I often wonder if anyone reads this blog? Maybe no-one does! I know I don't update it very often, and it would be much better if I did, but I just don't make much progress very often. Anyway, if you read this, let me know. I have enabled comments.

Sparkling Graphite Metalic Grey

This is a 2006 BMW colour, and doesn't it look fab! So I have finally got it back, actually it hasn't taken that long. The bodyshop still have the panels, but at the moment I don't need them back, and have nowhere to put them. Seeing a car transform from the multicoloured dirt covered object it was before, in to this, is quite amazing. Next task is to re-unite it with the chassis.


The beetle is now in etch primer at the bodyshop. Its been a lot of work for them, but the results are good.

Mounting Porsche discs on Beetle spindles

The brake parts I had collected were a pair of rear calipers from a 95-98 Porsche 993 (911) with their corresponding discs, and 944 NA aluminium hubs. I wanted to get the hubs to fit stock beetle spindles, as this was much easier than trying to modify the 944 ones which are a different size, and different strut angle to the beetle ones. Making the Porsche hubs fit the beetle spindles could be done it two ways: Use beetle bearings and machine the hub to take spacers, or use Porsche bearings and machine spacers to fit over the beetle spindle. As the beetle spindle is shorter than the Porsche one, it was easier to machine the hubs and fit inserts. Then I can keep the beetle bearings and seals and still use beetle struts etc.

fastbughub.dwb - 0.57MB
fastbughub.dxf - 0.88MB
fastbughub.igs - 2.23MB

I approached a friend of mine who also happens to be an excellent machinist and engineer. He stepped up to the challenge, and the first job was to make some accurate technical drawings of the parts. I created these with help another friend at my place of work.

Using the CAD images the hub was superimposed on the spindle showing the size of the required spacers. Notice the 2mm (approximate) gap either end of the bearings; this was increased to 4mm by machining out the hub to give the spacer more material.

The base of the hub was machined to clear the spindle, and provide space for the seal. An aluminium spacer was pressed in to hold the seal in the correct position.

In order to machine the hub accurately in relation to the disc mounting face, tools where made up to hold the hub on this surface, rather than just mounting the hub in a chuck:

The finished hubs showing inserts and also bearing shells pressed in:

The total run-out of the assembled system is less than 0.01mm.

The next task is to create a metal plate to bolt to the drum brake spindle and hold the caliper.


I have finally made it to the point that its now paintable. All welding has been done, and all holes cut. It got to the point that I just wanted it gone, so some areas I haven't cleaned up as much as I would like, but the body shop can do that.

The front spoiler is completed. I cut the hole for the oil cooler, and drilled all the rivet holes. Covering the hole will be an aliminium surround with a mesh screen. I joggled the hole to hold the mesh in place. I cut the fuel filler cap hole using a holesaw of exactly the right size.

Looking for a body shop was an interesting experience! I had a couple of places give me massive quotes for doing the work. One quoted around £7000 for the work, but that sounded like a 'I don't want to do it' quote. One place quoted me around £3000 for it, but once the paperwork came through it was £3000 + VAT! At least they came round; One body shop near me said they would come round on a Monday night. I waited around for them, but no-one turned up. Next day I called them, and the guy said 'oh sh*t, sorry, will be around tonight'. Waited around again, nothing. Now, I don't know about you, but that really p*sses me of. Thats two hours of my life I will never get back! Called them the next day:

Me: Hello, you were supposed to come out and give me a quote again
last night?
Them: Oh, he must have forgotten again. Are you there now?
Me: No, I am at work, and to be honest, I don't really want a quote now, I would just like to know why you stood me up twice?
Them: You won't get far with that attitude!
Me: Huh? What attitude, you stood me up!
Them: Well your attitude sucks..
Me: You can't understand why I am a little p*ssed off?
Them: No, and I expect your car is a bit of a pig anyway!
And with that, he put the phone down! Well thanks, but no thanks. Quite how he expects to run a business like that I don't know. Anyway I had a look around their workshop and its a pretty small dirty place, so I don't expect the work would have been any good.

Eventualy I found another body shop who were quite happy to do it for a much more reasonable fee, so got the business. I borrowed a flatbed trailer from a friend, loaded it up and took it down.

There is quite a pile of things to paint as well as the body: four wings, 2 doors, a bonnet, decklid, airdam, spoiler, engine fan shroud, rear valence and a bucket of smaller things such as headlight rings and door handles. In order to paint the chromed items such as headlight rings you really need to remove the chrome as the paint will eventually come off it. To do this I mounted a zirconium flap disk on the grinder then mounted the grinder in the vice, using a bolt in the handle hole. This then allowed me to hold the part in two hands, and carefully take all the chrome off.

Now all I can do it wait for the painting to be done, I can't wait!

We're getting there, slowly.. :)

I have decided to hand the bodyshell over to a bodyshop to finish it all off. I no longer have the time, nor the inclination to finish it myself. The weather has been excellent recently, and I am now desperate to get it done so I can get out in it. I have been doing some fiddly little bits, like drilling holes in the doors for the mirrors, cutting the front valence for the oil cooler, patched a few little holes, add on some tabs to hold front speaker kick panels, etc.

I have started to mock up a front airdam. Its essentially a big piece of steel wrapped around the front. I created a cardboard template, transferred that to the steel, then cut the steel out. The airdam will bolt onto the front valence and wings, and will have a metal structure behind to hold it out. It will be painted body colour. I am not sure how well it will work out, but I can but try. A better solution would have been completely re-shaped body panels, but that's beyond me really.

Rear valence

I replaced the rear valence with a new Mexican style one, because the old one had a few holes in here and there. This was a nice simple job as it was all very easy to get too, especially as the whole thing is removable!

I also sourced some more welding wire as I am getting low, paint on seam sealer, and a tin of panel wipe. This panel wipe is excellent stuff, it was very effective and removing dirt and grime from a test area I tried it on. I guess it does exactly what it says on the tin! No more using my expensive carb cleaner aerosol for cleaning.

Next job will be to dig out my front wings, bold them on, and start to create my front spoiler.

I'm a daddy!

Elliott, Born 26th Jan. I'm pretty stoked, what an amazing experience! Now to train him up on the spanners.. :)

Out of the blue

One of my bugs previous owners contacted me the other day, after seeing the car on the website. It was good to catch up on some of the history behind the car, and he sent me some old photos of the car. If you are curious about your cars previous owners, you can write to the DVLA and for a small fee they will send you a list of names and addresses. Most will be very happy to remaniss about the car... Anyway here are the pictures.