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  •   Russ Smith reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    CAR #VW-Beetle / #VW / #Volkswagen-Beetle / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Beetle-MkI

    RUN BY Martin Port
    OWNED SINCE March 2011

    Some cars just don’t get the love they deserve, and I’m embarrassed to admit that the Beetle is definitely one of them. It has given reliable service for years now and, despite my many promises to carry out major work, I’ve failed to deliver. Even worse, it took the failure of the MoT test to propel me into action, and even then it was at the pace of an anaesthetised sloth.

    What did it fail on? Surprisingly, it was really ‘only’ some rust (and a broken anti-roll-bar clamp). I’d seen much worse, but its proximity to the rear suspension mounts meant that it was an immediate ‘x’ in the box. So, the Beetle was back in the garage while I examined the options for repair. Since this coincided with winter’s first dusting of grit on the roads, I deliberately didn’t hurry – though it’s too late to take evasive action, of course.

    Eventually, once I’d cut out the rot, my brother-in-law Pat crafted some repair sections and we set to work. Between us we welded in the fix, which was a tricky under-seat corner piece, but while I was inspecting inside the wheelarch I noticed some more rust.

    I cleaned up and welded in a couple more off-cuts of steel from Pat’s workshop, and applied seam-sealer to the inner repair. That meant I now had to underseal the inner arch, which I knew desperately needed doing to the entire underside. Fortunately, it’s still in remarkably solid condition.

    I’ve used Dinitrol before and found it to be very effective, so opted for the same again this time. Without a compressor rigged up at home currently, I plumped for several 500ml cans of its 4941 aerosol because I knew it would be fairly simple to apply where needed. Getting the Beetle up in the air was easy thanks to my old set of ramps and large axle stands, offering just enough clearance for a good wire-brushing of the underside.

    Then it was time to put the Dinitrol to good use and slowly apply it to the underneath of the vehicle and into the wheelarches. An hour later I was very pleased with how the floorpans looked. Compared to using a schutz gun in a confined space, the aerosol allows you to get into all the smaller areas with ease – perfect if you don’t have access to a four-post lift.

    With the welding done I sent my spare set of period wheel rims to Berkshire-based company Procoat to be blasted, primed and powdercoated.

    A five-minute chat with the owner turned into an hour as his enthusiasm for classics became obvious, having been given the name Aston Martin by a father with a clear sense of humour. It’s little wonder that not only does he now run a company that specialises in blasting and coating car parts, but he also owns several Astons.

    Having heard him wax lyrical about what makes a good process and the importance of how many microns of coating you need on a rim, it was nice to see the fruits of his expertise when I collected the finished wheels. The gloss black is fantastic, and the finish almost mirror-like – the colour isn’t standard, but our choice for the Beetle.

    We had agreed to help Vintage Tyres out by evaluating some whitewall rubber, so these were fitted, and suddenly the combination of new tyres and shiny rims put the rest of the car to shame.

    It might be back on the road, but it looks as if the bodywork and a respray have to be the next steps.

    Procoat: 01635 200017;

    Whitewalls always provoke a ‘Marmite’ response, but even if they stay on just for the summer, they certainly look the part when coupled with the freshly painted rims.

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  •   Antonio Ghini reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Car #VW-Beetle / #VW / #Volkswagen-Beetle / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Beetle-MkI
    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since March 2011
    Total mileage 87,698
    Miles since February report 1053
    Latest costs £137


    The Beetle had been doing what was asked of it for some time without any purposeful maintenance, so it came as no surprise when it suddenly developed a misfire one day without warning. A cursory look failed to throw up anything obvious, so I figured that it was time to carry out a full service and see if that resulted in an improvement.

    VW Heritage markets a kit that includes plugs, leads, distributor cap and rotor arm (the car is already running a points-less ignition system), but I knew that I also needed to check the valve clearances, and that was a slight issue.

    With no replacement for the C&SC workshop in sight, my own garage out of action thanks to ongoing construction work, and the driveway full of building materials, I was faced with carrying out the service at the side of the road.

