Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Don't let my lack of blogging send a message of inactivity and procrastination. Progress on the Nautilus does indeed march doggedly, if haltingly forward.

The mildly aquatic backstory surrounding the Nautilus was recently validated by the State of Colorado during the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspection process. A VIN inspection is a mandatory requirement for any car being 'newly' brought into the State of Colorado. For cars that can not be physically brought to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office--which is still the case for the Nautilus--the local police department can be called upon to do a 'field inspection' of the VIN. So far, so good, and a police officer was dispatched last week to do the deed. During his visit, VIN/Make/Model information was collected and a achingly long trip back to the squad car ensued. Turns out that an abbreviated VIN search for the car revealed that the VIN number was already registered in the State as a watercraft! The police office informed me in a most serious tone that my car is a boat! He quickly ammended the comment with an, "Obviously it isn't", which did nothing to reassure me. All things considered, what an unpleasant coincidence. It left me in turns both amused and annoyed because the last thing I need at this point is a title transfer hassle. After all the care taken to restore the original chassis and car body. Turns out my fears were generally unwarranted. The police officer sorted the issue quickly and validation was completed. Or, so I thought, because when I presented the paperwork just 10 minutes later to the kind folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles--with just minutes left before closing time--they informed me that title transfer processing could not continue because there were a number of incomplete fields on the VIN verification form. Queue raised hackles, righteous posturing and finger pointing. Hackles or no, I was flatly denied that day. I did immediately rush over to the police department to reconnect with the very apologetic police officer who did the inspection to get the final details on the form ironed out. The return trip to the DMV the next morning was blessedly uneventful and I now hold official paper on the car. The car buying experience is now out of the way, but don't get me started on the late fees for Registration! My only remaining thought there is to be extremely thankful that they cap this value.

But now, back to the fun stuff that is car restoration.

I had Gabriel Garcia re-key the NOS door locks to the NOS rear pushbutton lock code. I also located a decent used glovebox door lock and Gabriel re-keyed that, as well. So you know, the Type 3/34 family of cars was issued with two different key types from the factory: one for the ignition, and another completely different key for everything else. As the years fly by, these very Type 3 specific kyes are getting quite a lot harder to find in their original Kolb and Huff steel forms. Along with the re-keying of the locks, I also decided to have four more steel door keys cut by Gabriel. All around, he did a phenominal job, as usual.

The craft currently has a set of five early stype wide-5 Type 3 slotted wheels mounted, which are certainly NOT correct for the car. Nevermind that you will never actually see the center disks on these wheels, the point is that I KNOW they are on there and not correct. Which galls me worse than a tight #3 rod bearing. So, very early this year I purchased a set of five proper non-slotted wide-5 Type 3 wheels from Texas and recently had then powercoated. Will get them mounted up once the car comes home. Attention was paid to not powercoating the wheel-to-brake drum mating surfaces and lug bolt holes to prevent wheel losening under loads and stress. Great information was shared on der Samba that a factory alert was issued back in the '60s detailing a problem with the paint being too thick on the backsides of the wheels and brake drums right from the factory. The remediation was to remove the paint and reassemble. Those of us now restoring cars are having to painfully re-learn this lesson. When it comes to wheels coming loose and leaving their cars, I'm a quick study in the mitigation for such things.

And beyond all doubt, I do have to say that Jeremy with Motorworks did an outstanding job on the front beam installation. And speaking of front beams, irony pounced upon the project here again, as no sooner was the ISP West rebuilt front beam installed in the Nautilus, than did a source for all of the beam bushings, seals and bearings in NOS condition appear. It's now entirely feasible to have a stock front Type 3 beam rebuilt. Funny how that always seems to be the case, what with Murphy and all his confounded laws lurking about and underfoot. Unfortunately, I still don't have a numbers matching front beam for rebuilding, but when I eventually do find the right one, we're all set. BerT3 was very helpful in getting these parts together for me, along with a rather early set of balljoints that have the provisions for grease nipples. In case you don't know it, having a whole set of this early front beam stuff in one place is exceedingly rare. I'm still happy that I had the ISP West rebuilt beam installed because it really compliments the rest of the undercarriage. Who knows? That beautiful front beam may just end up living in there permanently.

Something that's becoming increasingly clear with the pressage of years is that more than a few 'make-do' parts will have to be used on a modern day Type 34 restoration. The term 'New Old Stock' (NOS) is rapidly being superceeded by it's evil twin 'No Longer Available' (NLA). Improper storage of the NOS rubber and plastic widgetry is impacting availability by lending both time and entrophy a helping hand with an expedited demise. A lot of these delicate parts quickly fall apart in the best of conditions, but it's really sad that these parts will never actually be installed because they are literally rotting on the shelves of Type 3 parts hoarders. Even when these parts are made available, you're gambling when purchasing them. One must be careful even with the reproduction parts. For example, I've never actually seen an original and unused NOS Type 34 hood and/or trunk rubber seal, so chose to use the generic stuff ISP West is selling to cover this mandatory requirement. Remember--I actually plan to actually drive this car. In inclement conditions. Wet and/or snowy ones. Unlike everything else I've gotten from ISP West, this generic seal material is a major disappointment. Motorworks temporarily fashioned up and taped a makeshift seal into place using this material when doing the final hood and decklid alignment. Jeremy sent me some cringe-worthy pictures of where the front and rear lids refuse to sit flush with the rest of the body with the makeshift seals in place. The materials used for these ISP West seals are too firm and improperly shaped, and the two problems result in a seal that doesn't compress well enough without bending metal. Obviously, this is not a good situation, but there is a viable workaround thanks to the Type 34's little brother, the Type 14. It looks like the Type 14 hood rubber will form a great basis for both the Type 34 front hood and rear decklid seals. The major downside is cost, because four of these seals are going to be required. CIP1 is a good source for these seals in case you're in the market for either your Type 14 or 34. Another possible source for seal material is a modified early Type 3 front hood seal, but will have to test this out and note my findings later.

The Nautilus is undergoing some fine tuning at Motorwork Restorations right now and should be done by mid-January. As these pictures show, both the fit and finish of the front hood is still not quite right. Until it's corrected, I'm in absolutely no rush for it to be delivered. The longer it takes to finish, the better the finished product. All the more likely the engine will be done and ready for installation. I am still finding parts that are better than those I already have, so parts acquisition is definitely still in progress. I'm also finding the time to go through my parts stash. I've sorted them now by quality or grade, which is making it easier to decide on which ones will go on the car. Still not sure which ones will be kept as spares (if any), and which ones I can let go of in support of other Type 34 restorations. I've already been severely burned by letting two items go that I should have held on to.

In closing, I wish you all a very safe, healthy and happy Holiday Season. May your own automotive projects be fruitful in the coming year!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Building a power plant for the Nautilus, Part 1

Time to start building an engine for the Nautilus. After all, I actually plan to drive it, not trailer it. It's been better than 16 years since my last VW engine build and there are aspects of this that I'm certain will be a challenge. I used to put together some very good engines and we'll have to see if my skills remain intact.

