Sunday, September 12, 2010

Instrumentation for the Nautilus, Part 1

As much as I know about the Type 34, I'm forced to continue my education as I discover parts variations and detail changes that were made throughout the car's entire production run.  Actually, I've really been blindsided a time or two by changes made during certain model years, particularly during '64, '65 and '66.  Regardless of year, the ongoing changes are everywhere and the parts book doesn't go into too much detail about them.  These replacement parts tend to be considered continual improvements and direct replacements for the original items.  A prime example is this 90MPH speedometer, which was used in production cars until the arrival of the '1500 S' models, and appears to have also been available as an over the counter part until stocks were depleted.  It was then superceeded by the 100MPH version.  My car was a hulled out shell when I got it, so I was left to discover these finer points of authenticity on my own.  I've been aided in this by what I could glean from the Internet, from the workshop manuals and from fellow Type 34 enthusiasts.  I was uncertain for quite a long time if the 100MPH unit was correct for my car, but was finally able to confirm that it goes with the 'S' package on the Type 34, thanks to Lee Hedges.

This raises some other questions regarding the date code present on the back of each Type 34 VDO instrument.  Where the ink stamped date codes can still be found, the dates are as much as a month or two earlier than the actual build date of the vehicle.  I guess this makes sense because the factory would want to have parts on hand and ready to install on the assembly line.  The speedometer I acquired was made the same month my car was produced, and that's close enough for authenticity purposes.  The original unit for the Nautilus was probably made as early as September of '63 and was calibrated and labeled in KPH, which is correct for a German delivery car.  Honestly, I'm not entirely sure of my car's provenance, how it was delivered to the US, and by whom, but it's probably time to get a birth certificate from Volkswagen.  I think the US bound tourist delivery cars got a MPH speedometer installed by the factory, even though they were to be initially driven in Europe.  I suspect the clear plastic KPH overlays for the speedometer were handed to aid these folks in the MPH to KPH conversion while underway.  The 100 MPH speedometer is likely correct for my car because by the time the car arrived in the US months or years after production, it was the only speedometer available for installation from the Volkswagen Parts Counter.  I've probably over-thought this--and it really doesn't matter.

I'm thinking about having North Hollywood convert a spare clock to a tachometer.  For the Nautilus, maybe it would be appropriate to also have a speedometer rebuilt, calibrated and labeled in Knots!