gas tank opening has been taped up with duct tape by the sand blasting shop. 

This is the hood (duh!). You can see bondo on it's edge too. Tom slid his hand over the lower crown and said "This needs work". I said "I looks fine!!". He said "close your eyes, move your hand slowly over the curve. Feel it?" He was right. A lot of panel assessment is done with the hands, not the eyes. These "early" hoods are getting hard to find an pricey. The '62 and earlier ones don't have the little pressed circle "pedestal" up near the windshield for the VW emblem to sit on. If you have any of these hoods, save them!! 

This is the "Paint room" at Whiting's Auto Body. Tom is able to mix any color of paint from these tints and bases. The paint supplier (Spies Hecker, pronounced "speez hecker") provides computer software that interprets the paint codes and determines the exact mix. My '57's paint is called "Diamond Green Metallic" and it's paint code is L412. My wife calls it "Metallic Puke".

This storage rack is actually quite a marvel. If you look close, across the top of each row of cans, you can see a chain, like a bicycle chain. The tops on these cans have little stirrers built into them with gears on top that mesh with the chain. And when you press green button over on the lower left, a motor stirs all of the cans in the rack at once! The paint is supposed to be stirred for 15 minutes each day (timer on the control panel). The can tops have little "pourer" spouts on them (a lot like the chrome pancake syrup servers you see in the diners) that allow you to dispense the paint into a mixing cup a drop at a time. 

These are the two "W" decklids that I have, the one on top is the one from the '57. It has had extensive work done on it and is sprayed with white "HS" (high solids) primer. As you can see, it is as smooth and clean as can be. Underneath it is what is now my "backup" decklid. It was sandblasted and sprayed with etching primer. It needs a bit of dollying work, but I'll leave it as-is for now. 

Wife: "Where do you think you are going to keep those panels until the body is done??"

Me: "In the guest room; of course!"

She would have told me to take the clothes off the bed before taking the picture. You can see the decklid and the left front fender, in HS white primer too. They almost look "plastic" huh? 

Here's Bill and I lifting the body shell onto the trailer. This was actually much easier than I had thought it would be. The shell weighs 240 lbs (109kg) and we could easily pick it up, step across the tongue of the trailer and set it on.

You can see the blocking on the back end of the trailer to hold the body up to clear the trailer fenders; the body is a bit wider than the 4 foot wide trailer bed. You can also see the wooden dollies that I had made to roll the body around on. I actually took these to the sandblasting shop with the body for them to use.

[Bill wanted me to make sure I said that there isn't tape on his glasses, it is just a flash reflection on the wire frames. That's me in the back.]

Here's how you get a 12 foot body on an 8 foot trailer. May look overloaded, but the trailer actually weighs more than the body. And below, notice that the Beetle body, with no bumpers, is longer than my Cabrio. (Did you know that a Beetle is only 9 inches shorter than a VW bus?)

I'm pleased to report that the body made the 33 mile trip to "Prep Rite" in Tewksbury MA with no problems. The backroads to get to I-495 were a bit bumpy, but I stopped and cinched down the straps before I got on the interstate where I got lots of looks from passing cars.