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Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
9/2/22 1:19 p.m.

Patina details--lots of cracks and nicks. As I said before, I'll probably do a full repaint sometime but for now it'll stay this way. My patina-loving friends have expressed their opinions, of course.  I believe there is a difference between a good paint job with patina and an old, bad paint job.  This one is more in the good/patina category, but I have enough patina cars so the time will come to make it nicer at some point.

Unfortunately, the cracks in the trunk lid are due to waves/dents from people putting too much in the trunk. 

The overider braces are all missing, but that doesn't matter because I'm goint to remove the US overriders and just run blades with European overriders.

Spare tire well is dent free and just has some surface rust, no big deal

The only rust is this cracking in the RF footwell and a little bit at the RF A-pillar (no pic right now).

More stereo sins: Someone cut holes in the footwells for the speakers. Those same speakers would fit in the doors by just cutting the cards.  Oh well.

I can't remember ever seeing rear shoulder belts. The PO said the weld nuts were there. The belts are fixed, no retractors, so not comfortable. I may replace them with lap belts, If so, it's a bummer that the nice headliner will have two small holes for me to deal with.

Anyway, those are most of the cosmetic flaws.  I'm super happy there isn't any serious rust or other big issues.

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/2/22 2:32 p.m.

For some inspiration try watching YouTuber Sarah-N-Tuned. She is currently working on a 1969 Beetle to make it Class 11. She is doing a very good job I think. It's going to be a give a way car when she is done.

'69 Class 11 Playlist 

I'd LOVE to race Class 11 out west.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
9/3/22 9:18 a.m.

In reply to preach (dudeist priest) :

I've seen some of those episodes. She is doing a nice job. I'll admit I don't have the patience to sit through a whole episode and have skimmed through them.

For those who don't know what a Class 11 car is, it's a spec off-road class for Beetles that limits modifications to keep costs down. Like most spec classes, I don't know if it really keeps costs down too much, but the cars are really cool.

I don't know how many more Beetles I need to own, but I've thought about building a lifted one like a Class 11 car for sure. I'm not a big fan of the Baja look, but I do like lifted with a full body.

The most tempting build would be to replicate what the factory did for the British Army right after WWII. If a solid but incomplete split window ever falls into my lap, it could happen. There was also a similar model, but with 4WD, built during the war called the Kommandeurswagen.

RandolphCarter Reader
9/3/22 10:08 a.m.

About the patina - I think you can do whatever you want to this car. Your Jeep has enough patina for an entire collection of cars.


Definitely interested to see what you do with this car. My family had a 1966 Beetle from when I was 7 to when I was 18.

buzzboy SuperDork
9/3/22 11:22 a.m.
Carl Heideman said:

I'm not a big fan of the Baja look, but I do like lifted with a full body.

I have the same feelings. My beetle was lifted about 3" on 235/75R17 tires on stock wheels. Wasn't great in soft sand but was really fun on trails.

Now a Kommandeurswagen clone built with a syncro drivetrain would be HAWT!

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
9/3/22 5:26 p.m.

And the sorting has begun. When I bought the car, the PO told me that the muffler was pretty thin so I planned on replacing it. A couple of days after I took it home, I started it up and it was loud, even though sounded like a normal VW the last drive. Then my younger son, Chris, mentioned he had taken it for a drive and of course revved it as high as possible as he went through the gears. That's how you should drive, right? Anyway, it was enough to blow out the muffler's thin spots.

First things first. The decklid didn't open as far as it should have and I kept whacking my head on it.

Whatever bodyshop changed/painted the decklid also did what a lot of bodyshops do and just jammed any fastener they could into the hinge bolt holes. Note they painted the backside with trunk paint instead of body color.

They apparently thought 1/4-20x1" bolts were decent substitutes for M6x1.0x10mm. I can't do much about them messing up the thread inserts and the 1/4-20 seems to be holding things, but i did put 1/4-20x1/2" bolts in so that the hinge doesn't hit the end of the bolt and keep the decklid from opening all the way.

