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The RustyBug blog tells the enormously-entertaining story of the restoration of a 1963 Volkswagen 1200 (a.k.a, Beetle).  This story will (hopefully) follow the process of my education about tools and techniques necessary to repair and repaint the car, and will document the expenses for the work.

What’s the Goal?

I don’t know if this car is capable of being a show car and, if it is, I’m not sure that I can get it to that state. If some of the body damage can be repaired, there’s no reason it won’t look great from 10-feet away, and it should be a good, solid, daily driver or fun weekend car. My goals are to 1) clean it up,  2) replace what’s missing,  3) fix what’s broken,  4) protect and preserve what remains, and 5) paint it. I want to keep as many original parts as can be salvaged (engine, transaxle, interior, 6-volt electrical system) and to repair damage with original vintage parts where possible, within reasonable financial limits. I also want to return the vehicle to the original look with regards to paint and interior colors. Above all of these goals, however, is the importance of ”doing-it-myself’, even though there will be cases where my lack of skill (welding, painting, etc.) means the car won’t be as perfect as it could be. Unless there’s something that I simply cannot accomplish in a reasonable amount of time and with a reasonable degree of success, these five goals are for me to accomplish.

Where’s the Starting Line?

The Beetle is in fair condition given its age (almost 47 years old). There are some problem rust areas and impact damage, but the interior is in good condition and most of the car’s parts are there. The car has been driven up and down the ramps of a car trailer, and the engine and transaxle seem to work — at least for short periods of time. A more thorough examination will be needed.

Do I have the Tools & Technology(tm)?

I have a fair amount of knowledge of mechanics and engines and shiny things, but have never undertaken such a complete task. I’ve done a transmission swap, and arc-welded two pieces of metal together…once. I have a growing collection of tools, as well as access to a large air compressor, and a MIG welder. A lot of internet searching and studying will be in my immediate future. Welding, sanding, painting, de-rusting, rust-treating….there’s a lot to learn.


This website is not affiliated with Volkswagen or Volkswagen Group of America

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