Your mind isn’t playing tricks on you – you’ve seen this VW Beetle before. Though probably in slightly better condition.
Editor Charlie kindly let me talk about Roland, my 1974 Volkswagen 1303, back in November on Retro & Classic Cars, and now he’s kindly letting me talk about him some more, as he undergoes restoration.
If you’ve not read the original post, please do so. It saves me wasting valuable pixels explaining it all again here, when I could be talking about why he’s in hundreds of pieces strewn all around my parents’ garage.
Getting him to that stage has been more difficult than you’d think.
There are a few things to contend with on older cars, that you don’t necessarily find when renovating or modifying something made more recently.
One of those is seized bolts, which are an almighty pain in the backside to deal with. They’ll usually free after liberal splashings of WD40, but there’s no guarantee and less important ones get the hacksaw treatment instead. It preserves the thread they’re attached to, and I’ll inevitably end up replacing a bunch anyway so I don’t mind the odd bolt having to die.
The next is all manner of nasty substances scattered around the car. In no particular order; road grime, rust, dust, tar, soil, insulating fluff, rust again, oil, paint flecks, more dust, and even more rust. I’m hoping there’s no asbestos in there, but I’m not making myself any promises.
It makes working around some parts of the car – the interior, more than the exterior – a little unpleasant.
Talking of rust, I found some. And then I found a little more. But surprisingly, that was where the rust stopped. It’s had a poor repair to part of the floorpan at some point in the past, which is where much of the rust is focused, and also the location of most of the aforementioned nasty, sticky tar.
The worst of the rust
I’m no welder, so after the car is fully stripped down it’s going to see a professional to fix this. Then it’s going to come back to me and receive plenty of coats of paint to ensure rust is kept firmly at bay.
So far, I’ve managed to remove the front and rear windows and the two rear side windows, much of the interior, the dashboard, the seats, and the headlining.
One stripped Interior. Check.
Add this to the four wings, bumpers, side steps, the engine cover and various parts of engine, and there’s around 27 hours of labour in it so far – though not a penny spent.
The Beetle looking a little bare without its arches
It’s probably not going to stay like that for long, so I’m savouring the empty balance sheet while it lasts.
The welding awaits…
That’s all there is to cover for the time being, though hopefully Charlie will invite me back again at some point and I might have something else to show for it.
A lack of rust would be a great start…
You can follow Antony here.