Then I replaced the muffler. I used one of the Danish "quality" replacements and it was pretty good. I did have to file one hole in one of the heat riser castings a little bit and slightly bend the other.

When I get a more serious engine in there, I'll run a more serious exhaust too.  For now, I'm going to enjoy the stock VW whistle.


preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/4/22 7:34 a.m.

Love this.

RE Class 11: Pretty sure your engine needs to look stock and have the right displacement. Tons of cheat room there though.

Blake Wilkey is another good channel for Class 11. He also builds Baja (He was the guy that got arrested for the LS Baja Beetle shenanigans in San Diego a few years back). Pretty successful Class 11 guy though.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/8/22 3:24 p.m.

I changed to the new wheels and tires a few weeks ago but have been traveling quite a bit lately so I'm finally posting the pictures.

As it sits, with 165s in front and 185s in the back.

Once again, Brent put some weight on the front to consider the future rake.  I'm thinking 1.5" in front for the first try. Maybe at some point I'll go down 1" in the rear and 2.5" in the front. Maybe I'm overthinking, more on that in a bit.

For those of you who know VWs, you know they use lug bolts with a conical seat. The 5 spoke EMPI wheels that were on the car used the barrel-style lug nuts with washers and studs, shown on the bottom. I pulled them all to keep them with the wheels (should I sell the wheels or hang onto them?). Annoyingly, Mobelwagen doesn't bother to sell hardware with their wheels and some of their wheels have a 60 degree seat while others have a conical seat. Mine had the conical seats, so I ordered up a set of 12mm X 1.5 Thread Pitch 2.25"studs and open lug nuts from Moore Parts Source. It was a little harder to find the studs than I expected and the first time I've ordered from Moore. With an n=1, I'm pleased with them and will try them again.

The studs have allen sockets swedged into them for easy installation. I adjusted the front brakes while I had the wheels off. Annoyingly, the wheels block the adjust hole enough that I can't adjust the brakes with the wheels on.

About that overthinking: This car is going to be subtle and everything will be in the details. So I'm overthinking, are the studs too long?  Just right? Should they be black? Should the nuts be black? Why am I spending so much time thinking about this, it's just an old VW?

Not only am I overthinking, I'll have plenty of time to overthink since this is going to be a slow build over many years. I've started putting a few miles on it before the snow flies, so the sorting is beginning. 

I'd have another picture or two of it on the road, but when I went to start it, no click. It's been doing that every now and then. The PO recently installed a new ignition switch, so it was doing it for him too (and that's not the problem). Should be an easy fix and I'll report back. Other issues include: Turn signal switch problems, intermittent horn, one stripped wheel stud hole, parking brake needs major adjustment, rear brake adjusters seized, heater cables not hooked up, radio isn't wired up properly (clock/memory wire on a switched circuit), and I'm sure I'll find more. All are pretty easy fixes, so it will be satisfying to check them off the list. 


Datsun310Guy MegaDork
10/8/22 5:13 p.m.

This is a great thread.

paddygarcia GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/8/22 6:17 p.m.

X2 - great thread, great car.

I love the wheels but the company name is wonderfully odd. Maybe it's an inspiration, though: Furniture Car.

Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/8/22 10:01 p.m.

Very nice.  Off to look for an aircooled VW...  

DrMikeCSI Reader
10/8/22 10:07 p.m.

Didn't old VW's have bolts?

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/9/22 7:19 a.m.

In reply to DrMikeCSI :


wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/9/22 8:23 a.m.

Yes, awesome thread.

I had a POS 64 "Baja Bug"-read: cut to E36 M3 Bug, and I was shocked to find 3 point belt mounts front and rear. Those Germans knew some stuff.   Of course, I ran lap belts, two plastic low back buckets and no back seat. Air cooled VWs are neat.

