Friday, September 30, 2011

Little Blue Rides Again!

 Oak was happy to see Little Blue return home.

Well, $2300 later and Little Blue is back from the shop. I must say, I'm quite taken with the new quickness that the 1600 engine provides over the old 1200. Little Blue is much faster off the line and, the biggest difference, going up hills. Suddenly, Little Blue can keep up with traffic going uphill!

The engine growls a lot more. Think more Harley and less MG. I used to think my bug sounded different than many of the later models I would see driving on the road. Less roughness. I was right. Now Little Blue sounds just like those later model bugs.

Some notes about the conversion that I could glean so far:
1. The heater boxes don't match up with the old heater tubes. So, Harmony Garage did a bit of a patch job with what seems to be heating duct material. I tried the heat and it works as fine as ever
2. The flywheel on the new engine doesn't match up to the older transmission exactly, so some grinding was required on the old transmission housing. I can hear it clipping the sides a little from time to time. Pft pft pft pft.
3. The generator they had on the new engine needs no alternator. Odd.
4. 12 volt lights might be worth the cost during this coming winter's rainy season.

This is not to say that things are perfect. Shifting has become an issue the last 2 days that seems to be getting worse. And it seems to be the longer I run it (say over 20 miles) the shifting becomes even harder. Getting back into first at a dead stop results in considerable grinding on the gears. Even coming up through 2nd and 3rd you get little nicks of grinding gears before it goes into gear. And, if I'm not careful, the gearshift will pop out of my hand going from 2nd to 3rd as it seems to be under pressure to do so in the top of 2nd gear.

Later today I am stopping back by Harmony and picking up my old engine for parts and dissection purposes. I'll discuss the shifting issues then and see what the next step is. I hope it's not them taking the engine back out, but I can't see a way where that is not the case.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Drive By Shootings #20

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BMW Ultimates - Why I don't drive a BMW...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vintage Tuesday - Yep, here's the new used VW I bought...

Yep, here's the new used VW I bought...

Monday, September 26, 2011

An awesome blog worth reading...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

From the Static Files... Step Back!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Little Blue is coming home...

Yesterday I got a call from the garage working on Little Blue. My beetle is done. Ready to pick up. Fast work, huh! I hope to pick it up today.

It's been a few weeks without Little Blue and, after Big Blue died, I had hitched some rides with another guy who lives nearby that works with me. After feeling like I was asking a bit too often, I used my AAA discount at Hertz and rented this Toyota Yaris for $155 for a week:

The morning after renting it, I had to take it up into a vineyard where, I had been warned, only four-wheel drive could make it. The Yaris made it no problem, though, I do need to wash it before returning it. It was on that vineyard climb, from the floor of Napa Valley up about 1600 feet to the top of Diamond Mountain, that I missed Little Blue the most. He digs that stuff. And he would have loved the dirty, dusty vineyard.

Driving a Yaris isn't the end of the world - there's air conditioning and a radio. But there was a moment that sucked. I was meeting a large group of people - approx 40 - in the vineyard mentioned above. They would have been way above me as I drove the Yaris toward them. And, having taken a fleet of Suburbans up to the top, I'm sure they thought that that Yaris would stop dead on the incline. And, while I was driving it up the hill I thought about how much more cool this entrance would have been in the bug. That would have blown their minds! And that's when I missed Little Blue the most. It was like my partner in crime was off taking care of his mother and I was left with a ill-suited stand in.

So I have another - Little Blue's blown but complete except block - engine now. The 6-volt stuff will be great back up for the Green Hornet - the 56 project bug - now that Little Blue is 12 volt. I plan on pulling Little Blue's old engine apart and cracking the case. It will be a good learning opportunity.

And next week I'll report back on the difference between driving a 12 volt and 6 volt bug, and what the new 1600 engine feels like compared to the 1200. Watch out, world. Looks like someone learned how to putt.

This post brought to you by Bug-In 24:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

VW model by Maisto

My mother-in-law sent me this VW kit a few weeks back. It was actually pretty cool - heavy metal, good quality for a toy. I had fun putting it together, and Oak had some fun with it as well - he loves anything with wheels right now.

Putting it together was easy enough:

And, playing with it is easy as well:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

March 1958 Small Car Magazine - The Owners Say

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vintage Tuesday - Turquoise Heaven

Turquoise Heaven.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The VW Club of U.S. - The first VW club in the United States...

This was published in the December 1955 issue of Sports Car Illustrated:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

From the Static Files... Burn victim

Friday, September 16, 2011

9-16-11 Week In Review - 10 things I love about Vintage VWs or How I am attempting to get some good karma

I try to do good things. I hold doors open. I let people into the lane in front of me. I pick up trash that I see on the ground (well, really only if it looks clean enough to grab and there is a trash can, like, right there). But good karma has given up the ghost around us this week. Seriously, here's our current situation:

- It's by far my busiest week of work all year
- Big Blue___dead.
- Little Blue was towed, will get $2000 worth of repairs
- Sink = clogged

And, for reasons I would love to disclose, I received my first ever "cease and desist" letter. I would love to tell you all the details, because that's what I do here on Fridays. But I better not. It's nothing to do with VWs or this site or my family, but it does have to do with a dream.

It's odd. I was going to write this week about 9-11. I was going to tell about how I was in lower Manhattan during the attacks on the World Trade Center. I was going to tell you how I slept through it in my apartment on 15th street and realized something was happening just after the 2nd tower fell, when I turned on the TV then, in a state of confusion, ran up to the roof and then tried to figure out why I couldn't see the World Trade Center. I had planned a whole story about how this sent me into the wilds of New Jersey via bus a week later to buy a tent with the sole purpose of getting the F out of Dodge. I had thought about how it linked directly with me leaving The City and heading west and not stopping until I ran out of land. But it all seems like bullshit. Bad Karma.

So it's time to clean things up a bit. I shall tell you of 10 simple things I dig about the VW world. This may seem like "shout outs", but it is simply a self-serving way to get my f-ing soul realigned with the universe. Here goes:

10. Chicks on the cover of Hot VWs.
I make fun of them all the time. But who am I to judge? Sure they are leaning against cars of questionable taste, but is this their fault? No. I take back everything bad I've said and embrace this:

9. All VW guys are old hippies (or they look like it)
Well, some are. And even some that aren't sport the look. But more often than not, they are mechanical engineers who know far more than the deadheads that made these cars famous.
Photo courtesy (i.e. stolen) from

8. There is an awesome online community for those afflicted with air-cooled madness:

7. That these fancy fellows hate old VWs make them so much cooler:

Shit. I was trying to be nice...

6. These guys are way cooler than the guys above:

 From the 2011 Automobile Magazine story on the annual Shasta Snow Trip.

5. There are assholes in the VW world (but there are always good guys nearby):

The story is at

4. Wine + Bus + Setting Sun:

3. The history is still fresh:

 (buy a copy of the above piece of VW history here)

2. Having friends in old VWs are the best of times:

1. They seem to run best when running near the ocean:

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