    I’m no stranger to kerbside maintenance but, with a wet winter in full swing, the thought of having to check the clearances while lying in the gutter didn’t appeal much. I was always going to be tempted by an offer from friend and Our classics regular Oli Cottrell to do the job in exchange for a few notes!

    When he delivered the car back to me, he was full of praise for how it drove – an assessment that I was pleased with, given that he worked for a time at a classic VW specialist. As suspected, the valve clearances were out and one had closed up, but with everything adjusted the Beetle was full of pep once more… until the following day, when a text from Mrs P read: “Fine going into town, but stuttered all the way back.”

    Sorting a loose ignition lead helped a little, but we also decided to look at the carburettor settings. The manual suggests that the volume control screw needs to be somewhere between two-and-a-half and three turns out, but this one was at six, which would explain the black electrodes on the new plugs. After a road test, we settled on three turns and, with a tweak to the air bypass, normal service was resumed.

    Typically, with the Beetle ousted from its cosy garage, the cold snap took its toll and killed the battery. That was easily sorted with a visit to the auto factor, but outdoor living is also proving detrimental to the chrome. That is disappointing, because it isn’t even a couple of years old – raising the issue of quality when it comes to parts. With that in mind, when the wash/wipe switch appeared to fail, I was about to order an OEM replacement, but decided to check the rest of the system first. It turned out that the switch was fine and that the upper pipework and nozzle were gummed up.

    After dismantling the whole assembly from the water tank upwards and repeatedly sucking out all the muck, the washers function again – but in the process I had succeeded in drowning the adjacent radio. It now only partially works, and out of only one speaker. I’ve never been particularly enamoured with this unit, though, so plans are afoot to conceal an alternative in the glovebox and reinstate the dashboard blanking plate.

    With the underbonnet area emptied to attend to the washers, I noticed that the pipe from the fresh air box had disintegrated. This is meant to enable water to drain out, helping to reduce condensation on the windscreen. If, however, the pipe is absent or broken, water just collects in a pool above the fuel tank and will quickly corrode the metal. A new one was bought for £11 and so this is at least one part of the bodywork that won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

    THANKS TO Oli Cottrell: 0118 971 2091 / #VW-Heritage : 01273 444000;

    Not a Californian sunset, but sunrise over a multistorey in Twickenham. Inset: replacement air box drain tube will help to prevent corrosion.

    Air box removed to access washer system Recent chrome already attacked by rust. Pipes and jets were thick with black gunk. Oli doing his best James Herriot impression while attempting to solve the ongoing misfire.
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  •   Martin reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    We Europeans have a pretty exact imagination in regards to the american automotive lifestyle. A home in a friendly housing estate, wide driveway including a big garage and probably one or two palm trees around. Exactly what we got when we followed an invitation from the .Busted Knuckle Garage' to Garden Grove CA. 3 crawlies were frolicking around the driveway entrance and when we were asked about which we would shoot, we chose all of them. Like a scene from a movie we cruised across Orange County and picked up plenty of looks and appreciation along the way.

    / #1967 / #Volkswagen-Kafer / #Volkswagen / #VW-Beetle / #Volkswagen-Beetle / #Volkswagen / #VW / #Volkswagen-Beetle-MkI / VW /

    We don't know if the .Busted Knuckle Garage' boys forget to press the suspension's ,up button' every time they go for a drive, but when we were there we really just scraped towards our photo location, a large warehouse area, well aged like our subjects. Positions were quickly found and on Nick Ramirez', 67 Bug, the 9" wide steelies pressed themselves well towards the fenders. That these look a little worn is not a work in progress but exactly what he wanted. Similar to all the details - partially original parts from good old Germany - this mirrors the style that Nick wanted to achieve.
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    CAR / #VW-Beetle / #Volkswagen-Beetle / #Volkswagen / #VW / #Volkswagen-Beetle-MkI
    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since March 2011
    Total mileage 89,144
    Miles since May
    report 1446
    Latest costs £8.50

    The Port family with the ‘back-up’ classic and its new friend at Bicester Scramble. Inset: snapped window regulator arm.


    Yet again, without realising it, the Beetle adopted the role of ‘back-up’ classic when the Landie suffered its catastrophic hub-bearing failure.

