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As many of you know, I have wanted a Bug for a long time. Back in March I found one I could afford. It was $1600(a dollar for every cc I guess) and it needed a lot of love. It appeared someone used it as a battering ram at some point in its past, but aside from that, it was in relatively decent shape for being 47 years old.

I want kind of an "overland" Bug. Something I can throw my beeper in the backseat and head out into the hills. The buggy is great, but can be cold, when you want to leave at 4 or 5 am... to get to your prospecting spot by dawn. Oh and heat would be real frickin wonderful! and wipers, and music, and well...you know whatever else.

I gutted the car and starting cutting. A Baja kit usually has fiberglass fenders, engine cover, hood and front valance. So you have to remove a lot of metal. It ended up not being that big a deal, but I had to fix a lot of other stuff along the way. 

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Fixing rust. Gotta do it...

I scored some conveyor belting from work for use as heavy duty floor mats. I wonder how many lbs of Vulture Mine gold has this chunk of belt carried? Some of it is still stuck in the belt:)

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Used more of that conveyor belt in the cargo area. Durable and it might help with noise levels too.

I built the wiring harness from scratch.

Interior is mostly done. Nothing fancy as I figure it will see occasional rough use.

 

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Wiring done.

Red LED under dash lights that come on when you open the door. For enough light to enter the car... but not so much it takes away your night vision.

Switches and gauges installed into custom composite panels I made myself.

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I got the car moved into the garage tent now. I pulled the front beam off and just got it all torn down yesterday for modification and rebuilding. That is where the project now stands. I'm trying to get this car going soon. I'm hoping to make a private camp out in mid October...but I'll have to see how this finishes up. 

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Dave,

Thanks for the update, I guess that explains why the flying machine updates are missing.....  Glad Frank was able to assist, he is a very talented guy.  Your post reminded me of something I had not thought about lately.  I had a baja years ago and experienced a strange occurrence as I was descending a trail coming down into Lake Isabella from the mountains.  Much to my amazement I observed the wheel and tire from the front on the passenger side of the bug moving away from the vehicle at a good clip.  Rolling down the trail just like a road runner or something it was.  The bug was still controllable and it was interesting to see the wheel and tire leave the trail and crash through the brush into the canyon below.  Having some good lads on board allowed for the retrieval of the missing bits.  I collected it on a car trailer and took it home for repair.  It seems that the spindle which was drilled for the speedo cable had fatigued over time and finally said adios.  Fortunately all were safe and it gave us something to talk about for a long time.  

Great job on your build and keep up posted.

Jeff

 

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1 hour ago, pairadiceau said:

Dave,

Thanks for the update, I guess that explains why the flying machine updates are missing.....  Glad Frank was able to assist, he is a very talented guy.  Your post reminded me of something I had not thought about lately.  I had a baja years ago and experienced a strange occurrence as I was descending a trail coming down into Lake Isabella from the mountains.  Much to my amazement I observed the wheel and tire from the front on the passenger side of the bug moving away from the vehicle at a good clip.  Rolling down the trail just like a road runner or something it was.  The bug was still controllable and it was interesting to see the wheel and tire leave the trail and crash through the brush into the canyon below.  Having some good lads on board allowed for the retrieval of the missing bits.  I collected it on a car trailer and took it home for repair.  It seems that the spindle which was drilled for the speedo cable had fatigued over time and finally said adios.  Fortunately all were safe and it gave us something to talk about for a long time.  

Great job on your build and keep up posted.

Jeff

 

Dang Jeff! That would have been unsettling. Good thing you were able to keep it under control!

The airplane is in the back of my brain still. I'm just trying to get some wheels under me that have a heated cab before the cold weather sets in. I was able to relocate my workbench indoors and that should allow me to assemble the wings this winter. :fl:

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  • 3 weeks later...
I haven't posted anything lately because I've been busy. Now the weather here in Arizona is starting to moderate, it's been fall cleaning time around here. I repaired and repurposed my old garage tent and moved the Bug inside it. It is dry, protected from the sun...and the birds.
I pulled the bent front beam off of the car and disassembled and cleaned the good parts for re-use. I had bought a spare beam for 100 bucks and used it as the base for the new beam. Since that gave me two sets of spindles...I decided to make my own raised spindles the Blind Chicken Racing way. If you look at the pics, you can see how that was accomplished. I've also added adjusters to both tubes, which will allow fine tuning of my ride height.
I'm reinforcing the shock towers now and adding the big pin stops next. After some black paint, it will soon be ready to bolt back on the car.

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Lookin good bro.

   Old Tom

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Oh my Goodness!  What a great story you have here.  Someone should take this and pay you to put it in their magazine.

Great job.

Mitchel

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I posted those pictures of my project and the raised spindles I made yesterday, and I have heard several stories about broken left side spindles. Since I put all that work into those spindles... I figured some extra insurance would be a good idea. 
I sacrificed an 11/32" transfer punch as a reinforcement pin. I cut it to the proper length, smeared it with industrial epoxy and drove it into the speedo cable hole. I staked the end of the keyway over the pin for extra retention.
I have absolutely zero proof this will help, but I don't think it hurt anything...and I feel better about it.

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:idunno:   Heat retention might be a factor?   

    Old Tom

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1 hour ago, Old Tom said:

:idunno:   Heat retention might be a factor?   

    Old Tom

Possibly. :89: I figured the only way to know, was try it and see. If that pin walks out I will probably weld it in. I believe it will stay though. IT was a snug fit before the epoxy.  The majority of the load is in shear anyways. :fl:

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Great build so far.  You'll have an awesome rig when you're done and know every bolt on it.  Bugs do very well off road as long as you know their limitations. :thumbsupanim

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  • 3 weeks later...
I started working more hours and haven't had much time for the Bug lately, but I finished the front winch bumper yesterday. I also got all 5 tires mounted in preparation for rolling it outside, and turning it around to start work on the back.
The bumper turned out well. Nice and strong and will hold the 5000lb winch perfectly. I added a ring to the bottom of the skid for either an anchor point, or a place to clip the cable in double line winching. It's a strong enough winch I shouldn't have to resort to that very often. I pressed out all the ball joints and pressed in the new ones. I have new tie rods to install. I will cut up the sway bar and drive them into the tie rods to strengthen them.

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Dunno how I missed these post.

Nice, very nice.

I just installed one of the diesel heaters in our 1956 Terry 12 footer. Blast out the heat. Great placement of yours under the hood. Is that the 2kw or the bigger 5 to 8kw? I many borrow your placement for mine baja.

Wife and I enjoy the backroads in the area and hope to have it out on the playa soon.

(Middle Fork of the American River, Georgetown side.) Almost got into my first sand trap when we got going again in that same direction.

I paid a bit more than you for this one, $1600 with a 1500 in it. Running fresh 1915, added 15" rims and tires, rack and other fitments.

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Edited by GeoJack
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