The original plan for this engine was to go bone stock with it, but I discarded that notion as purely sentimental. Stock early Type 3 engines are fraught with inherent design flaws. Why reinvent that same old problematic wheel? How about taking the good parts and ideas from the much loved original power plant and marry them to what was good and wholesome in the later engines? Build the 1500S engine, but this time with a few internal improvements. Nothing Earth shattering mind you--just apply the updates that can be implemented simply to improve the reliability.

The Nautilus did not ship from the previous owner with an engine. In fact, it did not ship with much more than a body shell. The transmission and unoriginal front beam where there, but much of the pan was rotted. It was left to me to find an engine. I've searched for a decent core engine for many years, buying up a number of potential candidates for a '64 power plant. For some reason, I always seemed to stumble on '63 model year cases easily enough, however it was only very recently that fate lent a hand and gave me what I sought: a nearly numbers matching engine case with an original Type 34 provenance. The engine number on the case could have been installed in another Type 34 the very same week the original engine was installed in the Nautilus. What an unbelievable stroke of luck! All for a bargain price of $40.00. FINALLY!

Early Type 3 engine cases, unfortunately, suffer from the same pitfalls and weaknesses of their Type 1 40-Horse brethren. Engine cases from this era of VW production actually suck. While you really wouldn't want to base your 2-liter hot rod engine on such a crank case, a 1500cc or possibly a 1600cc engine is just fine. With a few case modifications, you can also work through some of the low oil pressure issues caused by the anemic output from the early oil pump. Cam bearings, head stud inserts, uprated lifters and cam, blueprinted oil pump, balanced internals, using a cross drilled 8-doweled counterweighted crank are all factors that play in the favor of longevity for an engine based on a 40-Horse engine case.

I did indeed decide to go with a counterweighted 8-doweled 69mm cross-drilled crank, with a tapered flywheel junction to allow the use of an O-ring flywheel seal. The flywheel used is an O-ring 12V 200mm flywheel, with the 12V ring gear machined off, and new 6V ring gear pressed on. The rods are brand new VW high performance, with self-aligning caps, balanced end for end, and for total weight. The pressure plate is a stock 200mm unit. The pistons and cylinders are a complete NOS Kolbenschmidt 1500S dome top piston set, with cylinders that have the narrower and more numerous fins for better, more even cooling while under operation. I am intentionally aiming for a compression ratio of 8.5 to 1, which was stock for this engine. To further increase reliability, I have decided on the the use of later square rocker boss Type 3 heads. Cooling on these heads is far better because of the cooling fin configuration. Equally as important is the square rocker boss design that helps to prevent unfortunate valve train incidents as I motor on down the road. What is particularly interesting about the heads I've chosen is that the combustion chambers were cut into a hemispherical shape, similar to those done by Gene Berg. This should allow for a better fuel mixture burn, particularly when coupled with the 1500S dome top piston. This could possibly help keep things a little cooler and possibly reduce the chance of 'pinging'. The problem is that they will need further flycutting to bring the compression ratio into specs and I'm hoping there's enough meat in them to do this.

I used to build VW and Porsche (356/912) engines that would generally go for 100K miles without a lot of fuss. There is always a heavy reliance on quality machine work to make this happen. I chose to go with RIMCO for the case machining. The flywheel, rod and crank machine work was excellent, however the packaging done for shipping was poor. The crank and pressure plate hit each other in shipping and the pressure plate may have been bent a little. It was definitely dented, so I decided not to use it and will use another brand new one I have in stock, along with a brand new set of VW high performance rods I've had around here for years gathering dust. The fan, crank pulley, bolts, pressure plate, flywheel, crank and other hardware were all recently checked and balanced by Denver Balancing. I also had them balance the NOS 1500S dome-tops pistons, too, so this should be a very smooth running engine when assembled.

Compared to a 356 piston, the 1500 S piston is actually fairly tame. The dome measures approximately 5.1 cc's. Regardless, they are plenty cool and being NOS German Kolbenschmidts makes them fairly rare, too.

There are still a few parts to round up, but I'm getting some help with that. Jay at NuVintage VW Parts in Arvada, CO, had a NOS set of VW lifters in stock and also provided me with a brand new camshaft. The rest of what I need is fairly common and I might even have them already in my parts stash, but I need to have a set of carburettors rebuilt.

My hope is that I have the engine ready to bolt up when the car arrives home. I don't think I'll actually make that deadline, but it will be close.

Part 2 - Putting it all together--restoring the original fasteners

As promised, I'm finally posting up the Type 14 'ST - Standard Parts' list from the Type 14 Parts Book. As fascinating as the Type 34 'ST - Standard Parts' list is, this one's even more of a page turner and should put you right to sleep, no problem. It's mandatory reading for the purist, is a full 7 pages long and includes a few additional fasteners that the Type 34 list doesn't have, but does actually use...which somehow gives me pause to wonder..."Why are these parts missing from the Type 34 list?" Could it be that my part book is out of date? What else might I be missing?

As much as mulling over the inconsistencies in ST Parts Lists absorb my waking hours, I still find the time to enjoy a bold tasting beverage now and then. Putting the distractions aside for a moment, I realize that the cold, frothy depths of a great beer does a lot to set the stage for some creative thinking, if not creative action. So, I'd like to break this post up a bit and present some unrelated material for you to dwell on. And it does mostly concern beer. Beer is good. If you drink it AND are over 21 years of age in the US, go get one now. Better yet, go grab a good Scotch. A great Scotch is even better. You'll probably be in good company because it's very possible I'm enjoying one of my favorties on a given evening. Responsibly and in Moderation. Or, maybe I'm even brewing up something nice for later. I've certainly selected something nice from the following list to celebrate my 1 year aniversary for this blog. I never thought I had the attention span and brain cells to keep it going this long!
If you're coming up short on ideas for your adult beverage choice and are looking for huge taste, I now offer up some reasonable suggestions--presented in no particular order:

1) Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Mountain Brewery. Rest assured, you ARE worthy, regardless of packaging assertions. Go the 22 oz bomber. While you're at it, go whole hog and make it a Double Bastard. You probably won't regret it. Much. Also available in a magnum size for self obliterative purposes. I presented one of these bad boys to ISP West during the '09 Classic and they cracked it during the 'after party' for their annual BBQ. Definitely got a two thumbs up.

2) Balvenie 21 yo Portwood. When funds are plentiful, this is my 'daily drammer'. It's just that good. Makes a great Christmas or birthday gift...for me.

3) Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, Great Divide Brewing Co. Another big tasting beer, neither overwhelmed nor tamed by oak aging. I liked this one so much that after I sobered up I called the brewery to let them know.
4) Lagavulin 16 yo. A grand old Islay Scotch. Truly recommended and is a rite of passage for any Scotch whisky aficionado. Some say it used to be better, but I can't even imagine how. Sidenote: there's no real point in seeking out the '91 Distiller's edition, but it's a nice one too!

