I re-did the license plate lights.
I re-did the license plate lights.
Those oval-holed rocker boxes the original Spyders had are quite a project on a replica.
Turns out not only do you need the three holes under the doors, plus the forward extensions to the front fender wells (oval holed on the passenger side, solid to mount the fuel pumps on the driver’s)—they also extend to the rear latches behind the firewall. Two more ovals.
Plus there’s a second stiffening piece above them.
Here’s the passenger side in a Spyder Factory copy of 550-0090:
You can see how the oval lines up with the torsion bar port, and there’s another slot to allow some access to the lower clam latch. The upper piece has an interesting compound radius curve that’s basically negated by the way the replica body is made. The slotted thing is for the key locks that we don’t have.
And on that side we’ll be running an Accusump roughly where that box is.
Ah well, on with it then! Continue reading
Past few days rigging up the throttle cable, a bell crank and some other stuff that will be attached to the back of the firewall.
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.
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.
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:
The Spyder was not known for its trunk space. Some of the early cars stowed a spare tire up under the bonnet, many others just had humungous 26-gallon fuel tanks up there sharing space with the six-volt battery, the brake and clutch reservoirs and, well, nothing much else.
Replicas have it a little better. The VW fuel tank that’s usually adapted is a compact 10 gallons or so, and some replicas even move the battery to the back of the car, freeing up more space.
Replicas commonly also lack the airbox directing wind at the front oil cooler, which in the real cars protrudes about five inches up into the space under the front hood.
Our example has a truncated airbox, leaving a bit more room for an overnight bag up front. This week we stole some of that room away in the interest of original style.
I returned to the front of the car after Thanksgiving to make the inner lip for the grill to bolt to, make and install the horn pockets, make the horn mounting tabs, weld the frame extensions and jack points and build the airbox for the oil cooler. All done.