The rear latches on a fake 550 Spyder are usually just Beetle front hood latches, and this car is typical in that regard. On the Beetle they didn’t have to work so hard. The hood was a bit heavy and the shape of the nose tended to keep it down at speed. On the 550, not so much. The under-clam area is fixed to become a high-pressure system and, of course, the hinges are in the back, so if it pops up it becomes a sail.
A lot of replica owners rely on the leather hold-down straps that add such style to these cars. You hear complaints all the time that the latches “pop” when the car goes over a bump. I’m making this car not do that.
In what might just be the final procrastinatory sideshow in my quest to not be doing wiring, I spent the last couple days making a proper Porschesque clam stay, complete with wheel ratchet, double articulation, lightening holes and shiny aluminum and stainless steel.
I unpacked the wiring harness last week and started marking the wires to their respective fixtures. I got what I guess is the easy half. Looking for some color-coded early VW wiring diagrams now to aid with the rest. The car came with the early Bug (6-wire) signal switch (which does not have the high beam switch integral). That’s cool; I already bought and installed the foot switch, but it’s just one of many potential differences between the way the car is going to go together and the Thunder Ranch instruction manual/pre-made wire harness. So to avoid mucking too much with that this week I finished off my inner dust shields instead.
With the aluminum work all-but-done I turn my attention to putting the car together. The build manual says paint the whole thing first but I plan instead to dry-fit everything first, then disassemble, block sand, paint and put it back together.
But before we do that, there’s still a little surgery. Take this tonsil-like stalagmite thing under the dash:
As previously discussed, that’s gotta go. Continue reading
My hands hurt from turning the screwdriver and squeezing the rivet gun. Also, turning the 1/4-20 tap. Rivets, and also screws now adorn the Spyder’s bottom. Now the old adage “keep the shiny side up” is pointless.
Having got the brake and clutch pedals roughed-in I turned my attention to the go pedal.
Most Spyder replicas use either the VW pedal set or individual dune buggy style pedals and a Neal or similar pedal, like this:
When we left our pedal project I’d gotten the clutch and brake pedals basically made and was pondering the accelerator. I am still pondering the accelerator, but I have managed to rough-install the former two controls in the tub. It took a bit of fettling.
There are always more rivets. That’s a rule with Spyders.
We had a deep freeze just after Christmas, so I came home to a really cold shop. So cold that I decided to clean out my office, paint it, install some shelves, work on my novel…pretty much anything but get back on the Spyder.
The weather broke a few days ago and I decided to take a break from the tub aluminum job and square-up my Autopulse 500 fuel pumps.
With the frunk area well in hand I turned my attention to the cockpit. These Beck-design (and the Vintage Spyder variant) replicas are a bit more than three and a half inches longer than the real deal, and most of the extra real estate is in the body tub, mainly to accommodate taller drivers. Making the cockpit look authentic is a challenge just because of the added length. The curve of the inside rocker panels is another giveaway: the original cars had a crease between two straight panels.
So I kinda sorta made my own: