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ChrisTropea Associate Editor
1/20/20 6:36 p.m.

About a year ago I was searching on Facebook marketplace durring my lunch break and stumbled upon a post that peaked my intrest, A 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle. For the longest time I had wanted an air-cooled VW becasue growing up I was always hearing stories from my dad and grandfather about having various Beetles throughout the years and the memories they had with them, one of which caught fire at a gas station but that is a story for another day. On that day this project in progress seemed to me like a great starting point, even though I did not have the slightest idea what a good starting point should look like other than checking for it to have as little rust as possible. This was part of my biggest problem, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. How hard could it be to completly re-build a Beetle I said to myself. So with cash in hand, off we went with van and trailer to go look at and buy my first project car. As of now it is still in the works and but here it is my first build thread, so lets start at the begining. 

Day 1 

Driving out far west of Deland Florida, we arrived at the sellers house to see the Beetle in his shop. After looking it over we saw it had new floor pans and a mostly straight body minus some dings and small areas of rust that need attention. Confident that this was the car for me  we got to the bargining stage and after a few minitues we agreed to a price, exchanged money and the title, shook hands and begain loading it into the trailer with all its parts. Then we took one last look around the sellers garage for parts that may have been left behind and put the address into the van GPS system set and off on our way home and imedialy got stuck on a soft dirt road. This did not help inpire confidence in my latest decision. But after about an hour of digging and moving the van and trailer around we finally got free and made it onto pavement and headed to Harbor Freight to pick up my new garage ( I agree with what you all are thinking and no I did not think this all the way through). With the garage assmbled and the Beetle unloaded into its new home the hard part begain, deciding on where to start with no idea what to do. 

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/20/20 7:46 p.m.

I have a ton of vw parts if you end up needing anything.  

Wicked93gs New Reader
1/20/20 8:10 p.m.

A bug is on my list as my next project car(technically I have already, but its too rusty to be worth saving)...oh, the possibilities. Good luck with the build!

ChrisTropea Associate Editor
1/21/20 8:12 a.m.

In reply to Patrick :

Thanks! Once it starts turning back into a car I may get in touch with you about some parts. 

ChrisTropea Associate Editor
1/21/20 8:13 a.m.

In reply to Wicked93gs :

Thanks! It should be fun once it is all together. 

ChrisTropea Associate Editor
1/21/20 4:08 p.m.


New and slightly improved flooring in the "garage". Parts are starting to get inventoried and I am starting to get a feel for how much work it is actually going to take to get this on the road. 

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/22/20 7:09 p.m.

If you don't have it already, get this:

Don't be put off by the title, it is perhaps the best manual ever written.

ChrisTropea Associate Editor
1/23/20 9:49 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy :

Thanks! That was the first book I bought after getting the car. I definitly need the step-by step guide haha

ChrisTropea Associate Editor
2/7/20 8:14 a.m.

Time to ge the engine cleaned up and the tins painted and attached. Luckily i had all but one tin, the dog house, which I ordered online and decided that I was going to delete the heat since I live in Florida and it wont be a daily driver. 

And I found this stock style exhaust for a great deal at the local aircooled show. 

ChrisTropea Associate Editor
11/15/21 11:59 a.m.

Time to get this build going again. After a year of the car sitting the Beetle moved from its spot in my parent’s garage to Toms shop. 

Since my last update the car has been painted, the brakes re-built, and brake system got back in working order. Next on the list is to look at all the parts I have and make a spread sheet of what I still need or need to replace and a timeline of when I need those parts to arrive.


ChrisTropea Associate Editor
11/16/21 3:01 p.m.

In reply to MuSTANK :

Thanks! I am excited to get it on the road. I have had it for almost 3 years so its time to get this project moving again. Thankfully there is a decent air-cooled VW community around here so between online for new stuff and marketplace I should have no problem getting what I need. 

ChrisTropea Associate Editor
11/16/21 3:05 p.m.

Toms shop officially has a bug problem.  The plan is to get it wired and install the fuel system to get the car moving under its own power first. Then I can get going on rebuilding the suspension and cleaning up the underside of the car.  

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
5/20/24 9:34 a.m.

Time to get this thread moving again. A lot has happened since my last update so I will be posting chunks of the progress to get back up to date. I have a few hopefully last parts on the way so I can finally get the car on the road. Here is a photo of how it currently sits (please excuse my messy garage), now in my garage but there is a lot to cover to how it got here. 

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/20/24 9:55 a.m.
ChrisTropea said:

... I have and make a spread sheet of what I still need or need to replace and a timeline of when I need those parts to arrive.

It's good enough for Williams Racing it should work for GRM. 

Slippery GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/20/24 10:29 a.m.

Love me a flat windshield Super!

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
5/21/24 3:12 p.m.

Okay, so once the car was in Toms shop step one was to get the fuel tank cleaned up and installed. The tank that came with the car was a little crusty on the inside so I decided to re-seal the tank with a kit from KBS Coatings. This would save me some money vs buying a replacement tank and keeping costs on this restoration low is a priority. You can read the full update on the Classic Motorsports website but long story short it worked well. With 2 days and a little manual labor I had a freshly sealed tank ready to install in the car. 


J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
5/21/24 4:17 p.m.

I'm glad to see some movement on this!

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
5/22/24 10:16 a.m.

In reply to J.A. Ackley :

Me too, my hopefully last big order of parts should show up on Friday so more work can get going and get it closer to driving down the road.

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
5/22/24 10:20 a.m.

Next up was the wiring. I decided that since the harness that was in the car had been spliced and patched it was worth the price to put a new harness in the car. First step was to make note of where and how all the old harness was routed then pull the new main harness through the car with help from the old harness to fish it through. One mistake I did make was not taking enough pictures of the fuse box and how everything connected before we took it apart for paint so i will have to rely on diagrams and help from friends to get it all back correctly. 

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
6/20/24 9:48 a.m.

Next it was time to address the paint, when I had the car painted by a friend I was trying to get it done as cheaply as possible and did not have him cut and buff the car. That was a mistake, but luckily friend of the magazine Tom Prescott offered to help me out for a day and get the paint all cleaned up. After he was finished the finish had completely transformed and I am so happy I went with the VW Gulf Blue for my Super Beetle. 

Slippery GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/20/24 1:31 p.m.

That color looks great! Coming along nicely.

preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/20/24 2:15 p.m.

In reply to Chris Tropea :


Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/20/24 2:17 p.m.

Oh yeah, that's noice.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
6/20/24 2:58 p.m.

Some behind the scenes fun: While Tom was in my shop sanding Chris's Beetle, the house next door had just been listed and was being shown to a few different potential buyers. This was back when houses were selling in just a few days, and that day I was the noisy neighbor in his garage with the compressor screaming and a sander running constantly. 

One of those buyers attending the showing? Chris, actually, who pretended he hadn't just been in my garage and toured the house, making a point to ask about the noisy neighbor. He could have gotten a great deal if he'd decided to buy it!

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
6/20/24 3:24 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Yeah the relator was very confused what all the noise was and mentioned a few times that it was strange. I pretended that I had no idea what was going on. Even though we didn't buy the house next to Tom we did find another one and the Beetle is now in its own garage where hopefully it will soon be ready to hit the road. 

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