Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bringing a future VW driver into the world...

I've been keeping this blog up for about 3 years now with barely a break. With the upcoming birth of our first child (who will not have a VW-related name), I will be taking a short break from the blog to enjoy dirty diapers rather than dirty engines.

Stay tuned. I expect to have this bus back on the road in a few weeks...

Engine pics from the 1956 bug...

Last weekend I finally took the rags off the engine to have a look. I found the carb on the floor of the bug and the missing engine tin in the back seat, so this is looking very complete.

I sprayed the engine with some degreaser and let it set for a while. Upon my return, I wiped it down and sprayed more. Repeat a few more times and I started to get a relatively clean engine. I still have more to clean before I start thinking about what to do next (take it apart to rebuild? Move on to the transmission?).

Here are some pictures...

If I am reading these #s correctly, the engine is from 1958.

Glad I laid down some paper to catch the crap that dripped and fell off.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The history of our 1956 VW bug (as we figure it out)

Here's what I know about the new bug. I'll update this as I find out more details.

The bug was 1 of 333,190 built in Germany for model year 1956. It was actually built on November 22 of 1955 - making in 55 years old as I post this. 50,437 bugs were registered in the United States for model year 1956.

In 1968, it was sold to Frank Barker in Napa California. Frank's daughter, Diana, drove the bug until the early 70s. It seems like the last time it was registered with the DMV was 1973. An un-returned 1974 registration was found in the car:

Frank parked the car outside for a few years, but then moved it into the garage to "fix the transmission". He put the bug up on 2 pieces of wood, cut the body in the back to remove the engine and pulled the transmission out. Apparently, this is where he stopped. Sometime in the mid-70s.

Frank passed in 2002, leaving the project unfinished.

Here's how it looked in 2010 when I bought it:

The engine and chassis numbers don't seem to match up from the research I have done so far:

Chassis # 1-1026474
Engine # 2,322,092 (seems to be from 1958)
Color: exterior: L 315 jungle green
Upholstery - leatherette: 73 dark green

Oh, and apparently the bug took Frank to the golf course a few times. I found this in the glovebox:


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vintage Tuesday! European scene.

European scene.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bug toy for the new baby...

The people who recently purchased our 1953 Aljoa trailer gave our soon to come child a gift. This cool wooden VW bug toy. Oddly, this marks the first (of many, I'm sure) VW bug toy for the little one. For those of you who follow this, we are due in about 3 weeks!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

From the Static Files: wrecked split

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Getting the 1956 VW bug home - Part Five: Making space in the workshop

Getting the 1956 VW bug home - Part Four: Clean Bug

Last Sunday - I woke up early and went out to take a few pictures with the nice camera. Here's what it looked like all cleaned up:

For some reason, there were many extra parts that kept showing up as I pulled this out. I'll go through the extra parts in another post, but I started an art project with the extra hub caps that came with the car. I actually got about 4 more that were either on the bug or inside...

EP doesn't think I should name the car. In case we decide to sell it with the kid coming. I think we should give it a name in the meantime. Any ideas? The Green Hornet? Jungle Jalopy?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting the 1956 VW bug home - Part Three: Getting the new '56 bug off the trailer...

Getting the new '56 bug out of its resting place and home was one issue. One that was pretty easy when looking back on it. Getting that bug around our house and back to the workshop was a whole 'nother issue! One not so easy...

Let me paint the picture. We live in a house that has the garage in back. To get back there, you drive the driveway which is the width of your car plus, say, 18 inches on each side. On one side there is a fence. On the other, our house. It's a tight squeeze by any standard. In fact, a few months back, an associate actually ran into the side of our house.

Now, add to this picture an overhang from our roof that gives about 10 feet of clearance. Annnnnd we don't have street parking in front of our place. And, the driveway is on an uphill slant.

Short story. Getting the Budget truck to the back was impossible. Backing in was the only option. I'm not bad at backing a trailer. But I'm not great. So, once I determined backing the truck in to be our best option, EP acted as my guide and I went to town trying to get it aimed correctly.

It took a while. Back in, then back out, then back enough to let cars by, then back out, then back in and let some cars by. On and on. One of the cars I let by was my neighbor, who then hopped out and joined in the effort.

A few tries later and I had the back left of the trailer about 2 inches short of our sprinkler system and the right side of the truck a few inches shy of our overhang.

Have a look:

So a huge thanks to my neighbor, as he found an interest in the project and stuck around to help out. He's a firefighter and quickly devised a plan to use the rope I had as a pulley to lower the car (mind you, a car without brakes) off the trailer. He hopped in to steer and I let it loose and lowered it with the rope. It went pretty smooth and I was able to push him all the way back to the workshop while he was steering. As he said, "Good times!"

At this point, I was a little dirty. Actually, I was a lot dirty.

I had one more logistical problem to work out. In order to get the engine out of the truck, I had to pull the loading ramp out. In order to pull the ramp out, I had to remove the trailer. And the trailer wouldn't go back any further, so that meant moving the truck with the trailer, dropping it somewhere in my 'hood, then coming back with just the truck.

I was tired just thinking about it all.

So, I drove a few blocks to a flat area, left the trailer, then decided to park the truck up the street from our house and roll the engine home. I honestly hope this is the last time I ever have to single-handedly remove a engine from a truck and roll it down a hill...

Looks odd? Here's some video:


At last, I was victorious!

Actually, I wanted a nap...

The last task of the day was to drop the remaining wheels (for some reason, they had 6 VW wheels) at Wheel Works to remove the remaining tires. Then I dropped off the truck, came home, showered and slept.

I'll tell you though. If there was a professional "old-car-bringer-home" person, I'd want to do it. The problem solving involved. The physical work. It is awesome. Anyone that needs help, I'm in!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting the 1956 VW bug home - Part Two: Seeing sunlight for the first time in 30 years

On the way back from Napa with the '56 bug on the Budget trailer, I decided I might as well wash the car. After all, it had 30 years of dust and dirt on it. I figured before I washed it, I'd take some up close pictures of it as it was. So I pulled over a few blocks before the car wash and too these shots:

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