Cleaning up for paint

Pushed the car out of the garage today and scrubbed.



First I vacuumed out as much dust as I could.IMG_1929

Then I went after it with the car wash soap and dish soap 50-50, using a scrubby sponge. IMG_1932

The car has sat in primer for 10 years now and there’s just a lot of schmutz on it. I used a paint scraper for some, and will have to do more of that. IMG_1933

All this is to get it ready for the first block sanding session, which I hope to get to this week. I plan to wet block it with 220 and then hit any dings and chips with the filler before doing it again.IMG_1934

After that it’ll be 400 and then 600, and I’ll probably find a chip or two in the midst of that and have to go back to the filler. It’s all in the game.IMG_1935

The panels are getting close to right. Doors are good, the clam is really good. The front hood is a bit dicy still. I installed the remote latch last week, loose, but the edges of the lid are a little low even when the middle is right.



Much of the past several weeks has been taken up by non-car-building activities but I still managed to get the fuel tank screwed in with the filler bolted on, and opened the hood hole enough for it all to work.

There’s a rubber funnel thing that’s supposed to go on the filler neck to, I guess, divert water the goes into the big hole in the hood out through a hose, but the mouth of the funnel is a little smaller than the hole I have now, so I’ll have to source another one if I want the car to be viable in any kind of weather.

These are the details that kill me now.

Take the wipers.

I figured Bridget’s old skinny wipers would work well in this application. They look the part (I really don’t like the bent-up newer Beetle wipers you see on many 356 and 550 replicas. Good as they work, they just look too heavy and modern to me). But when I looked at the wiper “hubs” I have—the shafts that stick through the body work and mount the wiper arms to the working mechanism—they were pretty beat up. And the Trico arms no longer want to pop onto them after the way I ripped them off the old car.

They could be made to work, but I figured, Why bodge it up when it’s gonna be a NEW CAR?

So I ordered-up some early Beetle wiper shafts and skinny arms, which I figure will go well with a set of spindly 356 wiper blades from Sierra Madre.

Got all the parts, cleaned and painted the wiper frame and lever arms, went to assemble all the shiny new stuff and…

Shafts are too small; don’t fit in the bushings.

So I’m going to try to return my late ’50s parts for some mid-late ’60s ones like I already have. But then there’s gonna be a fight way up under the dash when I try to fit this mess in, because the molded-in divots for these wiper bits are rounded and rough on the inside, and so will likely make for a leaky wiper rig even when I install the correct rubber grommets & washers and such.

Which means I’ll have to spot face and smooth it all first…

By now I’m really pondering chucking all this full-weather stuff and getting the single Perspex windscreen, maybe making an aluminum half tonneau…


I did get the wiring harness in, complete with the correct(ish) fuse box mount.IMG_1816

And I did take the heavy coils out of my Autopulse fuel pumps and then mount them, along with the Carter rotary pump, in the spot.


So the fuel lines are sorted. Getting that all done deserved its own blog post but I was too bushed afterwards to write it.

Been also sorting the wires, checking the diagram against the backs of my correct gauges.


Something like 90 percent of the wires are where they should be now and labeled. I’ll still have to hook them up, test them, add a few (for the accumulator, horn and such) and slip the looms over them. And the switch holes need to be drilled, and the proper switches have to replace the kit switches, and also relays….

Damn I’m never gonna be done, am I?

I ordered a new mirror from Vintage and the part that came, for $144, was better than the broken one that I got with the kit. It’s bigger, for one thing, so usable.


But the housing is pretty chipped up along the open edge, and that pisses me off.


I mean, yeah, I’m going to be sanding and working with filler anyway, but for $144 I’d hope they’d have smoothed the part out before priming and shipping it.


So that’s the month. Oh, except for one last thing: The seats are done.


Tim at KDI Customs finished them up last Monday and I went and picked them up, along with three or four yards of remaining barber pole vinyl to complete the interior.

Right now I’m kinda dying to bolt those in, hook up the steering wheel, screw down the shifter and the e-brake, pop the gauges in, re-install the floor and the floating floor and just revel in it.





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