Original style clam latches: done

I found a few hours over the week to keep after my clam latch project. Another nine or so over the weekend and we’re done. That’s 22 hours to make parts I was going to do without on this build. Glad I did ’em though.

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Making the latch on the passenger side was a little tricky, as I had to file away a bit of the latch cover hole to move the cover forward to line it up with the square turn thingie.

I filled the back side with epoxy and let it set overnight, and moved the latch cover the next day. Eventually we hadIMG_2444

Next I CADded up the receiver and taped it in on the driver’s side.

With a good flashlight I could see where the lever was hitting, cut a slot for it and then test. Pretty easy. Then it was down to transferring it to the remaining bit of dishwasher valance.

I decided to cut off some of the sail panel extending from the body and overlap the catch cage. That helped with fitment and also, in my opinion, makes the assembly look just slightly more like the real deal.

IMG_2460IMG_2469What we’re copying (below) obviously can’t be replicated on a Beck or Vintage without a lot of surgery. The originals use the longitudinal rocker boxes to make the strong clam receiver area strong. The replicas instead have “box” under the VW hood latch that’s tied to the top of the body via this sail panel. I cut just a little out of mine in order to make a spot where the slotted receivers overlap the body and where the leather gasket will run over the attaching screws.

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After that it was down to test fitting. I used self-tapping sheet metal screws to fix the latches temporarily, then opened and closed the lid a bunch of times. Ended up with about an eighth inch bit of looseness on the passenger side that should be taken up nicely with a bit of plastic trim stick to the top edge of the slot—which should also protect the paint on the latch bolts. I have enough adjustment in the slots to do the same on the driver’s side.

It was time to prime.

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Then paint—back sides only.

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While that was all drying I brazed the church key parts together, and when it was still not dry after that I decided to stamp the chassis number into the key.

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—So you won’t get it mixed up with the other Spyder owner’s church key.

I’ll have to make a little snap-in holder for this thing on the firewall later.

Meanwhile, on the clam itself, I think I got a pretty decent likeness.

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