5) Small Batch 471 India Pale Ale, Breckenridge Brewery. It's another enormous taste of a beer with tons of malt and hop flavor, made in small batches. I prefer the 22 oz bomber bottles over the 12 oz bottles because some bottle conditioning definitely occurs after the cap goes on and the larger bottle isn't so fizzy. Batch variations occur, which adds to the adventure. There's also a small batch ESB by this brewery made in the same small batch manner, but it's flavor fell a bit flat with me--though your mileage may vary. I plan to try it again, soon.

6) Glenmorangie 10 yo. Big bang for the buck! Look for the new packaging to take advantage of the new product formulation. This stuff is outstanding! Even the Malt Advocate agrees!

7) Hazed and Infused, Boulder Beer Co. Reminds me of an IPA beer recipe I used to use when homebrewing. I dry-hopped it to expand the finish. This commercial product has a wonderfully floral nose and powerfully hoppy finish. Takes me back...to the front porch at the McMennamins High Street Pub in Eugene...or even Triple Rock, in Berkely. It's a hauntingly familiar experience, that way.
8) Talisker 10 yo. Nice, distinctive peppery finish, somewhat subdued these days over the old batches, but my understanding is that they are trying to get this characteristic back into the product in the current releases. In my opnion, there is little point in seeking out the Distiller's Edition, but the 18 yo might be a worthy dram. However, the 10 yo gets the job done, with change to spare.
9) Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium Brewery. Of everything on this list, this one's a nice, congenial, balanced beer that goes well with just about anything edible, just about any time of year. I had forgotten just how good it was, until recently when I was offered one by my neighbors as a token of appreciation for some yard work I did for them. I actually ended up with two, and now plan to buy a case.


10) Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist, or 'Lair of the beast.' Good Lord, this one is tasty! Recommended over the 10yo on the basis of complexity, alone--and the 10yo was Jim Murray's whisky of the year for 2008. So you know it's good, assuming you can stomach a whisky with the Islay character. And that's a character profile I like.

11) Bruichladdich 3D3, "The Norrie Campbell Tribute Bottling". They might as well subtexted this, "Distilled for Greg Skinner's Private Reserve", I like it that well. My wife gave me my first bottle of this for Christmas last year and I was amazed by both the heavy handed peat and the beautifully complex fundamental character of the whisky. A guy I work with once commented on the Talisker 15yo, "If Duraflame made a whisky, this would be it." Well, Jeff, the 3D3 beats that one by a mile. Highly recommended for any 'peat freak'.

12) Bourbon Barrel Stout, Odell Brewing Company. This last one is a newly discovered favorite. I won't be buying it much because it's rather expensive. It's an extremely potent and well done Russian Imperial Stout that's been aged for 4 months in a Bourbon whiskey barrel. Each bottle I've tried represents my all time personal favorite adult beverage flavor nexus. While I'm actually jealous that I can't make a beer this good, I am in turn quite thankful that somebody can.

Now...back to our regularly scheduled blogging...
Remember that what you have in the ST Parts lists is some substantial knowledge to allow you to put your car back together correctly. Safety comes into play here, as well, because black oxide coated parts are stronger than their bright zinc plated brothers. If the ST Parts list calls for a black oxide plated part, Grade 8, DON'T SKIMP! Even if it looks prettier. There's a reason VW originally plated parts they way they did. I don't know about you, but I can't think of a reason to try to second guess them on this point. Be safe!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Italian Design

I've got to admit that I really like this car. Normally, I consider the Ferrari marque a bit pretentious, but maybe that's just the envy of this car guy's ability to buy and drive one showing through. These cars are hellishly expensive to own, and I consider insurance and maintenance costs prohibitive. And if I dropped the coin that this car costs, I'd be looking for a 4-cam Porsche 356 because that's where my head's at. Still, what we have here is a Pininfarina designed F355 Spider owned and enjoyed by my friends Terri and Kevin, making an uncommon visit to our home to deliver some wonderful cigars. Ah...the good life. While we Volkswagen enthusiasts make a whole lot out of the limited production of the Volkswagen Type 34 family cars, this Ferrari model of course has us beat by a longshot. And it's the most common Ferrari model produced--so far. What you've got is a five year production run of 11,273 units between '95 and '99, which included two limited production runs within that range. While this car isn't one of the last 100 built--one of the exclusive 'Serie Fioranno'--it's still a blast to ride in. One of these days, maybe they'll actually let me drive their F355--and I'll let them drive my freshly completed Type 34. I'm sure that'd be a real treat for them. LOL!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Nautilus hits its second show

The Nautilus makes its second car show in an unfinished state with its recent attendance at the NuVintage Bug In at Bandimere Raceway, just outside of Denver. The car was brought in with the Motorworks Restorations crew and was to be delivered again to my home after the show. While the car didn't get delivered, what I saw at the show was the best version of the car, so far...and it's going to get even better!

What might not be commonly known is that on the Type 3 cars the spare tire well is a bolt on item that fits into the front trunk area, just ahead of the front beam. This goes for all Type 3 models. As one may or may not suspect, the spare tire well for the Type 34 is a very Type 34 specific part. Yet another one, and the three of these I have are each hammered in some nearly terminal way. So, we are actually trying to resurrect at least two of these from the three I have. Motorworks Restorations needs the car to fit this panel as many times as it takes to get the shape of the part right. I've also asked Motorworks to buff out some relatively light scratches that made their way onto the car's paint as part of the rear latch carrier install and to clear the paint and bodywork from the script mounting holes on the nose and rear body panels. On a bare metal panel, the script mounting holes are just a hair over 3mm in diameter. Lee Hedges received information from Franck Boutier that an Audi 'barrel nut' will work as a decent replacement part for the original Type 34 script thimbles, with are very NLA. I gave Motorworks a dozen of these nylon barrel nuts to use as a guide. During final assembly, I plan to work these nylon parts over a bit to make them a lot more invisible to the casual observer. The collar is a tad too thick and diameter too large, which shows around the edges of the scripts. This minor flaw is easily fixed with a bit of fine grade sandpaper wrapped around a piece of flat glass, but the availability of the base part is a big hurdle cleared for me for the final assembly process. Ultimately, I want to be able to easily remove my car's scripts during polishing and waxing operations to prevent product buildup behind the scripts, which I consider tacky. I insist that it's all about the details and doing the job right, though some will see it another way. Those folks know me too well.

