GermanLook Forums

GermanLook Forums (
-   Project Builds (
-   -   Dave's new 1969 mild GL build... (

owdlvr March 21st 2020 14:11

Dave's new 1969 mild GL build...
GL Post

Oh gosh…not another car?!

As my business, Classic Car Adventures, has continued to grow the success has been both a blessing and a curse. Now, when the Rally Bug, or ’58 Beetle, want an upgrade or suddenly need new parts, the months saving for funds have disappeared. The curse, however, is that I’m traveling far more than I used to…and my time for wrenching away on projects in the garage has shrunk significantly. I continue to plug away on my actual German look project when I can, but I’m beginning to realize that Dec/Jan might be my only months out of the year to really work on it.

About a year ago my buddy posted a 1969 Beetle up for sale, at a price that was far too high to consider. A month or so ago, it was posted again…this time with a price drop. It was still priced far too high, but I started to look at it under a different light. As my orange German Look project continues to progress (albeit, very slowly), I’m starting to to get to the point where I’ll be able to prep the shell for paint. I’ve started pricing out paint jobs, and suddenly this 1969 Beetle doesn’t seem like such a horrible price to pay.


And so, I found myself negotiating with my buddy Geoff in Vancouver over the car. While we were negotiating on price and details, I was actually hammering down the east coast of the USA in a Porsche 911 which I had borrowed for an event. Should I have been negotiating on a red ’69 beetle, while driving a red 911 and thinking of the German Look build? Probably not. But, thats what I was doing!

And so, with mere weeks to go before the worldwide coronavirus shutdown, I put a hefty deposit down on this 1969 Beetle. Back in the 90’s it won a number of west coast shows as a cal-look beetle. The car won awards without ever having carpet installed, or the driver’s door panel, as even the inside of the doors were wet sanded and perfect. It was given a freshening up in-around the year 2000, and has been in storage since the end of 2001. The motor was pulled, but I bought the rest.

The pan is basically perfect, though we’ll know for sure once I get it home and up on axle stands for a full check over. What I could see with the flashlight, makes me pretty happy. The body is 95% perfect. The paint is desperate for a cut polish, but being single-stage there is lots to work with. There is a pretty bad run in the paint next to the rear vents. Either this car was repainted when it was refreshed in 2000 (unsure) or show-winning standards back in the 90s were significantly lower! Either way, I can live with it. It does have one rust bubble that I could find, low on the front quarter, coming from one of the fender mounting bolts. It’s low enough that a repair can be blended and hidden, so I figure it is what it is.

Interior wise, it’s all black. Stock seats, black covers. Black panels, black headliner. No carpets. Not exactly my favourite, but I can work with it. Car comes with an empi Hurst shifter, Formuling Steering wheel in great shape, a mix of VDO and Autometer gauges…and who knows what in the boxes.
(The white is polishing compound dust.)

Now, anyone who knows me, knows I hate Cal-look style. I mean, I understand it. I appreciate the history. But the whole “you must do X, Y, Z” drives me insane. I swear I will never own a Cal-Look car. I also hate Fuch wheels on Beetles, and swore I would never own a car with them. Hilarously I passed on the car when it was first posted because of the wheels! Thinking about this car, however, and it dawned on me that the Cal-look modifications are a simple recipe to correct. It seems to me that with the wheels swapped, and a couple of other exterior changes, I’ve got myself a very nice mild German look car…very similar to my original 1969 build.

It just so happens I have a set of genuine 17” Porsche twist wheels in the shop, and a brand new set of Michelin tires to match. I have to do some research to see what will fit, but the chassis has a 3” narrowed beam and a narrowed IRS rear end…so I’m hopeful I can squeeze them in under the stock fenders. My pre-purchase plan was a set of Braid wheels for the car, but given that the covid-19 virus situation is crippling my company, I’ll be spending as little money as possible!

The chassis comes equipped with disc brakes all around, as well as what appear to be Koni shocks. Will need to do a full assessment once I get it home. The gearbox has been modified for drag racing, and gearsets and ratios are unknown. Fortunately my ’73 project has a refreshed box just waiting for another project, so I’ll be able to swap over into a useable box for highway use.

All the photos thus far are from my buddy Geoff who sold me the car. It's currently stored underground, and I arrived having flown in with both phones basically dead. As soon as I can move my '63 MG Midget out of the shop, and it's socially acceptable to leave the house again, I'll go and pick it up to start the light modifications and get it roadworthy.

Only problem is the engine...not really in the mood for dropping $6k to build a 2110cc given our current economic climate. I might be able to assemble most of a 1776cc out of parts kicking around the shop...we shall see.

H2OSB March 22nd 2020 21:27

Wow! What a gorgeous starting point.

Steve C March 23rd 2020 01:32

nice score, cant wait to see more

owdlvr March 24th 2020 00:05


Originally Posted by H2OSB (Post 91859)
Wow! What a gorgeous starting point.

No kidding eh? That's pretty much why I couldn't pass it up. Mind you, I wish I had waited...but oh well.