10/10/22 11:19 a.m.

PO here, I was just missing this old girl and very happy to come across this thread.  It's nice to see her get the loving she's been needing.  Thankfully most of the sins you've discovered so far are not my doing, other than the headliner damage in the back.  The three points were a wifey requirement to "safely" haul the littles around town.  

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/10/22 2:17 p.m.

In reply to mhall :

Glad to see you checking in. You were a good caretaker for the car and I hope to do the same.

MiniDave Reader
10/10/22 2:28 p.m.

Back in the day when we had a no start/click situation with a Beetle, it was due to resistance in the wire from the ignition switch not allowing enough voltage to the starter to engage the solenoid. The fix was pretty simple, just add a relay with a good power source to fire the solenoid.

The other main issue (other than an actual bad starter) was when they wore out the bushing in the case and the shaft would drag, that was a little more involved but it was where I learned how to remove a small bushing from a blind hole. 

I would like to have another Beetle, but I just can't justify the money they're bringing these days.

BTW, I had the opposite problem that you had with your hinges, I had a Bugeye come in where the "restorer" decided to mount the door hinges using M6X1.0 bolts instead of 1/4"-28 that they should have been. I was able to run a thread restorer into the blind captive nuts and they came out OK

Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/10/22 2:31 p.m.

In reply to mhall :

That's really nice that a previous owner chimes in!

Would you mind sharing what your history is with the car? How long did you have it for and maybe tells us who you bought it from (original owner or whatever)?

mhall New Reader
10/12/22 10:17 a.m.

In reply to Slippery :

Here's what I know, which is not complete.  I bought the beetle from a friend around 2008, he had the beetle for around 10 years or so.    My friend bought it from a guy in Madison, WI who said it was originally an AZ car.  So the beetle spent at least it's last 25 years in Wisconsin.   My friend drove it a lot in his first 5 years or so of ownership, making many trips from the Neenah, WI area to St. Paul, MN, 270 miles one waysurprise.   It sat in his garage for a few years before I bought it.  I drove it fairly lightly from April/May to October/November every year.  Winters were spent tucked away, many winters at my parents house where my dad would tinker on various issues or minor upgrades.   

Also ... one vote for keeping the patina.  :)   JK Carl, whatever you do will be well done and look great I'm sure.  yes

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/23/22 7:12 p.m.

It was a nice, sunny, 75 degree weekend and I spent most of it cleaning up cars and moving them to their winter spots. Crawling underneath and wiggling the solenoid terminal on the starter solves the no start issue. It feels like the spade on the solenoid is loose, so next time the car is in the air, I'll take a closer look.

While I had cars out, I had a chance to take pictures of the two 1966 Beetles next to each other. The difference in stance is noticeable in person, not as much in photos.

I keep forgetting to post a picture of the cool old stickers in the right rear window.

Regardless of the patina decision, those will stay.

I thought I'd keep the Beetles side by side for a little while. I hope to find time to keep doing a little sorting on this one until the snow flies.

Appleseed MegaDork
10/24/22 2:22 a.m.

Oh, hell, you've got a Thing!

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/24/22 9:17 a.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

Yep, bought it at a garage sale, much cheaper than those crazy auction-priced Things.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
12/29/22 4:05 p.m.

I've been working on other projects so no real progress except I acquired some 356 brake bits. I love the hunt for parts so it will be fun turning this into a complete set. 

356 drum vs Beetle drum:

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
12/29/22 4:14 p.m.

Also I've realized I'm maybe turning into a VW snob. When I was into them in high school and college, we called them "bugs" but now I find myself calling them "beetles."

I will add that back then everyone called a Rabbit pickup a "Rabbit Pickup" and now people call them a "Caddy." I think Caddy was the name in Europe. I had a 1980  which was not a good year for those.  

californiamilleghia UltraDork
12/29/22 4:39 p.m.

And Doka for double cab.....

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