The color of the car is amazing to me. It's a '63-'64 Karmann Ghia specific color referred to as L514 Emerald Green. I like emeralds and the way there's a blue flash through the green in a real, non-artificially grown stone. The color on the Nautilus does the same thing and I believe the effect is compounded by the use of a base-clear finish, and the shadowing along the sides of the car when under direct sunlight. There was nothing else at the show like it, which caused a lot of comments on its own. Nevermind the car was a Type 34. If I was looking for a color that flies under the radar, I clearly missed the mark. This is a stand-out color for a standout VW, specifically developed and determined by me, and expertly applied by the Motorworks Restorations staff. The paint is actually a year and a half old and is now hard as a rock and aging very well. I am both stunned and pleased with the results and next to some nice shiny new and re-chromed parts, this car should present exceptionally well. Now...as to when those parts will be installed? Well...I really don't know. I want the bodywork done first. The parts will fly onto the car fast and furious once I actually start installing them, starting with the wiring harness. I still need gauges redone and an interior sewn up, though I do have an original one entirely in black. That was a distant 3rd option for interior color for this paint scheme. Expect to see an authentic silver beige/gray heat seamed door panel combination, with silver beige vinyl with authentic cloth inserts in the final product.

A Type 3 Floor Pan Manifesto

I'm a purist, an idealist and a realist--which often puts me at odds with myself on the topic of what an automobile restoration actually means and how the finished results should be. In short, I'm willing to spend the money required to get a car within that 95% or better nearly correct category for restoration quality. I've hesitated for while now in wading into this topic...but I can no longer resist.

Type 3 floor pans are a serious bummer. They always seem to be rusted through and there's nothing authentic, new and readily available to replace them with. The small battery tray repair panel that is available from sources such as C1P is never large enough to deal with the later stages of pan cancer on a car. Just so it's clearly stated, the original Type 3 floor extended front to rear, side to side, as a single large stamped panel, with the tunnel welded to it. Front beam and rear subframe bolt to it. Lots of metal, with unique angles, bends and curves. In a Type 34, the seat rails must also weld directly to the botton of the floor, so when the Type 1 Ghia pan halves are used for the restoration process, one quickly finds that they aren't shaped correctly, by default. This can be worked though, but at additional cost, and again the authenticity suffers. The purist rages, the idealist rolls eyes heaven-ward and shrugs, while the realist smiles.

The purist is really looking for a huge sheet of stamped steel with correct bends and contours that represents the full pan, tunnel optional. The realist knows that this is improbable and idealist is willing to accept a new pan half. Both the realist and idealist know this pan half can be installed nearly invisibly by a talented body shop without breaking into the retirement fund. The purist remains un-swayed.

Where the idealist and realist part ways is with the use of used floor pan panels. The idealist wants new, but the realist uses whatever comes along, just to further the project, knowing the new panels are not to be had, because T3D either doesn't have them or is not returning emails at that time.

After having bought at reasonable prices and shipped at unreasonable prices 9 pan halves and having ended up with Swiss cheesed results after media blasing on every one--despite notable sellers claims of solidity--I can absolutely say that I wish I had had a new panel option to go with. The realist ended up costing me FAR more money in the long run than the proposed pricing of new Type 3 Klassic Fab floor pan halves, which the idealist in me is more than willing to pay.

Let EVERYONE, et al, keep their used crap. When restoring your Type 3 pan, insist on new pans. Let Gerson at Klassic Fab know you need them and in turn help them keep the faith to make them!

You can email Gerson at Klassic Fab by clicking here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

NuVintage Bug In at Bandimere Raceway




















Just two short weeks away...and this year one of the Presenters will be....






Which is ALL good! Maybe the Nautilus will make an unfinished appearance at the Motorworks booth???

Saturday, July 18, 2009

VW obsoletes the Type 34 model line--40 years ago.

On July 31st, 1969--just 40 short years ago--Volkswagen officially obsoleted the Volkswagen Type 3 Karmann Ghia. I really don't know the exact date...I don't even know the exact last VIN #. I guess I really don't really care enough to do the research, but the numbers are out there for you to discover. The point is that starting on August 1st, 1969, the assembly line at Karmann was turned over to build other cars. Possibly even to support capacity for the 914 Porsche/VW collaboration.

Call me nostalgic. Like many, I never had a hope for buying one new. But I do continue to work to make the Nautilus as close to 'like new' as I can. In the coming weeks, my car is coming home for final assembly. I'm still trying to get parts lined up to support its completion, so I suspect I still have a year or two ahead of me to really get things dialed in. We have so few reproduction parts sources that we have to sometimes use what comes along, then replace them as better parts become available. It will probably be a lifelong pursuit, really. A lot of people are right there with me, which adds to the challenge, but also can foster a spirit of cooperation.

That's just the way it is for those restoring a low production numbers car, obsoleted 40 years ago.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pictures from last Motorworks Restrorations visit

I've decided to post a few quick of the Nautilus from my last visit to the Motorworks Restorations shop. These pictures were taken with my car in their new location, which is now across the street from their old location, still in Colorado Springs, Colorado.



To the right, I'm starting to get used to the lines on this car--but it sits too high for my tastes. I think it will naturally lower itself as the new and reconditioned parts pile on.




Below, this is an inviting shot...but not too comfortable, yet. The shift knob and e-brake handle are temporary items to help shuttle the car around the shop.








My camera can't capture the color of this car. I'm tempted to bring my wife's camera with me next time.










Really turned out nice. I can't wait to put stuff back on it. Why haven't I? I want it clean and correct. There are still a few adjustments to make. Oh--and a sunroof clip to install!









Hard to believe I want to hack this roof off. It's perfect as is, really. There's still a chance I won't do the conversion, but if it's ever going to happen, now is really the time for it. Hashing it out thoroughly now saves me from later regret, I guess.









To the right is probably my favorite picture of the batch. The amount of effort to do things correctly in this area, and to have a shop willing to do it the way I want it, results in what you see, here. Not glamorous, but you know it when you see it. And even if I'm the only one to appreciate it...that's enough for me.







Saturday, June 27, 2009

The road to restoration nirvana is paved with inconsistencies.

I don't know why this bugs me, but it does. The problem is that the two Type 34 specific NOS headlight buckets pictured to the left and below is...well...they don't match. One of these things is not like the other. Both came right out of a VW 'blue box'. Both were obviously made at different times, possibly by different part suppliers. Both do have the Hella logo on them. Maybe one was intended to be used on the assembly line, and the other was provided as an OEM part through dealership parts supply channels. I really don't know what the deal is, but I feel a certain compulsion to ensure that parts used on the Nautilus match from side to side. There must be symetry. Even for parts you can't see when the car is put together. Regardless of function. Maybe this way of thinking is symptomatic of the entire restoration process being used for the Nautilus. Maybe this explains why my car is still in pieces. I have heard that perfectionism breeds procrastination. When I get some time to really completely think that concept through and come to a full understanding of it, maybe I'll reconsider my restoration process.

