02 August 2009

Scripts & Emblems Installation

Thanks to Franck Boutier (France) I was able to source the tiny script tubes for the rear scripts. These tubes are 3mm outside & 2mm inside so they were not easy to find but an online supplier in Texas had them and I bought a box of 50. They are shorter than the original clear tubes but they worked beautifully! Pushed firmly into the cleaned holes then the scripts pushed firmly into the tube holes. The front round VW emblem was a bit trickier since the clear spacer under the emblem kept it up too high, but when I clipped-off the tips of the script tubes (apparently keeping the emblem studs from going down far enough) it sat down close to the body and was firmly installed. There's no way these scripts will fall-out now! Thanks Franck!

12 July 2009

Back Home Again!

At 1030pm last night Chemo & a buddy showed-up with the M346 after five long years away. We grabbed a wheel well and unloaded the body onto the wood dolly I built. The dolly is designed to store the T34 in one garage space while being able to work on either the body or the chassis separately. The chassis can roll-out from underneath the dolly or the body can roll-out.

The massive amount of rust repairs that Sean Roper performed and Chemo finished are now invisible on the razor-smooth body panels. The fresh air vents are perfect, the spare tire frame is undetectable, and the lower wheel well sections are flawless. I'm very happy with the results and the L554 Cherry Red color is absolutely beautiful! It's sedate and classic on the Black roof.

09 July 2009

Restored Gauges

I've used Foreign Speedo for gauge restorations for the past 20 years and they've always produced quality work at reasonable prices. The set of four T34 gauges was only $165 and was completed in 8 weeks. Cases painted, black rings on the center dials were repainted, brass polished, needles repainted, speedo calibrated & turned back to zeros, speaker fabric replaced, plastic faces polished, and inner rings painted to match. The only things they can't do is repair clocks and replace the outer T34 chrome trim rings.

Now I can hear you saying "hey, he's got the wrong speedo for 1965, as it's the smaller diameter one for the 1964 models". But no, there were a short series of early-1965's that had the small diameter 100mph speedo carry-over from the early design. Not very many had this design but mine did. And all 1965s had the white needles, unlike the 1962-64 models with amber needles. Try finding one of these small-diameter bronze-knob white-needle 100mph gauges ... really specific & very limited!

06 July 2009

Mmmmmm, Fresh Chrome!

Thanks to Bob Walton & Jack Fisher I have a yummy fresh new set of T34 chrome! Bob used his source in Pomona (Best Polishing & Chrome) CA and the results are awesome. Vent window frames, "pointed" bumper guards, front & rear bumpers, & Euro headlight rings all came out like-new again. Several holes were filled in the front center bumper, holes filled in the Euro headlight rings, and the vent frames were pretty pitted. Hub caps were done by Pedro Sainz in Mexico, a specialist in early T3 caps. Took 7 weeks and total cost was $1065. No tax, no shipping to/from thanks to Bob hand-carrying the parts (what a guy!).

29 June 2009

Final Paint!

A huge hurdle has been reached with the final painting of the M346! Five years from when I disassembled it into 34 million pieces and now it's showing signs of its rebirth. Chemo shared these photos with the T34 owners at the VW Classic (which I missed as I was in Germany on business) and now shared them with me. The L554 Cherry Red may look differently under the yellow lamps of the shop, so he's taking new ones outside to see the real color hues. But my inital impression is one of great contrast between the body & roof and of an aggressive look with the two-toned scheme.

24 June 2009

Visit to Darmstadt Germany

I was in southern Germany on business and had a couple extra days to spend visiting with two T34 owners in Darmstadt. Jorg Fischer owns two amazing T34s: an unrestored Anthracite & Pearl White 1963 with manual-crank Golde sunroof & a restored Pearl White 1963 Cabriolet, one of five known to exist worldwide! Tobias Ebner also owns two T34s including this nicely restored Emerald & Pearl White 1963 Electric Sunroof. We met for steak dinner & Martzen beers one night and then the next day went for a beautiful T34 cruise into the edge of the Odenvald forest for some amazing photos. I was able to take a ton of reference photos of the M345 to help my M346 restoration and was also able to see the M341 details up-close. Did you know that the rear side seat vents are rotated 90 degrees on all M341s? Strange but true ...

20 May 2009

Porsche T34 Interior Light

Just got an great tip from Franck Boutier in France about a Porsche 356 interior light that seems to be an excellent & reasonably priced repro for our T34s! It's stamped Hella, is 80mm, has the right shape, the inner edge is painted silver, it has an ivory switch knob, takes a 10W bulb, and they have the long 6V bulbs as well. Priced at $35 you can order part #NLA-632-101-03 from Stoddard in Ohio USA at 440-951-1040. The repro light was not in-stock but after a quick check with thier purchasing girl the rep said they expect to have more in mid-June and will accept orders now & ship it when it comes in. It's listed as fitting Porsche 356-AT2 & 356-BT5, all Cabriolets & some Coupes. That's a huge stroke of luck, as we've been seeing NOS ones in the $200 range and used ones for $100-150. A perfect repro one for $35 seems like a steal! Thanks, Franck!