    With a visit to Bicester Heritage long planned for the April Sunday Scramble, there was always going to be only one vehicle for the job. But, with the IIA suddenly stranded on the driveway, we squeezed into the hastily polished VW for the trip up the A34 to the former RAF base.

    Although the Beetle was sold as family transport, there are limitations once you’ve fitted a child seat in the rear and wedged a lanky teenager into the front. Certainly Mrs P, whose selfless attitude dictated that she sat in the back, suffered from a lack of legroom once I’d made myself comfortable! That said, the relatively short hop north to Bicester was uneventful and we pulled onto the field next to a slightly later Beetle before proceeding to extricate the family from the Volkswagen.

    A good day was had by all and, with a chilly wind blowing, it was quite pleasant to make our way home with a little warmth passing over our feet thanks to the stuck flap on one of the heat exchangers. As nice as that was, though, it served as a reminder that I needed to sort it out. With temperatures on the rise, said heat was becoming a bit much – particularly when Mrs P transports guinea pigs in the footwell (that’s not a euphemism and is a story for another time).

    Giving the lever and spring beneath the vehicle a good dousing with WD40 got things moving once again, although I noted just how corroded the exchangers are becoming so they will need to be replaced before winter for sure.

    The seat runners had also been on the ‘to do’ list for a while. Moving the driver’s chair was becoming increasingly difficult and it was also rocking on the fittings.

    Investigation revealed that one of the packing strips that sit between the runner and seat base had split and come adrift. Clearly the other one was heading the same way, too.

    A fresh set arrived in the post and I took advantage of a spare lunch hour to remove the seat, fit the new strips and then give them a coat of lubricant. I also refitted the main tensioning spring, which had come adrift and had been jamming the sliding mechanism.

    The seat now moves nicely, but there was another one of those little jobs nearby. Tightening the loose window winder became irrelevant because the arm snapped, leaving the glass in the down position at the most inconvenient moment: just prior to the school run and Mrs P’s commute to work. She managed to wrestle it closed with determination, and I had a rummage in my spares drawer to dig out a replacement that I’d put somewhere.

    Undoubtedly more important than making sure that the Beetle works though, is having a fully functioning stereo. After the windscreen washer had doused the RetroSound item, the tuner had become even more temperamental than usual. With several spare FM head units in the garage, I pulled out a Clarion system that had previously been in my Scimitar GTE.

    Adapting the wiring from the old to the new stereo was straightforward, although I didn’t want to have a modern set-up in the dash so I hid it in the glovebox. This was complicated slightly by the shallow dimensions and because the bonnet release is also in there, but I didn’t mind cutting the scrappy liner so that the head unit could protrude into the underbonnet area.

    A replacement glassfibre liner made to house a radio is available but apparently the fit is poor. While I give that aspect some further thought, I have made a temporary fascia from plywood and mounted it within the liner at an angle so as not to obstruct the bonnet release.

    I was then finally able to refit the original factory blanking plate that I had safely tucked away when we fitted the RetroSound unit. The dash now has a cleaner appearance and the reception is better with the Clarion, plus the sound is clearer and its built-in USB slot means that we can keep iPhones charged while on the move. This will eventually be upgraded to a DAB unit as installed in the Land-Rover, but it’s a more than adequate solution for now.

    Front seat simply slides forward and out. Fresh packing strips are slightly shorter. Plywood fascia for ‘new’ hi-fi in glovebox. Rear of liner had to be cut to allow fitting. Blanking plate restores the original look.
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Breeze Beetle CLASSIC ORIGINAL VWS – #1976 1200 Beetle

    It’s been a long time – nearly 40 years, in fact – since we saw a 1200 Beetle in a busy VW showroom, until we headed down to Breeze Volkswagen in Poole, on ‘Back to the Future day’… Neil Birkitt reports / #Volkswagen-Beetle-1200 / #Volkswagen-1200 / #Volkswagen-Beetle-MkI / #Volkswagen-Beetle / #VW / #VW-Beetle-1200 /

    It was purely coincidence, of course, but there was something of an element of time travel in the air as I headed south to Poole in Dorset on Tuesday October 21 – Chris Evans on Radio 2 was promoting ‘Back to the Future’ day, and pride of place in Breeze Volkswagen’s Tower Park showroom had been allocated to a 1976 1200 Beetle that almost looked as if it had been in a time warp for nearly 40 years…

    We don’t often cover the classic air-cooled VWs in the pages of #Volkswagen Driver; not because we aren’t interested – far from it – but because there are already several magazines specialising in the classic cars, and we usually have our hands full featuring all the new models.

