Super Project '71: Exterior Parts and Equipment
From the March, 2009 issue of VW Trends
All contributors: Ryan Lee Price
Looks pretty good for being...
Looks pretty good for being just a pile of parts in a series of boxes a few days before, but in a few days' time we were finished. Actually, this "after" celebration shot was taken at a lonely 3am, when nobody was awake to give a slap on the back for a job well done. Ho-hum. At least the '67 is there for company.
This is really where the car starts to near completion. This is the exciting time of any project, because, at the end of this story, the project is as good as done. Provided we had a battery and the coil was hooked up to the distributor (and a couple of other small things we'll cover in the final installment next month) we could drive away, knowing we have a perfectly restored 1971 Super Beetle.
But we're not there yet. The workbench in our shop is cluttered with a wide variety of parts all destined for the exterior of our Super. Some of the parts we need are difficult to get so we were forced to use our original parts for now until replacements can be found, but everything else is brand new, straight from a few of our local VW shops.
To meet our deadline of the VW's birthday (September 3, 1970), we've only got a few days remaining to get the car finished, so we'd better get started.
Well, there you have it. We crammed several days worth of work into 40 pictures and five pages. Of course, we could easily write a 200-page book on the restoration of this Super Beetle, but we're happy that we are so near the end that we can almost feel the wind in our hair and hear the oh-so-smooth engine humming us down the road.
Next month we plan on showing you a couple of the details we still need to do to call this project 100 percent done. This includes an alignment, some interior installs, a couple of engine tweaks, a new battery and a road test. In addition, you find a full feature of the project car in beautiful color. Until then, stay Super.
A few days prior, we started...
A few days prior, we started by attaching the fenders and the fender beading. Each fender is hung with all of the bolts loose. The beading comes in one long piece with no pre-cut notches, so they had to be made. We cut the beading into four roughly equal lengths.
Laying the beading down the...
Laying the beading down the length of the fenders we marked with chalk the location of each bolt, 10 each on the front fenders and eight each on the rear. Then we cut a roughly one-inch notch at each chalk mark.
Once the beading was in place,...
Once the beading was in place, a 13mm socket wrench tightened each fender in its proper place.
On the rear right fender,...
On the rear right fender, six of these ear-tabs are incorporated into the fender bolts to hold the rear fuel vapor line that routes its way to the carbon canister mounted nearby. See Part 16 of this series in the November issue for details.
Next we'll tackle the running...
Next we'll tackle the running boards. Four 10mm bolts hold the board to the body, while 13mm wrenches on each side of the fender bolt the running board to the fenders. Actually, this picture is incorrect, as we put the head of the bolts on the fender sides to make for a cleaner look. The rubber grommets go between the fenders and the running boards.
The chrome trim isn't already...
The chrome trim isn't already attached to the running boards, so we have to do it. Start by cutting small slits into the rubber over the mounting holes and feeding the trim clips into the trim pieces, five each. Slip the clips into the holes and, with pliers on the underside, twist the tabs to secure.
We fed the wires into the...
We fed the wires into the rubber boot by wrapping them together with electrical tape and dousing the inside of the boot with silicone lubricant. The wires easily slipped through. Once secured via two 8mm nuts, the new lens and chrome housing is screwed down.
The same goes for the boot...
The same goes for the boot that holds the wires for the headlight. There are three Philips screws that hold the headlight into the bucket, and these are used to adjust the beam. One screw holds the chrome headlight ring to the fender.
We had the bumper brackets...
We had the bumper brackets powder coated, and there is a difference between front and rear, as there is a difference between the front and rear bumper. Three bolts hold each bracket to the bumper. Three 13mm bolts keep the brackets tight with the body.
The brackets have oval holes...
The brackets have oval holes for adjusting the bumper, and we used a tape measure to keep the distance from the bumper to the fender equal on each side, roughly an inch and a half.
The real trick is to attach...
