‘66 Chassis Rebuild
Ever buy a car and feel pretty chuffed about it, right up until the point you reach for the flat blade screwdriver and start to dig a little deeper?
That’s my story with my 1966 1300 Beetle! No one is immune from buying a bit of a Lemon it seems, and I guess I let my ‘gut feeling’ really get the better of me this time...
My plans for this particular car were simple at first. A light ‘visual resto' with a handful of small repairs, some new wings, engine tidy up, interior tidy up and then, one of our Premium Air Suspension kits and some lovely Airlift 3P Management.
After a particularly busy few weeks at EVA, I finally won some time to start on this project. I soon realised how much extra work was required before I could get to any of the ‘fun bits’! Unfortunately the lower of the heater channels was pretty poor on both sides, the framehead bottom plate had seen better days, and all four inner wings needed repair work. The pan halves were solid(ish), but paper thin poor quality old pattern parts, so not particularly great either!
After a mild breakdown, a moody outburst and a few thrown/kicked tools (honesty is the best policy), plans were hatched to not only make it solid again, but do it ‘right’ and take the opportunity to build a fully restored rolling chassis and running gear to showcase all of our lovely Premium Air Suspension hardware.
The body was swiftly dealt with, with most of the lower of the heater channels cut away and repaired with fresh clean steel, NOS VW heater channel bottom plates from my own stash fitted up, and a handful of other small repairs thrown in for good measure. The underside and inner wings of the body were then cleaned up nice, all loose coatings/underseal removed, and the whole thing shot with UPOL Raptor liner. Not a showcar finish no, but a hard wearing smart uniform coating that’ll last for years to come. Lovely!
So, then onto the Floorpan. Strictly speaking, the floorpan was completed metalwork wise before the body, as I wanted to ensure it all lined up properly before painting anything, However, the ‘build’ of the chassis only begun once the body was complete. The chassis didn’t necessarily need new pan halves, but the fitted repro ones were so shit and cheap feeling, so the only way I was going to be happy with it is to totally hack them off, sling them (yeet) out the workshop door and fit up some proper ones! The old ones came off, but before the lovely new 18-gauge OE quality ones could go on, the framehead and ‘napoleons hat’ section needed some repair work also. A new framehead bottom plate made its way in, followed by the other surrounding repairs. I personally always try to leave the factory frame head in place, and prefer not to replace the whole thing. New complete frameheads aren't amazing quality, and I'd rather spend more time repairing the original than just replacing the whole lot with inferior metal...
All the floorpan metalwork complete, it was then loaded up and transported to the media blasters, where the 50 years of grime, rust and paint could be totally stripped back to clean workable steel.
We then opted for an Exterior Satin Black Powdercoat to be used, bringing the chassis back to a super clean, sheeny and super hard wearing finish.
After we received the Floorpan back from the 'coaters, we wasted no time at all getting it built up and back on wheels! Space is in short supply at our current workshop premises, so being able to roll the full chassis in and out of the way in the day time was a necessity. Anyway, lots and lots of new parts went back on, with highest quality new parts used where required, good condition original parts reconditioned and re-used, and of course... As many of our own parts as possible!
We think the finished article speaks for itself... Imagine if only every bug was as clean as this underneath!
EvaResto parts used on the rolling chassis are as follows:
T1 Bug '66- Premium Complete Air Ride System - Bolt on (4" narrowed beam selected)
T1 Bug Eva Skid Plate v2 - Powdercoated
T1 Bug/Type3 Complete Fuel line replacement kit with Gearbox Mount Fuel Filter Bracket
T1 Bug Reconditioned Trailing Arms set ‘66-
See our next blog post "The '66" for pictures of the whole car built up.
Thanks for reading,