In going back through my parts stash, I found six rusty headlight bucket assemblies, four of which were largely complete and undamaged. Only two of these had no paint overspray on them, which makes me think that these were original to the Nautilus because it had not been repainted on the nose prior to my having it restored. (By the way--some of the other headlight adjusters will eventually go up for sale, because headlight adjuster assemblies generally don't go bad all of a sudden.) One thing that was consistent for all of the Type 34 assemblies is that the backside rounded bucket section of the adjuster was painted black, not gray. This more or less jibes with info I have on the Type 14 Ghia assembly line headlight adjuster parts I've pulled from the early cars over the years. On the Type 14 adjusters, there is an outer chrome ring which when removed, exposes a black inner ring. Generally speaking, US destination Type 14 cars only had the early style headlight adjuster assemblies up through the first half of the '64 model year cars. Since the Nautilus is a '64, I decided on the fashionable black backside for my own second bucket restoration, rather than the gray that would probably be 'more correct' for the later '60s Type 34. Enough of the rationalizations to cover for my anal retentivity. It also turns out that the metal stampings that make up the inner bucket adjuster section for the Type 34 adjusters are slightly different on the later gray units, as well, but the outer chrome ring and all screws were the same.

I broke down one of the best of the used adjuster assemblies and sent the zinc coated inner ring, screws and spring to Denver Plating for replating, and the black back section down to Colorado Springs along with a bunch of other stuff I needed 'Turkified'. A slight digression is probably required here to explain what that means. Gary Turk works for Jeremy Vreeman at Motorworks Restorations. Gary restores parts for the cars Motorworks restores and has done some fine work in this regard. If a dirty rusty part needs an authentic degree of restoration and Gary 'knocks it out of the park', we can then say that the part has been 'Turkified'. Some Turkified parts will make their way onto the Nautilus, definitely, particularly this headlight adjuster part. He even managed to save the white paint stamped VW/Hella parts information and put a nice, proper gloss coat on the part! WELL DONE!!! Turkification at its finest. The net result is that I now have a pair of headlight adjuster assemblies that for all intents and purposes match up perfectly.

One final note on Type 34 headlight adjuster assemblies--and then I'll shut up about them. For now, anyway. In the picture to the left, note that the VW 'blue box' originally held three pieces (3 Stuck). What an odd number of pieces to have in a single box. Last I checked, each Type 34 only used 2 pieces. As a spare part, maybe one would only need one of these. Why three??? I've never seen pictures of a Type 34 with three headlights...unless VW and Karmann had some top secret prototype in development where the fog lights were dropped in favor of a third headlamp, much as the Tucker's did in the '40s. I know this was not the case, but it amuses me when I consider this unusual spare parts package configuration. The good news is that there was one remaining assembly available in the box for purchase on ebay years ago, and I bought it. This probably means that there are more of them floating around out there in their original, battered VW blue boxes, hoping to finally find a home on your nicely restored Type 34.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Let the...Moon...shine in, Part 4.

The Nautilus is back at Motorworks Restorations for a little TLC. The paint picked up a light haze from the paint prep being done on another car at Motorworks back in January. Now--to be fair, that happened at the OLD Motorworks location because such a thing would never happen in the NEW Motorworks shop. Yep--they've moved to a much larger location and have sectioned off the paint prep work area from the final assembly area. I finally got a chance to tour the new digs yesterday and was very impressed by what I saw. They are taking care of my minor paint issue and are also installing the rebuilt front end. I was going to do this work myself, but I rather like the idea of any paint scratches caused by that work being their problem, and not mine.

One final possible modification of the car would be the installation of a sunroof clip. I've gone back and forth on this one, but after driving Scott McWilliams real sunroof Type 345 to the Type 34 Registry Dinner I know I must have one. The remaining stumbling block for me is one of sunroof mechanism reliability. And time & money--but that's always a given for automotive restoration projects. The reliability issue is one we'll have to deal with in an ongoing manner, but right now I'd just be happy to have a sunroof that works at all. Double checking the parts quality and functionality is job one. Having access to a shop with a solvent sink to clean up the greasy and grime encrusted parts was also key and Jeremy generously let me borrow both to get my sunroof clip ready for a test run.

Cleaning up stuff took a fair bit longer than I expected, but once clean it all went together real fast. I used the 12V Porsche 912/911 sunroof motor, but I could have just as easily used one of my 6V sunroof motors. I used WD40 rather than white lithium grease as a 'lubricant' to remove the need to go back and dig that grease out of everything during that final assembly. Jeremy has quite a lot of experiece with VW sunroofs, so after I did the rough cut on assembly I asked him to take a quick look at things and perform some fine tuning. We operated the mechanism nice and slow, and it opened and closed very nicely, popping up and into place as it closed, just as it should. No loud noises, no binding, no breakage. We have a definite winner, and a 12V one at that! So, I'm all set for whichever voltage I later decide on.

So what was the final verdict on sunroof cable compatibility? That remains an unanswered question, actually. The 356 sunroof cables are the best choice for sure, but new ones haven't been available for over five years. Used ones are in short supply. I'm really having trouble finding them, so it you find some, please let everyone know. In the meantime, the closest cable I can find that is even remotely close to what we need for the Type 34 might be the '68 to '79 bay window VW bus sunroof cables. Near as I can tell, to make these work, at least two modifications are needed. The first modification would be the same as that which needs to be done with the 356 cables, in that the cable needs to be removed from the main sunroof connector cable end, shortened, and then swaged into place in the reverse direction. Since these cables are for a bus, there's quite a lot of extra cable. The 2nd modification is not so simple. It appears that the angle of the cable guide relative to the sliding steel roof connection is more extreme in the bus than the Type 34, so this would have to be corrected. In addition, the spring for the roof section needs to hook around a post that is simply not there on the bus cables. A machinist is needed to drill out the existing spring pin, machine a new one with the extended post, then thread it and the cast cable guide at a less severe angle. I know it can be done, but the question remains is who would be willing to do it?

2009 Volkswagen Classic Weekend

If you missed this year's Classic, please do try to make it next year, ok? Particularly if you own a Type 3 VW. Though car counts vary, I think we totalled fewer than 50 Type 3s. Which is kind of sad, but understandable. Folks line up to bring the Busses, Ghias and Bugs back to life, while the Type 3s can be very hard to show the love for, let alone restore. And if you own a Type 3 Ghia...well...it's getting to the point where you really need to get a very complete car to start with. Or, go custom. We saw both paths followed at this year's Classic.

Pictured here is Bill T. trying to leave WCCR with his entire family...and someone isn't cooperating. Bill's car is a classic example of a Type 34 that has gone a custom route. It's not been done so far out that it can't be returned to stock and I really like that. Nevermind that it's a '65 and Anthracite is no longer a color option for that year. This car is little about authenticity. It's really all about speed and safety. Stops nearly and fast as is ramps up. 2.6 liter EFI Type 4 power. Berg 5 speed. BIG meats in the rear, line lock and a water system to help things hook up on launch. Bill took me for a ride in this car and we were up and over 100Mph in quite a damn hurry. I had a big, stupid smile on my face because I know that Type 34s can kick some serious ass when set up correctly, as this car is. Oh...yeah...I guess they can also haul a small family around, too.