The real trick is to attach the hood by yourself. It involves a little contortionism and a strong back. Rest the hood on the cowl and with your left hand, hold the front of the hood until the holes line up. Use your right hand to start the bolts. Better yet, get a friend to help you.
Even though we didn't install...
Even though we didn't install a radio (and probably won't) we didn't want to fill the antenna hole with anything but an antenna. The chrome top ring unscrews, and you install the antenna up through the cowl. Slide the top ring over the antenna and tighten it with a strap wrench so we don't mar the chrome.
This is the plastic chrome...
This is the plastic chrome body trim clips, and you'll need about 25 of them. First make sure to clean out the trim holes with a utility knife. The small tab on top of each clip must be pushed in to keep the clip tight. A slight tap with a hammer does the trick. Go easy, Thor, it's only plastic.
The all-important VW logo...
The all-important VW logo badge drops into place and is secured by three small rubber tabs. Since they're clear, be careful you don't drop them!
One of the easier things to...
One of the easier things to install is the driver's side mirror, as it merely screws into place. Don't forget the rubber grommet.
The deck lid is attached with...
The deck lid is attached with four 11mm bolts, and the deck lid can be adjusted in and/or out by moving the bolts up or down on the brackets. If you haven't removed the brackets, you should have no trouble returning your deck lid to its former position.
While we're back there, let's...
While we're back there, let's install the license plate hood and rubber trim. Three 8mm nuts fasten the hood to the deck lid.
The hood spring took a little...
The hood spring took a little bit of figuring out, but when you realize that the spring needs to be relaxed when the deck lid is up, you'll soon get it right. Clip the rear part on first and then pull the clips to the deck lid.
One of the more difficult...
One of the more difficult things to do was to fit the rubber boot around the taillight housings. When you get one side on, the other side slips off. Patience is a virtue.
Two 10mm bolts hold the door...
Two 10mm bolts hold the door to the body.
Back to the rear of the car,...
Back to the rear of the car, we attached the license plate bracket like this. Again, we placed the bolts "backwards" so that when you look into the engine compartment, you'll see bolt heads instead of nuts and washers. The rubber squares are to keep the bracket away from the new paint job.
This is the gas door release...
This is the gas door release mechanism, a simple button release attached to a short cable that goes into cabin. One Philips screw holds it down. Inside, the handle slides over the end and is held in place by a small clip that you must first push into the handle (see arrow).
The taillight bulb housings...
The taillight bulb housings are wired according to your wiring diagram, exactly like you see here. Two small screws fit the bulb holder to the housing (Are you keeping up on all of this technical jargon?--ed.)
Once the taillight lenses...
Once the taillight lenses are screwed in along with the aluminum trim (we used our old ones because we couldn't locate any new ones on such short notice), merely snap on the side reflectors.
We hope you kept your aluminum...
We hope you kept your aluminum trim that fits around the rear quarter window vents, because they don't make them. Another road block is that the original trim won't fit on brand new vents. These are our old ones, but we'll show you how to do it once we figure it out.
We're showing you how to install...
We're showing you how to install the bumper rubber guards, but they didn't exactly fit our bumpers so we're leaving them off. They clip on one side and stretch over to the other side, where a screw on the end removes any slack. The ones we got wouldn't even stretch the length of our bumpers, so make sure yours will fit before you buy.
The cable for the hood release...
The cable for the hood release slides into the mechanism and is held into place with a screw that is accessed via a hole in the body.
On the other end is the release...
On the other end is the release handle that fits into the glove box. Since we didn't have a riveter, this step will have to wait, but the idea is there. Run the cable (and the sheath) around the right side of the trunk down to the release mechanism.
Up on top are the two wiper...
Up on top are the two wiper posts. An added detail is the black plastic bolt cover that sits under the wiper arm.
The final step is attaching...
The final step is attaching the hood handle, the release mechanism and the rubber grommets. Note we didn't install the spring and catch because we haven't sorted out the cable system yet. There's nothing worse than locking your trunk with no way of opening it again.
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