25 October 2008

NOS Compartment Material

The front & rear compartment material for the T34 is the same as the early T3 models, and since there is no source for the correct material color and pattern, most T34 owners either make-do with what they've got or search for T3 material pieces to cut-down to fit the T34 pieces. Since I'm always searching eBay Germany for items, I discovered a source for NOS T3 side panel material which is long enough for the T34 rear compartment side panels. At $20 each they are well worth the cost since the original ones from my 1965 were well-worn.

26 September 2008

Original Carpet & Compartment Mat research

In an effort to restore my 1965 interior to as close to stock/original as possible, I had the fantastic opportunity to take detailed photos of an original-owner 1965 Coupe from Los Angeles. The carpet pieces were all intact, the front compartment mats were in perfect condition, and the rear compartment mats were also in mint condition. The secret to getting the details right is in knowing what the details looked like when these T34s were new. A complete collection of these photos are now on the PureT34 site so other owners can benefit from this extremely original preserved T34.

09 September 2008

Swiss cheese anyone?

The rear shelf (left side photo) looks like Swiss cheese and the previous owner has hacked-in a pair of speakers, so I did some checking around and was thrilled to have discovered a nice original unrusty rear shelf with Larry Edson (right side photo)! Now the Swiss cheese will be gone and a beautiful original metal shelf will be welded in place. Thanks, Larry! This is exactly why it's so important to have lots of T34 friends!

01 September 2008

Chemo Ordaz Bodywork: Aug08 - current

Finishing Bodywork: Chemo has been working hard of the bodywork, smoothing out the rough welding repairs, and massaging the body to be ready for the paint. Tom Reay took some photos on Labor Day weekend and sent them along. He says "Looks good, Sean was coming by today to do some welding on the roof and other spots. It's in sanding primer. They have done a ton of work on the car! What a job, I think you'll be happy with it."

Chemo Ordaz Bodywork: Aug05 - July 06

Right rocker panel installedRocker panel set from Lars Neuffer in Germany were welded into place. Cost about $1100 to get the set here back in 2004.
Left rocker panel installedRight rear corner marked for major surgeryThe right rear corner was the worst of the cancer, but luckily Larry Edson had an original replacement piece from a parts car available. Thanks Larry!Inner right rear corner before welding-in original panelSpare tire area had not yet been workedRadio area has been filled with original metalSeat rails were moved towards back seat in an effort to provide more headroom with the sunroof box overhead When I spoke with Tom Reay about his 1965 M345 restoration (also done by Chemo) he mentioned that they moved the seat rails 4" towards the rear seat to provide more headroom, since the sunroof box takes an additional 2" of space. Tom is 6'3" and I'm only 5'11", so I'm sure there'll be plenty of room now. And my kids are too big for the back seat anyway. Thanks for the tip, Tom!

Sourcing Sheetmetal: July-September 2004

Original T34 sheetmetal panels from Larry EdsonThere was a long list of sheetmetal that needed to be replaced including rocker panels, front & rear wheel wells, rear air duct grilles, fresh-air louvres, and the area in front of the spare tire well. I was very fortunate to find original pieces from Larry Edson and a new repro rocker panel set from Lars Neuffer. This is what made the difference between a bondo-bucket and a top-notch restoration.New rocker panel set from Germany!

Jimmy Braxmeyer's Bodyshop: (July 2004-July 2005)

Jimmy Braxmeyer's bodyshop: my first choice for bodyshop was Jimmy Braxmeyer since he'd done both Paul Colbert's 1963 M343 & Jon House' 1965 M344. When Jimmy took a closer look at the rocker panels, wheel wells, and other areas it was clear this would be a monumental rust replacement task. Since a previous owner had filled-in the fresh-air louvres with bondo (???) the first task was to replace these vents (below). As the months clicked-off I was not in a hurry (= less expensive repair work) so it sat at Jimmy's shop for 12 months with little work accomplished. The rust must simply have been too daunting a job for Jimmy to find time to tackle. By July 2005 I asked him to return the M346 to my home in hopes of finding another bodyshop.Filled vents (to left) were cut-out & replaced with original vents from Larry EdsonWaiting Game

Chassis Work (July 2004)

Disassembling the chassis is a dirty job!Rear subframe parts came apart fairly easilyAfter the body panels left the next step was to disassemble the chassis, engine, transmission, & brakes. This was a nasty, dirty, and back-breaking task. But once the parts came back from the powdercoater it was all worth it! What a difference!Powdercoating done!

Disassembly (June 2004)

Disassembly underwayDisassembly underwayOnly five days after the VW Classic the M346 had been completely disassembled. I had high-hopes of getting the bodywork done and wanted to be rid of the hideous Zambezi Green paint color! I was able to remove all the parts and even separate the body from the chassis on my own. Then my buddy Jason Weigel came over to help with lifting the body off the chassis.Five days of intense work & 5+ years before it'd be back together again!Jason & tiny crew helped lift the body off the chassis

31 August 2008

Finding my M346 (Apr-May 2004)

Discovery & Export to USA: Having been heavily involved in T34s for the past 20+ years I've always had a hard-on for an M346, a right-hand-drive Electric Sunroof model. These were the rarest of the T34 models and there are currently less than 20 survivors worldwide. I'd driven Janet & Clive Richardson's 1964 M346 during a 2000 vacation in Germany and was hooked! In March 2004 I finally found one for sale that met my requirements, but it was in England. It was the second oldest M346 known to exist, was a daily driver, looked mostly complete, and was unmodified. I was extremely fortunate to have the legendary expertise of Andy Holmes to inspect, purchase, & arrange for shipping of it back to California.Andy Holmes inspected, puchased, & arranged for shipping to the USAOffloaded from cargo ship 24 days after leaving EnglandFirst stop: Scott Perry's work to visit his 1965 M343It arrived at Port Hueneume (Oxnard) in late May and my first stop was Scott Perry's work in Thousand Oaks to see his 1965 M343 and welcome my M346 home (above).Roof was painted Pearl White for the proper two-tone lookSeats & carpet were restored by Jose Rodriguez in Vista, CARims were powdercoated semi-gloss blackI spent two intense weeks replacing parts, painting the roof white (thanks Jimmy!), & redoing the seats & carpeting (thanks Jose!). It made its debut at the VW Classic in June 2004, driven by none other than Andy Holmes (below) who was over on vacation with his wife Theresa & daughter Sophie! The M346 was a huge hit with the T34 community and it would be the last time it'd be seen driving for more than 5 years!
Andy Holmes driving an M346 to the VW ClassicMy 1962 Cabrio replica & 1965 M346 ready for the T34 Dinner CruisePosed near the VW Classic hotel