As nice as Bill's car is, there were some minor issues that one would expect to find on a car built by a shop with no previous Type 34 body working experience. Beneath those beautiful curves...no--make that breathtaking curves...digressing for a moment, I have to say that the bodywork on this car is REALLY nice. Maybe even sets a new standard for Type 34s. In fact, I went back to my car yesterday and gave it a serious and critical look. In comparison with Bill's car, I found it lacking. And while my car turned out very nice, Bill's car is clearly superior. However, his Type 34 does hide one critical but resolveable flaw: the rear decklid pushbutton doesn't work reliably. And that's just one little detail that MUST work right on our cars. It might take a little re-work of the pushbutton carrier to re-align it, which is really annoying now that the car is in final paint. But it's easier to fix than trying to get the kid into the car when you're attempting to make a swift and graceful exit from WCCR to get a decent spot at Nick's Burgers...come to think of it, did he ever actually make it to Nick's? Oh, yeah. There's plenty of videographic evidence that more than suggests he made it to Nick's. And perhaps that he also left quite a wake it his departure!!! Dude! Get a fully chromed Pedro Type 34 roof rack on that thing, will ya?!? Makes me smile to think about the whistling that rack would do at 100mph. Assuming one could even hear the whistling over the roar of that engine!

Ok, so Bill's car is fun, but's it's not really where I'm at with the hobby...and I have to add the standard disclaimer at this time. I joined the 1500 Club recently and think I've found a group of like-minded folks to hang with. This club's goal is to preserve as much as possible the early original examples of the 1500 Type 3. If restoration is required, as was the case with my car, their focus is to guide the would-be restorer towards the light. The focus is on period correct authenticity, whenever possible. I like this way of thinking, but also recognize that the world is a big enough place for land rockets like Bill's.

So in the interests of balance, I now present a car from the other end of the spectrum. Bob 'Gizmo' Walton's '64 Pacific Blue Type 343 is an important find for the Type 34 community because it represents a very original and unrestored car. If you are looking for details on how things were originally done, Bob's car is a great place to visit because in large part, it's a time capsule. der Samba contains a whole discussion thread on this car, so I won't dwell overlong on its humble garage-find origins. Unquestionably, one of the best things Bob did was enlist the talents of Jack Fisher to rebuild the 1500S engine and drum brakes, and he even managed to bring back a decent luster to the car's painted surfaces.

Most of the external chrome was redone on this car just in time for the its debut at the Classic. Rare Type 3 trim rings and Coker narrow white walls really play on the car's original and best features. Top it off with one of Pedro's Type 34 roof racks, and you end up with a winning example of the breed. Hey--even Scott Taylor liked this car, and who would have guessed he'd enjoy driving a Pacific Blue car so much?

I rode shotgun in this car from the ISP West BBQ back to the Crowne Plaza host hotel. All I could do was look around and take in all the originality, and hope that my own car takes on even a fraction of the authenticity contained within this car. Cool ride!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Let the...Moon...shine in, Part 3.

With all the sliding steel roof parts chasing I've been doing here lately, I've pretty well decided on my next project...I mean--AFTER I get the Nautilus done. I'm committing myself to buying a Porsche 356 and am now working on lining up a suitable future candidate.

In the meantime, it turns out that my original suspicions about the sources for Type 345 and 346 sunroof mechanical parts matches up to the reality of situation. These parts are essentially late 356/early 912 & 911 parts, in some cases either mildly or heavily modified. With regards to sunroof cables, this has basically been confirmed by folks who've had an interest in the Type 3 Karmann Ghia for far longer than I have owned any kind of Volkwagen. The knowledge base is huge, and I once again want to thank them for the invaluable information they've provided over the years. Now armed with this information, I am moving confidently full steam ahead with the sliding steel roof option for the Nautilus.

The Type 34 sunroof cables are essentially the same as the late 356 sunroof cables, with one important deviation. The modification required to make them work is relatively simple--if you have access to the tools or services. Until I actually have a cable in my hands, I can't say for certain if the length needs to be adjusted, but the word is that they need to be shortened a bit and as part of this operation that the cable needs to be inserted and swaged back into place in the the reverse direction from original. The original Type 34 cable connector ends are labeled with Golde part numbers and an 'L' or 'R', indicating the obvious. Since we are only modifying the Left cable or Right cable (click links for visual info only, as these parts are NO LONGER AVAILABLE), the correctly labeled and modified part is still being used on the indicated side of the car, which is nice. When I get my replacement 356 cables this coming week, I'll be able to compare.

The next question I have is about rails. The rails look like regular Type 3 rails, only perhaps shorter. Again, these are likely 356 items, particularly the front opening rounded corner pieces, which have a Golde part number of their own. I should know more very soon.

Ultimately, it would be nice to have a complete parts interchange and repair resource for sliding steel roof pieces. I don't think the best place for that is on this blog. It would be better for that information to be published to the Type 34 Registry web site.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dannenhauer & Strauss

Of all the various air cooled coachbuilts cranked out from every European nook and cranny over the years, the Dannenhauer & Strauss is my absolute and unequivocal favorite. The Karmann Ghia Type 34 is a great car, and is still my preference in the Karmann family of coachbuilt cars, but if I were ever given an opportunity to stray, the Dannenhauer & Straus would be the car. The example to the left was done by Lenny Copp and crew at WCCR in Southern California.

I showed several pictures of a D&S to my wife this evening. Her immediate response was, "That's an odd looking Porsche. Were they all convertibles? That car is very feminine." Ok...I was taken aback. So I guess I like 'chick cars'. Big deal. The curvaceous Type 14 Karmann Ghia, Dannenhauer & Strauss and Porsche 356 are all beautiful cars. There are certain rounded areas that remind me of certain rounded areas. I'd throw the early Rometsch and Hebmuellers into that mix, too. Some of the greatest cars, ever. I can understand my wife's comments and really appreciate them for a lot of reasons. She's just starting to realize for herself the passion and commitment it takes to own and maintain an older car. She's developing a particular and sincere appreciation for all older German metal. She pronounces the name 'Porsche' correctly. I believe I'm finally succeeding in my attempts to corrupt her. Job well done.

The Dannenhauer & Strauss is really my dream Volkswagen. I have no idea who the white and brown cars belong to, but it's a fair bet that they still reside somewhere in Germany. This car is another damnably rare VW based coachbuilt, with fewer than 140 constructed, with maybe 30 cars still in existence. I don't expect to see one cruising down my street any time soon. It's very possible that production numbers were kept low and the model killed off due to the introduction of the Type 14 Karmann Ghia. I've seen only one of these up close, and then that was a great many years ago before I was able to appreciate what I was seeing. Even though I will probably never have one, I think they are a joy to behold. While I'm not a massive Volkswagen Beetle fanatic, the melding of the Porsche and Beetle body styles leaves me with the feeling of balance in the overall effect. They really got it right with this one.

I don't have any D&S pictures of my own for this blog post, so I've had to rob these pictures from various sources. If anything offends or is copyrighted, let me know and I'll take them down.