    But, like me, there must be many regular readers old enough to have fond memories of the original air-cooled models as a significant part of their motoring careers. Our late publisher, Paul Harris, also began his motoring life with Beetles, and his original title from the Sixties, which eventually spawned Volkswagen Audi Car and Volkswagen Driver, started off as the #VWOC Club Newsletter called Beetling. Personally, I learned to drive in my dad’s 1967 1300 Beetle, way back in 1977, and then tinkered about with it for the next eight years, as well as restoring and racing many other examples before finally getting involved with more modern machinery like Audi 80 Sports and Mk 3 GTI 16Vs. But only a few years ago did I sell my last Beetle, a 1967 1500. So, it was with a certain degree of intrigue and delight, not to mention a great deal of nostalgia, that I accepted an invitation from Breeze Volkswagen to view this very special 1976 VW 1200.

    Now, there are plenty of old Beetles out and about still; some are original and very shabby, a very few are very well preserved because they’ve never really been used, some are expensively and fully restored to almost exceptional standard – in some cases to a far higher quality than they ever were made in the factory – and many are modified and customised to some degree.

    But what is really special is to find an original car, still in standard specification, that has never had any significant restoration, but is still in very good condition despite having seen a useful service life, and even better if there is an extensive documented history from day 1. And that is what we have here…

    This 1200 Beetle has covered over 60,000 miles and has had just two owners from new, who were neighbours. It is in extremely good condition, not quite concours or fully showworthy but for a car which has never been substantially restored or specially prepared, apart from some mechanical re-commissioning and a thorough clean and valeting, it is in exceptional original condition.

    Andy Garrett, used vehicle buyer at Breeze Volkswagen, told me: ‘We were all very excited when we saw the car. It’s in remarkable condition with a fabulous heritage and was obviously cherished by its owners. It has been locked away in a garage for the last 14 years and structurally is in fabulous condition. Its last owner sadly passed away and his son-in-law brought it to Breeze Volkswagen on a trailer, as it hadn’t been started for many years. The brakes were seized on, all the old fuel lines were perished and the tank was rusty inside, but our workshop team soon took care of all that’.

    I was able to have a chat with Richard Ireson, the Master Technician who’d taken on the task of re-commissioning the Beetle and he explained what had been done. Both the front and rear drum bakes were overhauled and new cylinders and hoses fitted, all the fuel lines were changed, the carburettor was cleaned out and the rusty fuel tank was replaced and fitted with a new filler cap. Along with many other serviceable items including a new set of plugs, points and distributor cap, it then started with the first turn of the key!’

    Fortunately for the Beetle, Richard is one of the more senior technicians who actually knew how to deal with traditional technology like contact breaker points and rocker clearances, because the vast majority of the work in modern VW dealerships is very high-tech and involves computer diagnosis and guided faultfinding much more often than feeler gauges.

    And, of course, the road test must have been a very unusual experience because even a late Seventies Beetle sounds and feels very much like a classic car, compared with the sophisticated handling and performance of a new model. The documents which came with the Beetle are very extensive indeed, and include the original service record and handbook stamped by Volkswagen, old tax discs, MoT certificates and a whole host of various bills and receipts. It even has the original receipt for the deposit of £50 made out by F.C. Purser Ltd of Old Kent Road in south-east London, as well as the finance agreement to cover the original purchase price of £2060.26.

    The first owner, from June 17 1976, was Mr. William Martin King, aged 62 when he bought it, then living at Shortlands in Kent, although clearly he subsequently moved down to Lime Road, Dorchester in Dorset, with later references showing that most of the servicing throughout the years was carried out by Loders Garage of Dorchester.

