rebuild of the ’67 –
As I wrote in my last episode in this seemingly endless project the quality of the repair panels available on the market isn't that good. A lot of work and modification was required to make them fit. One of the most difficult area was where the heater channel meet the real wheel arches. Here layers of sheet metal from everywhere are joint together, and I, stubborn as I am, wanted it to look as "factory" as possible.
After modifying a replacement panel completely (it would have been less labor intensive to make it from a piece of flat steel sheet) and a lot of thinking the corners were finished at last. As can be seen in the picture I also had to make a new body mounting bracket in the right wheel arch.
In the picture on the right the heater channel is visible from the inside. I don't intend on having a heating system in the car and to my big surprise the channels supplied by CSP didn't have heating vents. Nevertheless I hade to fabricate and weld a piece of tubing into the channel at the A pillar for the electrical loom to run through.
Another area where you usually find rust is under the sheet metal strips used to hold the seals for the front and rear bonnet. In order to be able to reach all the rust when sand blasting, these strips where removed with a chisel and hammer. The new ones ordered needed a slight adjustment (the shape cross section vise), and was welded in place with a spot welder. An amazingly versatile tool to work with. Before the welding was done, a coat of a special "weld through" rust protecting paint was sprayed on the contact surfaces. The observant ones will also notice that I have welded the antenna mounting hole shut.
Convertible deck lids for a one year only bug like the '67 are very hard to come by, I that's why I chose to make my own. Thanks to my friend Tomas Andersson from Öland, who managed to locate a genuine one for his own Cal look '67, I got the exact location of the inlets. The inlets are both by shape and position incredibly similar to the ones used on the 70-71bugs. I'm pretty convinced the factory used the same tool to make both.
In order to avoid warpage of the metal closest to and get the position of the inlets right, I chose to cut the upper section of the '70 donor unit off in one piece for the transplant to the '67 lid. The curvature of the two is not near the same, so a lot of bending and test fitting was necessary to make them line up. After a whole lot of work the pieces was finally tacked together.
A lot of time has also been spent on getting the fenders and running boards to fit well. To my big surprise the rear fenders made by IGP in Brazil fit well. They did however need some work before I was satisfied. Among other things I had to weld an extra hole shut in the lower section where he fender meets the running board. I also had to relocate the mounting hole for the running board. On top of that a check with the rusted stock genuine rear fenders revealed that the location o the rear lights were wrong. They sat too low and too much apart. So I had to start the welder up again. I also had to make the slots in the fenders for the bumper brackets point at 12 o'clock instead of 1, so there were a whole lot of annoying work to be done that I hadn't anticipated.
My original intention was to use a set of IGP front fenders that were fairly good quality wise. I pretty soon discovered however that the holes for the horn grills were pointing in the wrong direction. When I test fitted the grills the ribs were pointing in at 11 o'clock on one fender and at 1 o'clock on the other! How on earth can you fail to get this seemingly easy operation right?! Don't they have a machine with fixtures set up for this operation at the factory producing these fenders? When I finally calmed down I started the welder up again and after a few hours the hole were pointing as they should.
Even worse was that after all this work I was informed that if I were to build an exact replica of an US spec. fender, the position of the hole for the horn grill was completely wrong! After flipping through magazines all I could do was agreeing with the friend (?) that pointed this out. And they were wrong by much!! 40mm per fender too far apart, and 20mm too low. Now I got fed up and didn't want to continue working on the IGP fenders, and realized that it was the same amount of work modifying a set 68- fenders.
Now I actually got lucky and got a right side original 68- fender in excellent condition for free by my friend Hans Landelius (He is the kind of person not willing to touch sheet metal newer that 1967). The hunt was now on for a left side companion. This turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. The shape of the fenders produced differ and especially the position of the head lights. Finally I was able to track down a correct one and quickly had the fender modified.
I also modified the rear apron to make it detachable. I don't know anyone not cursing and swearing over this apron when making an engine swap in the bug. It seems like the factory intentionally designed the apron to be an inch too close to the engine! Never more, I say. The apron was cut away by carefully drilling away the original spot welds and are now secured with hidden screws to make it look stock.
After cleaning the fuel tank with a special acid it turned out that the bottom of the tank next to the outlet were full of holes. I cut the sick parts out of the tank and welded a new section in together with a 1/8" fitting. I hope the welds don't leak, but that's something only the future will tell. Notice that a slight massage of the underside were necessary to make the collapsible steering column fit.
After having problems making up my mind whether or not I should have a roll cage the final decision was taken when the safety harnesses was to be installed. Even though I ordered the long shoulder straps I couldn't secure them in an satisfying way (wrong angle). The answer was to install a roll cage into which the straps secure. I also had the cage custom made according to my own specification.
After some thinking and a lot of measuring I made a template out of masonite and drove to a company called GUSS just outside of Stockholm who helped me bend the tubes. The idea is to have the main hoop follow the contour of the body and make the installation as discrete as possible. After some adjustment the hoop looks well, but a nightmare to fit into the car. Hopefully it's only going to be fitted in the car one time once it's finished.
Instead of bolting the main hoop to the floor I opted to make two boxes and weld them to the heater channel. It's made out of 3mm thick sheet metal into which I welded four M10 nuts from the inside. This method of securing the main hoop feels a lot more stabile and rigid than the floor.
I also decided to have the whole cage made according to the Swedish Drag Racing regulation while I was at it. Therefore I had to add some tubes. This turned out to be more difficult then I had anticipated. In my quest to get the main hoop to follow the shape of the body and get it discrete, I hide it behind the B pillars which made it impossible to add the diagonal tube inside the door. I had to adjust the main hoop somewhat but after that the tubing could be added.
As a final touch I got help from a friend of mine, Reine Melin who works as a panel beater, to straighten all the small dents and imperfections. The drivers side door alone, which turned out to be far more worse than anticipated, took him more than half a day of labor to straighten out. I can't thank him enough.
This is all for now. Over and out!