The car to the right was shown at the Carmel Concourse de Elegance in California in 2007. I've seen a more recent picture of this car and believe it to be located somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. Perfect climate for preservation, but I also hope that it's allowed to get out and see the open road under its own power from time to time. Truly an immaculate automobile and a great color combination.

I know so little about these cars, other than the suspension and drive train is pure contemporary Beetle. Wish I knew more.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Let the...Moon...shine in, Part 2.

Springtime in the back yard at my house causes some interesting things to pop up on the lawn. With dandelions under control, sunroofs clips inevitably follow. Pictured to the right is a clip I've been debating on installing into the Nautilus. It's time to make a decision, so I decided to fully break it down to really see what I've got.

What a treasure trove of info in this little gem. With most of the headliner intact, I was able to carefully peel it off to retain for future use. My intents are to have a very accurate replacement made from the remnants of this one. To get the headliner completely loose, I had to remove all of the guide rail screws and remove the center front and corner rail pieces, as well as remove the coat hooks. I also had to break loose the side guide rails. Check out the picture below to see how the headliner was cut in around the corners. Under the headliner is a bead of rubber that protects the front edge and side edges of the headliner from the sharp body edges of the sunroof opening.

The sliding steel roof section also has a headliner frame that slides along in its own track, right along with the main panel. It is held to the underside of the sunroof panel by a combination of clamp strip and two corner screws. Remove the corner screws, slide the headliner frame to the front of the roof by 5 inches, pull it down slightly, then push it fully to the rear of the sunroof opening to completely reveal the underside of the sunroof panel. With everything out of the way, it starts looking a lot like the underside of a Volkswagen Bug sliding steel sunroof.


To remove the sliding steel sunroof panel fully, I decided to remove the sunroof mechanism transmission and motor pieces. This gave me the opportunity to compare these original 6 Volt parts to some Porsche pieces I recently acquired on ebay. Thankfully, Golde seems to have designed the operational sunroof assemblies for most of the European automobile manufacturers, which is greatly improves the sunroof enabled Type 34 owner's chance for finding spare parts! It also mades me wonder a little about Golde's ability to keep up with production back in the '60s, given that so may companies used their product. It might be that Golde licensed production of certain parts to other companies to keep up with the demand. Or, it might be that other companies had a better product. Either way, the original sunroof motor and transmission on this Type 34 sunroof clip were both made by Bosch. And, as it turns out, the 912 Porsche sunroof motor and transmission I bought through ebay are likewise Bosch--and 12 Volt! Which will make my own 12V conversion a bit more trivial, should I choose to do it. The mounting bracket attached to the Porsche sunroof motor is exactly the same as the one attached to the original 6V Bosch motor that came from this sunroof clip, too, which now makes me wonder about other parts such as the sunroof rails and cables. Check out those sunroof motor rubber mounts. They are part of an imprisoned assembly that appear to be tacked to the roof during assembly at the factory. Another interesting find was the body number for the sunroof assembly stampled into the transmission mount area.

Next time I post about Type 34 sunroofs, it will definitely include what I know about sunroof cables and parts interchangeability. In the meantime, it is interesting to note that this clip was from a late '65 through '66 model year car. I know this for a couple of reasons. The length of the sunroof motor to transmission drive shaft on this clip was the short one, which according to the parts books, started appearing on cars very late in '65. The second reason is a bit more obvious. The paint color is Bermuda, a '65 and '66 color, which someone at the factory conveniently penciled on the underside of the sliding steel roof section. I knew that the intended body color was grease penciled (usually red, black or white) into the right front headlight bucket, but this additional location came as a bit of a surprise.

Friday, May 8, 2009

March, April...and now May!

Time flies and I find that it's been over two months since I've added anything new to the blog. I'd like to say that I've been trying to get the Nautilus ready for the '09 show season, but that would be a lousy lie. In truth, the past couple of months have been a bit of a blur. I've been focusing heavily on my day job. I've been acquiring a lot of nice parts and spares. I've been gathering a bunch more Volkswagen knowledge and lining up resources to help finish my car. And, I've been hitting the shows. Yes indeed, the season is well upon us, and I'm now forced to admit the sad truth that I'm really not ready for it this year, as my car is still a very long ways from being done.

Still, I have been very busy with Volkswagen related activities. Next weekend is the Volkswagens on the Green show here in Colorado, and it's 'a given' that I'd be in attendance for that. But this year I also set a dangerous precedent and actually planned ahead and attended the Kelley Park show in San Jose, California, which was held a few weekends ago. It was a time spent visiting with old acquaintances and friends, but I also did meet up with others with whom I have only exchanged emails. I also got a chance to meet new faces that I previously have known vicariously through others, thanks to that gadabout, Kingsbury.

One of the latter folks is Jacin Ferrera, who runs the Type 3 Registry. You can bet I was all apologies over not having had my car in the Registry. I SWEAR I will get around to it, soon. His car is pictured here, both above and to the left, and is a worn but well cared for and maintained example of the breed. It's still way too nice a car to seriously consider a full pan-off restoration, though. And much like my old '66 Type 343, this car has history. Sometimes I wish I had kept that old '66 because in addition to history, it really needed nothing to be a great and functional car. Unfortunately, having a '66 just wouldn't do, because I really needed a '64 model year car to have the features I wanted, such as push-button dash with small diameter speedometer, 1500S engine, flat hub caps and Emerald green paint, which is only correct up through the '64 model year. I don't know--maybe I'm just a sucker for those perky early style bumper overriders.

While the early cars have a whole lot going for them, Rich Chrisensen's '66 hit me just right, pictured here at Kelley Park. With its Pedro roof rack equiped, Arcona white exterior, and a seriously clean interior. Sure, the details can be improved upon, but I really like this car, as is. I'll bet it's a hell of a driver, too.

Rich and his son, Alex, were both present at this show, so I got a chance to BS with two of them. They are both Type 34 owners, and it also turns out they owned for a brief time my first Type 34, which was a real basket case. I know they had it up for sale, and I kept meaning to ask them what happened to it, but got distracted. Anyway, they also got the sunroof section that I originally bought from Frank Fox out of South Carolina, so the mystery of where that sunroof piece eventually went is now solved. I believe the plan is to eventually graft it into one of their cars. They'd eventually like to add sunroofs to both cars. Hey--great minds think alike! We'll see those guys at the Classic, maybe with some newly acquired Type 34 sunroof parts in tow.

As much as I did enjoy my Sunday in Kelley Park, it was the evening before that was of greater significance. I took the time to travel up from San Jose to Oakland to hang out and enjoy some grilled eats and adult beverages at Richard Troy's industrial dwelling. We were in good company, as Michael Gregory (owner, House of Ghia), his daughter (name escapes me) and John Copello (machinist, original thinker and rejuvinator of sad Ghia hinges) also took time out of the weekend to make the trek to Richard's. If you've never been to Richard Troy's and are a vintage Porsche and VW enthusiast, do yourself a favor and go. I'll leave it at that!

