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.

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