Saturday, January 3, 2009

Nearly ready for delivery.

When I first started this project I envisioned throwing a lot more of myself into the chassis build. It didn't work out that way. It's been far more convenient and potentially safer for both me and the car's bodywork to have Motorworks Restorations put the lion's share of the work into the restoration. I almost feel guilty about it...until I open my wallet...and then I realize that I'm stuck trading time for money. For someone like me who enjoys turning wrenches, it's a frustrating concession to know that in order to make progress on this project it's going to require that I turn the reins over to someone else.

Fortunately, I have chosen well for my car's restoration. If you have an older air cooled Volkswagen that you want restored, give Motorworks Restorations a call and let them bid the job. They'll certainly work with you to get the results you are looking for.

Above and below at right is my car, the Nautilus. These pictures were taken yesterday. What you don't see represented is the bazillion hours of research time it took to find a reasonably priced restoration candidate, nail down the color, restore the Type 3 based pan, get the front end and transmission rebuilt, and locate all the tough to find parts that will eventually go on this car. Not a lot of parts came with this car and pan and I've had to source parts from at least 5 other cars to get this one done. That's the nature of these cars. At least a portion of another car will be sacrificed in order to restore one. They rust easily and in horrible places. People drove them in times past and accidents occured. Certain critical body panels are not reproduced. Donor cars are in short supply. The decision to restore one is typically a costly endeavor and a labor of love.

In the picture at right, the passenger door, right rear quarter panel, and 3/4 of the back of the car were all replaced using body panels from a donor car. That donor car--Fausto, also a '64--was also owned by me and was the first car I brought to Motorworks for restoration. I've detailed that story before, but suffice to say that once the car was media blasted it was determined that it was not an ideal restoration candidate. But it did have a lot of choice parts to contribute to another restoration project, so all of the replaced panels on the Nautilus were taken from Fausto. I ended up with a lot of other critical parts from Fausto that I have been restoring and that will eventually be installed onto the Nautilus. Some body panels will make their way onto other cars. I have a perfect dash that I used for the wiring project, but somebody may need it. I have a great roof section whose 'A' and 'C' pillars will be used on another car. The roof skin may be useful to someone, someday. Fausto was sacrificed-- a decision not lightly made--and it took me 4 years to finally come to the conclusion that it was my best move.

The paint was applied to the Nautilus back in April '08. At the time of this writing, it's had over 8 months to cure and harden. This finish was polished for a second time about two weeks ago in preparation for the annual Motorworks Restorations Holiday Party, which I missed due to a bad cold. Word on the street is that I missed a great VW based get-together and that my car in its unfinished form was well received. This is encouraging and helps keep me motivated.

At left is a reconditioned Type 3 front beam from ISPWest. I bought it outright. It uses their bushing kit and is powercoated for lasting durability. My only criticism is a minor one: they prefer to paint the hardware, rather than replate it. I don't like that, so have removed a few items that I don't have spares of to have replated. Once this hardware is back from Denver Metal Finishing, I'll get it down to Jeremy at Motorworks and this beam will be installed into my car. I have a set of NOS ATE front wheel cylinders, and the backing plates, idler arms, tie rods have all been either epoxy or powdercoated, including the brake drums and wheels. New steering box and rubber snubbers, too. As parts sitting in a box, they look wonderful. Jeremy does a good careful installation of suspension parts, so my expectations are high that I will end up with a nicely detailed front end to go along with the nicely detailed rear end. Once that's done, the car will be delivered to my garage and it will then be up to me to take it to the next level.

I can hardly wait!


Scott said...

Looks really great Greg. I'm looking forward to the day that my Ghia is that far along!

Alexander said...

Great post very good