As the drinks flowed and food was consumed, debates raged on a number of subjects, from rants regarding authenticity, reproduction parts quality, shortages of NOS components, cross-hybridization between the VW and early Porsches, parts interchangeability, and ended on the topic of electrically powered VWs...all done whilst pawing through Ghias and associated parts no newer than model year '59.  I can certainly say the event filled my head with knowledge and motivation to keep pushing forward with my own automotive pursuits. I needed that long evening of fanatical debate, if for no other reason that to give me impetus to keep the faith! Fallout from that meeting will make its way into the final results that are the Nautilus, no doubt.

For me, the best VW weekend, ever.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Guest Spotlight: "The Kingsbury Notchback".

Fellow Coloradoan Rob Kingsbury owns an outstanding 1964 Volkswagen Type 3 Notchback sedan. Those of you who have seen this car up close and personal will recognize this for the obvious understatement it is. Aside from the aberration at the '08 Volkswagen Classic, Rob's car has taken home the Gold in every show he's entered--and it's certainly been very well deserved. Not only was Rob's project based on a nice original car, but he's also shown amazing restraint and good taste in outfitting the finished vehicle in what I consider an incredibly well rounded selection of accessories, which range from official and unofficial VW NOS to aftermarket and unique custom components.

Rob's Notchback is also very well documented. Between the online pictorial information on the car's build-out on the Motorworks Restorations web site, and the details available through the 1500 Club website, along with the ongoing info shared on the Samba Type 3 Forum, countless mentions on blogs worldwide, and the not one--but TWO magazine articles devoted to the car in Hot VWs and Volksworld--with a possible THIRD in the works, what more could I possibly add on the subject? Not all that much, I'm afraid. What follows is a bit of a tribute to a wonderful car and
a nod to a great guy, who with the help of his family and friends realized his visions of a dream car in a relatively short period of time.


I no longer remember whose car first arrived at Motorworks Restorations, but the picture to the right shows both our cars in a pre-restoration state. My original Type 34 restoration candidate is pictured here and never actually made it into restoration. My wife nicknamed that Type 34 'Fausto', after it ran over her left leg (a whole other story). After that unfortunate event, I figure the car was aptly named because it was lucky she didn't take the Sawzall or sledgehammer to it right on the spot. My wife did have her way in the end, though, as Fausto was later cut up to provide much needed body panels for the project I did eventually go with, the Nautilus.

Nevertheless, at the time this picture was taken, I was still dedicated to bringing that poor car back to life. I remember feeling that Rob's car was too nice an original car to be heading off for media blasting, but it did come back needing some rust repair in the front sunroof drain and hinge pillar areas, so his decision was definitely a good one for the car. I didn't yet know Rob, but somewhere in there I remember thinking that this guy was fundamentally approaching his restoration right, guns blazing, wallet wide open, screaming at the sun. And this sort of insanity served as the catalyst for my finding a better Type 34 to restore, and the spending frenzy that followed. While Rob's car was in progress, and as my many visits to Motorworks mounted up, I also remember committing to taking my own project in a similar direction. Without realizing it, Rob set the bar high and I'm still not sure my car will ever truly measure up.

Any visit to Motorworks Restorations usually affords me the opportunity to heckle Jeremy about some point of authenticity surrounding whatever project he's currently in the midst of. Most of the time it's just good natured harassment or over-dramatized BS, however when I saw Rob's chassis restoration I felt compelled to point out the things I liked and occasionally the problems I saw, and with all sincerity. Even with parts spread across the shop, it was quite evident that this was a special car. I had no problem with donating rear brake parts--taken from Fausto--to keep Rob's project rolling during a critical point in the build process. Jeremy was definitely heading in the right direction with the restoration, putting in some very high quality detail oriented work, once again confirming my decision to go with Motorworks Restorations for my own car's restoration.




Now that the car's been completed, it's the details in the passenger cabin that matter. In looking over the picture at left, it's evident that some very well considered creature comforts are in place. I've ridden as passenger in this car and feel that the ride quality is the best I've ever experienced in an air cooled Volkswagen.

The tachometer, oil pressure and temperature gauges give you the data you need to ensure the car's running within parameters. The parcel tray is the perfect place to stash maps, paperwork and other stuff. Though Rob didn't yet have it, ISPWest later sold him a tunnel mounted drink holder. This sort of storage arrangement is comparable to the storage available on most modern vehicles. The radio and horn button clock both look great and work great.

The picture to the right was taken last summer through the Notch's open sunroof while cruising through the 'Garden of the Gods' park just outside of Colorado Springs. Rob had Pedro Sainz build a special roof rack that only runs about two-thirds the length of the roof to allow full view out the sunroof, which is a really nice touch. We had a nearly unobstructed view, all the way around....and yeah--the roof rack's fully chromed, too.

And how about those roof rack locks? Very cool, and I think they're still available through ISPWest.











Our trip through the Garden of the Gods was a cruise that served as the precursor to the 'Buses at the Brewery' event, which was held later that day at the Bristol Brewery in Colorado Springs. Rob's Notchback fit right in with the Buses and smattering of other VW vehicle types and drew a ton of comments throughout the day. I've never enjoyed talking about someone else's car with complete strangers so much.

The event was 'Buses centric', however we were welcome to join along for the cruise. These pictures were taken along the way, with me riding shotgun in the Notch. Being in the company of Buses at both this event and the VWs on the Green show earlier in the season gave me a new appreciation for the Volkswagen Type 2. Who knows? I now like them so well that there might even be a Bus in my future. Two of my favorites from the cruise are pictured, below. The blue one pulled so well over the hills that it inspired me to consider a 6 cylinder conversion for my own Bus, when the time comes.

















I'm really looking forward to this next show season. While I probably won't have my car done in '09, it's events like 'Buses at the Brewery' that help keep me motivated--and are just a heck of a lot of fun. Hanging out with like minded VW people and checking out the cars is really where it's at for me.

My closing thoughts on Rob's car...are really not closing thoughts, at all. I don't think the restoration process is ever really complete for any car. There's always the possibility of improving upon some component or body part by keeping a watchful eye on ebay or der Samba. Cars are meant to be driven and that wear and tear takes its toll, no matter how many NOS parts are used during the restoration process. Entropy intervenes to break down even the most stalwart trailer queen--which, by the way, Rob's car is not.

What I feel that Rob and his car truly represent are some of the best aspects of our hobby. At the shows, he's there to talk about the car and share the knowledge. That knowledge is clearly evident in the final results. I've been to enough shows with this car to note with no small amount of interest that this particular car has a certain something that causes people to react more openly. People definitely pause longer, relate to it on some visceral level, and then often tell stories of cars they've known in times past. I've seen this phenomenon with my Ghias, but not to the same degree I saw with Rob's car. Some cars strike a chord more, and this is one of them. But it's definitely no accident that Rob's Type 3 legacy has received so much positive attention.