    Looking through the various invoices, it’s mostly routine stuff like oil changes and wiper blades, although it did need a new steering damper and some brake cylinders along the way. The service book is stamped up all the way up to the late Eighties, at which point the mileage is recorded as 47,735 although clearly there was a hiatus here, with the speedo changed at some point because it now shows 2048.5.

    But, if it wasn’t for the service record, no-one would doubt that as the genuine mileage because the general condition is exceptional for an original unrestored car. I had plenty of time for a good look around the car and was astounded at its condition, considering that it is nearly 40 years old and has covered over 60,000 miles. Apart from a few small stone chips on the front of the bonnet and some tarnish on the chromework around the rear side windows there is very little wrong with it at all.

    Showroom lights aren’t the best way to view paintwork, but there is evidence of some non-original paint on the front of the nearside front wing and a small touch-up on the passenger door, but apart from that the orange paintwork all seems to be original and in very good condition. Even the rubber sealing strips around the bonnet and engine lid apertures are all in very good condition with no sign of rust.

    Possibly the only undesirable aspect is the set of 165-15 tyres that is fitted, clearly a budget brand that I’d never heard of, called Woosung, but searching through the invoices it seem that they were fitted on May 22, 2000 by Express Fit in London Road Dorchester, for the princely sum of £117 all inclusive of valves, fitting and balancing. Even now, they look almost brand-new, with all the tiny bobbles still intact, but we wouldn’t want to drive too far on any budget tyres, let alone 15-year-old ones, and anyone buying this Beetle would want to get it rolling on a new set of appropriate tyres.

    Inside, the door shuts are all good, the headlining all sound and although the clothfronted seat covers are fine the inner stuffing has clearly gone brittle and crunchy. Oh, and the glovebox lid was rather reluctant to stay shut, but that probably just needs some adjustment to the rotary catch.

    Much of the paperwork is now mounted inside a glass display and so I couldn’t examine it all closely, but the last MoT that was visible is dated May 26, 2000 and the tax disc in the windscreen expired at the end of November 2001, with the second owner a Mr. Anthony Barzilay, who lived in the same road in Dorchester recorded as registered keeper from May 18, 2001 – all consistent with it having been stood garaged for the last 14 years.

    Marion Barzilay, wife of Anthony Barzilay, the late owner, said: ‘My earliest memories of the car were hearing from the first owners about their wonderful European trips in it and showing us their detailed journal enjoying the Volkswagen lifestyle. The bright orange Beetle featured in many of their photos alongside popular tourist attractions. The car has been a big part of our lives – if only it could talk!’

    Indeed, this is one of those lovely old cars that is not only a real classic, but also in good original condition and with a huge amount of history, if not perhaps perfectly complete. You wouldn’t even want to change its tiny imperfections – the small stone chips and slightly tarnished window chrome etc – because they are representative of its history and originality.

    What happens from here on is anyone’s guess; it would be nice to see the Beetle remain on display in the showroom as a talking point, among all the New Beetles that surround it, but showrooms are not museums – their purpose is to sell cars. Andy Garrett tells me that they’d had a classic Porsche enthusiast showing interest in it, and talking about a figure around £10,000. That’s actually the very number I’d hazarded a guess at earlier in the day when discussing the Beetle with Breeze Volkswagen Marketing Executive Laura Cook and Louise Williams, the Account Manager for Liz Lean PR, the company that looks after Breeze Volkswagen and who first brought the Beetle to our attention.

    Suffice it to say that you’d have to travel a very long way and / or wait a very long while to find another Beetle quite like this, and you’d have to spend a lot more than that on a full restoration of a typical late Seventies Beetle. Certainly, this long-time Beetle enthusiast left the Breeze Volkswagen showroom sorely wishing I had £10,000 to spare.

    Contact Breeze Volkswagen Yarrow Road, Tower Park Poole, Dorset, BH12 4QY Tel: 01202 713 000

    ‘A talking point, among all the New Beetles that surround it...’
    ‘For a car which has never been substantially restored or specially prepared, it is in exceptional original condition...’
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