RUN BY Damon Cogman
OWNED SINCE 2003
As the newest member of the team, allow me to introduce the latest addition to the Drive-My fleet. I’ve owned my very beige 1968 1600 Type 3 Fastback for more than 15 years, making it the longest (car) relationship I’ve ever had. We’ve been everywhere together, My little #VW
and I, all over Europe visiting countless car shows, historic racing events and even getting pressed into action as my wedding car one summer’s day. When I bought the VW in 2003 it had just arrived in the UK from a lifetime spent in the Californian sunshine near Hollywood. It must have been a bit of a shock to the poor thing to suddenly have to contend with the British weather.
I’m a big believer in using my classics every day, come rain or shine. So much so, I forsake the modern reliability of a boring Eurobox and rely only on classics for transport. Not always the best idea when I’m stranded at the side of the road at 3am, but that’s what breakdown cover is for, right?
Consequently, and because I have a stubborn insistence on all-year-round classic motoring, maintenance and repair on my VW is pretty constant. However, as the legendary German engineering has proved, it’s more than up to the job of racking up the miles in the modern world year after year.
To keep the car from being overwhelmed on the autobahns, it has had one or two upgrades here and there over the years. The first job after its import was to lose the power-sapping smog equipment and temperamental fuel-injection system and replace them with a pair of sexy Dell’Orto carbs. A much simpler option, and they even came with the bonus of a few extra horses. Not to be sniffed at when you only have a whisker over 40 to start with. The original steel wheels were also changed for Mahle Porsche 914 versions and, like many VWs, a gentle lowering for a slice of cool. However, like every classic that gets driven through all weathers, the dreaded rust creeps up on you at some point. So, with a heavy heart, this winter I decided to take my trusty companion off the road and start the process of attending to all the telltale signs of bubbling paint and flaking underseal.
This is where the story deviates from the familiar one of a light refresh towards what is now a full scale restoration. The rot had spread much further than hoped, and beneath the innocent beige panels lay a collection of horrors that meant many more hours of welding and quite a few swears when each small hole turned into something slightly larger.
Earlier this year, my old friend Sam Anker drew the short straw and was entrusted with setting about the VW in his spacious and very organised workshop with a grinder and welding torch. It’s been a painful experience, seeing my once immaculate Type 3 reduced to its bare bones, but I know the end is gradually coming into sight.
Many hours have gone into wire-brushing, paint-stripping, sanding and preparing the floorpan and inner-wing areas, which were the worst spots of rot.
As I write this, all the rust has been eradicated from the shell and new metal now lives where rusty holes once lurked. And, with a bit of luck, the Type 3 should be heading off to the paint shop very soon. I can’t wait to have my old friend back for a fantastic 2020 of adventures – all over Europe.
Floorpan is now as good as new – or better.
Lurking beneath the shiny chrome and layers of wax, the dreaded rust had taken hold. Soon the VW will be back to its pristine best. Three stages of grief, for VW’s caretaker Anker, as the inner wing is overhauled after rot.