If the weather looks to improve, and we aren't going into Lockdown in Canada, I'll aim to pick it up after this coming weekend.


Wally March 24th 2020 14:30

Nice score indeed!

owdlvr March 28th 2020 04:38

I managed to get the car home this week, while maintaining a proper and socially acceptable 6+ feet from anyone.

Didn't snag any photos, but I'm pleased to say the car already has sway bars front and rear, and the undercarriage looks quite good. The rear brakes use the stamped caliper mount, but I'm pretty sure I have a pair of cast ones to swap out in my spare parts stash. Interestingly enough, the car came with all of the receipts since 1989. The holder on the right is all of the receipts, and the holder on the left is all of the 4x6 photos and all the negatives for the build of the car! I will have to scan some selections, because some of them are pretty interesting to have.

After many years of storage, it definitely needs a cleaning! The rear seat padding is on the cusp of needing to be replaced. It's not breaking up like front seats usually do, but the springs have worked their way deep into the padding. I may try pulling the rear seat apart to see if I can save the padding by putting canvas over the springs first. Hoping I can get away with saving it, since the rear seat is used very infrequently for passengers. I typically just end up with gear or event supplies back there.

Growing up, I always wanted a Formuling steering wheel. I either wanted the 4-spoke wheel in silver, or this wheel in black. Pretty crazy to finally own one in good shape, even if I did have to buy a whole car to get it. I think I will put this aside for use in my '75 Beetle, which has been in my family since I was 4. There is something about the collection of gauges which screams "80s" to me, but I can't place why. I mean, they aren't that far off from what I have in the Rally Bug. Alas, the dash pad is cracked and the vents are dry rotted. I wish I could remember if I put the "good" or "premium" dash cover into my white '69 Beetle. I'll have to order a dash pad for this one, it's really too bad Carbon Joe isn't around any longer ;) did this thing win shows back in the day? And this was supposedly a professional installation!?! Geesh. Needless to say, it's coming out...

Uh oh. Well, this explains why the brake reservoir is empty.

The car has (apparently) never had a driver's side door panel installed. The original owner loved to show the car with no panel, to show how nice the paint was on the car. Included in the photos of the car displayed at a show, and yup! No door panel :P

Started playing with wheels. My plan, even before purchase, was to use the silver twists I have...but to be honest, I'm not a big fan of them with the silver. I pulled out a set of twist copies I have, simply to see if the Anthracite grey was a better choice. Then for fun I leaned one of my 16" speedlines against it. Now I have NO idea what to do for wheels. Do I powdercoat the silver twists a different colour? Run the gold speedlines? The speedlines are a rather rare 5.5" wide 16" wheel, originally used for winter rallies with the SubaruUSA team. Either Higgins or Pastrana did at least a stage on these, so they have some scuffs and a storyline. After seeing them on the red car, however, I am tempted to re-drill the Rally Bug.

Can't decide if I should do the single set of PIAA lights, like I had on my white '69, or perhaps this smaller set of PIAAs. Or, I could go without. Extra lights does seem to be a "thing" for me though. My Midget build last winter gave up the front bumper, just so I could mount two lights. I've made up some new brackets, and decided i would sleep on it before welding them to the bumper mounts.

From there, I stripped out the interior and started pulling out anything on the car I won't be using. Went through my storage shed to see what parts I might have that could be of use, and tomorrow I'll go through the two mezzanines I built in my shop. I have the VW pedals with my modifications from the Rally Bug, and a few other parts that might be handy. I think this car will end up with a stereo and speakers, if I can figure out where I'm going to mount front speakers. I ordered door panels with pockets, so that creates a bit of difficulty. Tomorrow I should start on both the interior and the drivetrain.


owdlvr March 30th 2020 03:25

Found the reason for the brake fluid loss. Seems whomever added the 2psi residual valve, didn't understand how brake line fittings are supposed to work. That is NOT a compression fitting!

Worked on seat mounts today, had to tear down a set of stock '69 seats in order to get a good set of bases, and then work out how to adapt Porsche 911 seats to the mounts. This time around, I basically built the VW bases to allow for mounting anything down the road, and then build a set of adapters to go from the 911 seats to my bases. Welded them all in the car, with the base on the tracks, in hopes that they would still slide following the work. Great news, they still do! For mockup and mounting, I used a set of ratty 911 seats I have that were poorly recovered sometime in the 80's. My better set is at the upholstery shop, hopefully getting an OEM-ish look to them. As far as I know the guys are still here's hoping!

I decided to mount the amp in this car under the passenger seat. Made a mount so that it is up off the floor, and out of the way of any water that might come in. I've got a compact sub and amp combination from a pickup-truck we had a few years back, but I haven't decided where to mount it. Definitely don't want to put it under the driver's seat, so that will be a project for another day.