Off to Chrome Shop

Thanks to a local plating shop source from Bob Walton I was able to gather the chrome parts and get them sent off. Expected costs: $250 per bumper (3pcs), $60 per guard (for the pot-metal pointed style), $25 per headlight ring, $60 vent frame, & $10 per license light ring. I'm having the four holes in the front bumper piece filled, dented/rusted hub caps fixed, and extra holes in the headlight rings filled (all at no extra cost). Warning: be sure to have the studs in your pointed guards masked-off so they don't get dipped, as the acids will eat the studs down to little stubs rendering them useless (been there, done that).

08 May 2009

NOS Pointy Guard

My wife always laughs at me for spending so much time searching the web for T34 parts, theSamba, eBay USA, eBay Germany, & emailing with so many T34 owners worldwide. But I got the last laugh this week when I scored an extremely rare NOS pointed bumper guard (right front) from an old friend in Ohio, Phil Lucas. Phil used to be involved with Bugs For You (Orange CA) and was recently doing some spring cleaning. Franck Boutier shared the ad with the PureT34 e-group and within a few seconds I had fired an email to Phil asking to buy it. He responded, "The T34 group is strange, I'd had this part listed for 90 days but only now you asked about it at 3:41 and Paul Colbert replied at 3:43! And the PayPal fees were $3.43 to accept your payment!" Strange & wonderful numerical coincidences! My wife still doesn't get it ... but that's OK, I'm thrilled with this score.

07 April 2009

First Look: Paint!

Chemo just sent me the first-look photos of his paintwork, L41 Black roof & pillars with L554 Cherry Red dash. The body will get shot next and then it'll be delivered to San Diego. WAHOO!!!

22 March 2009

Body Dolly

I've got little extra space in the garage for the reassembly process, so I decided the best way to store & work on the body & chassis would be to design a wood body dolly. Over the weekend my son & I built a 72"x65" rolling platform that will allow the painted body to be stored above the chassis. Total cost was $175 and it took several hours to complete. The wheels have locks when the dolly is rolled out of the garage into the driveway with a ratcheting strap to secure the body to the dolly.

04 March 2009

Ready for Paint!

I got a surprise phone call this week from Chemo ... "your M346 is ready for paint"! What fantastic news after almost 5 long years of body restoration work with two different bodyshops, "Jeffrey" will soon have a new suit of clothes. Chemo said the sunroof drain "weep holes" were restored (which had been rusted & hacked by a previous owner), the front hood hinges & hood was replaced with better donor parts, the NOS door hinges were fitted, the final bodywork is completed, and he's ready to buy the paint.As this is a legacy car (one that I'm keeping forever), I want it to be as close to original/stock as possible. Since VW originally painted in a single-stage enamel (7 coats I've heard) in 1962, that's what we've ordered for this M346. Chemo found a paint shop that was able to order the Dupont Nason single-stage paint in Cherry Red (L554) & Black (L41) for only $150/gallon (about one-sixth of PPG two-stage cost)! I've ordered two gallons (plenty on reserve if anything ever happens to it) of the red, and five paint touch-up sticks. That was a stroke of luck!

Chemo sent updated photos of the finished bodywork as of March 1st. What an amazing transformation Chemo has done with this rusty T34! The fresh-air vents are perfect (previously were filled-in with bondo), the rockers from Lars are smooth, the spare tire area is clean, the rear shelf is renewed, and the holes in the roof are gone.

I hope my next post will share the fresh Cherry Red & Black painted body!

Rear Shelf Repair

Back in September (when I last visited the M346 at Chemo's shop) I discovered that the rear shelf really needed to be replaced. One phone call to Larry Edson (Mr. T34 sheetmetal source) and a rust-free rear shelf (in Sea Blue) was on its way to Chemo. Chemo removed the spot-welds on the swiss cheese shelf and welded-in the new one. What a huge difference (even though it'll be completely covered by the liner.

I just got photos in the mail today from Chemo even though this work was completed in October last year. He sent more updated photos too ...

24 January 2009

NOS parts in 2009!

When restoring a T34 you really need to be diligent in your searching for parts and it never hurts to get lucky. When Mel Thompson from Tennessee (Black 1968 M345) emailed me after 10 years to help him sell his left-over parts, I agreed. In the stash of used parts were a couple gems: an NOS vent window & two NOS fog light trim rings! Mel was gracious to allow me to buy these without popping for the whole stash, so thank you Mel! Then while watching the new parts on theSamba I discovered Mark Smith from Oregon (vintage T3 source) who always has interesting T3 parts and sometimes a T34 part if you're lucky. Well he listed some NOS early Anthracite plastic heater sliders, so I scored one of those. He mentioned he had some NOS T3 compartment material as well, so I quickly added two of his better pieces. And lastly, I was extremely fortunate to find a complete set of T34 hinges for an amazing price from an old T34 friend. So it always pays to help other T34 owners, keep your eyes open for new sources, and always ask the sellers for other T3/T34 parts.