This ’72 bug came to the ‘shop for ‘light restoration’. Although the body structure & floors were in pretty good nick, the exterior of the car had suffered at the hands of DIY repairs & standing out in the British weather. Rust was pushing through down both A-pillars, the door bottoms had been bodged, lots of cracked filler over rust & bubbling rust under paint all around the car in general. Most bolt-on bits like wings, running boards, bumpers etc. and all the rubber parts were ready for the bin.
So, to restore the bug to be beautiful once again, a full exterior strip-down to the bare metal was necessary to unearth those rusty bits & chop ’em out & weld in new steel. Along with reconstructing both A-pillars, a front quarter panel was grafted in, a rear quarter up to the swage-line (previously welded in repair was so bad it was more economical to cut it all out & start again), and also some small sections under the windscreen lip & around the rear vents.
The owner, Dave, chose to go for an earlier look with long bonnet, semi-W decklid, sloping headlamps, so we replaced the rotten 70’s front & rear valances with pre ’67 ones.
A lot of work went into trial-fitting and aligning all the exterior panels; the wings and bonnet were good quality panels (not those nasty ‘klokkerbollocks’ ones!) which are made of the correct gauge steel & therefore are a better fit & should last.
With the metalwork on the ‘shell complete, it was primed & painted in VW Dove Blue, but instead of using direct gloss we used a basecoat for the colour & then clearcoat, for a more glossy ‘showroom shine’ finish. Following that, Dave went for a set of US-style towel-rail bumpers & new chrome & rubber all round.
We fitted a new lowered beam & dropped rear springplates before putting the bug back on its wheels. The wheels are the original 4-stud steels, for which we had 36 inserts made to weld into the slots, ground them off & primed & painted the wheels in body-colour. Bit of an experiment that one, which Dave was happy to play guinea-pig to, and yeah it paid off -they turned out great.
So, with new rubber on those rims, a quick service & fresh MOT & she’s lookin shiny & new (and older at the same time!)