Bogara_ZO March 31st 2020 06:39


Originally Posted by owdlvr (Post 92039)

Started playing with wheels. My plan, even before purchase, was to use the silver twists I have...but to be honest, I'm not a big fan of them with the silver. I pulled out a set of twist copies I have, simply to see if the Anthracite grey was a better choice. Then for fun I leaned one of my 16" speedlines against it. Now I have NO idea what to do for wheels. Do I powdercoat the silver twists a different colour? Run the gold speedlines? The speedlines are a rather rare 5.5" wide 16" wheel, originally used for winter rallies with the SubaruUSA team. Either Higgins or Pastrana did at least a stage on these, so they have some scuffs and a storyline. After seeing them on the red car, however, I am tempted to re-drill the Rally Bug.


Nice one Dave, I am curious to see how this project ends!

As for the wheels, I would go with the speedlines and leave the Rally Bug unmolested. Thats an unusual choice of wheels and would give a great rally machine character to the bug! Furthermore 16" is the best size for our cars I guess and gold works very well on red cars. (I might be a bit balanced though :rolleyes:

If you choose to stay with the twists, powdercoat them in black as well the bumpers, bonnet, decklid etc. so you have a "rot-shwarzer-renner" (a GSR with a TWIST :D).

owdlvr March 31st 2020 15:17

I do _love_ your car. I think you'll be happy when my seats come back from the upholstery shop...which could be this week!

I've never been one to follow the "traditional" way of doing things, but I'm tempted to put the silver twists on the car since Porsche wheels are such an iconic GL item. Plus, I own them and have brand new michelin tires to fit them. This does, of course, assume I can fit 225/45/17's under the front fenders. But I think I agree with you, the 16" of the speedlines would be a much better ride. They're also significantly lighter. Plus, the gold really pops.

Bumpers, brackets and headlight rings are already at the powdercoaters. He's so backed up from everyone bringing in their projects (gee, I guess lots of people are spending time at home!), I didn't want to bog him down with the wheels just yet.

You definitely have me thinking about a GSR look though...

Bogara_ZO April 3rd 2020 14:22

Thanks Dave! Now I'm looking forward to see your seats asap.. I have been following all of your builds so I know that you are liking doing things on your own way, hence I recommended the Speedlines. If you stay with the twists the black-red combo should work I think, especially that you are already done with the mirrors, door handles etc...whatever you decide I'm sure it will turn out well, like all your other projects so far. Keep up the good work! (I am trying to find picutres for your from a particular german race car in the same color scheme, hope will find it sooner or later)

wouter1303 April 6th 2020 03:36

I would choose the Speedlines, because they are different than the other more used twists...just to be different ;)

Wally April 6th 2020 12:33

I would agree on the Speedlines as well ;-)

owdlvr April 7th 2020 03:20

Well, I won't lie. The opinions of my GL forum friends, are opinions I well respect. I've been working out what it will take to get the Speedlines on the car. I think we're going there, but not just yet...budget needs to be spent first on getting it to move before swapping over the whole wheel setup to Subaru bolt pattern.

My first parts order for the car arrived just in time for the weekend, so I went about stripping the body shell down to a spot where I could start. Pulled the interior, and started sorting out the wiring. The car is getting a full six channel stereo system, repairing the wiring for the gauges in the dash, adding a wideband gauge, and putting in a circuit breaker for the entire car. I had a 100A circuit breaker kicking around, and the starter isn't on the circuit breaker, but may need to up to a 150 or 200A unit...we'll see if it trips under normal use or not. By the end of the weekend, I had laid down so many circuits I’ve actually lost count.

Kick panels and front speakers.

Turns out I most of a "baja" carpet kit in my parts stash, but with no wheel well covers. Saved what the car had, trimmed up the baja kit to fit, and finished off the rear luggage area. The speaker deck was originally in my white beetle, and has been in storage since I sold it to pay for paint on the Rally Bug. Planning on it being permanent, so it's bolted into the firewall and luggage tray with riv-nuts. I machined up the aluminum legs to take up as little luggage space as possible.

Dry-rotted bits replaced. Gauges cleaned up, red lighting added, and reinstalled. Had to paint the Autometer wideband trim ring to match, and repainted the tachometer as well. Also installed a new dash pad, and filled my shop with many a four-letter word for a few hours. I bought the mid-grade made in the USA version...definitely should have paid the money for the "premium" version.

Recovered the rear seat...really hoping those wrinkles come out after it sits in the sun for a while. Even with putting the covers in the dryer, until they were warm to the touch...ugh. I have another set, I may need to try again. Such a waste of material.

Anyone remember these from my white beetle? I'm digging deep into the parts archives, for sure!

A 3D printer was a new purchase this year, and it’s been coming in handy. Whipped up a horn button that will actually work with steering wheel quick release. It won’t be “quick” anymore, but it will technically be removable.

And, since it’s late and I think they look awesome…might as well spoil the surprise...


wouter1303 April 7th 2020 05:04

Killer combo, the black and the red tartan details:cool:

Bogara_ZO April 9th 2020 13:55

You were right Dave, I dig the tartan interior, well done! 👍 Also like the c/f shifter, it still looks great. Keep up the good work and pics coming!

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:34.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
© 2002-2017. All Rights Reserved