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March 2003

I decided to try polishing the ignition lock housing rather than painting it, as Grant at Beetlelink had told me that they polish up really well, being Aluminium. Its not finished yet, but from a first pass, the results are encouraging. Should look good with a polished boss.

Added earth wires to front indicator assemblies and crimped on suitable connectors for them to plug straight into loom. As the lenses are clear I need to source some orange bulbs.

The rear light assemblies came in 'kit' form from Chesil. The reflectors themselves come with a dual filament bulb holder on the 'outside' (of the car) and a single filament bulb holder on the 'inside'. When you add a European lense with the orange indicator on the 'outside' and red brake/rear on the 'inside' you need to change around the bulb holders so that the dual filament bulb sits behind the red lense. (You can't simply change the inner part of the bulb holder). Chesil provided a pair of new holders with each assembly.

Getting the old holders isn't too difficult but the 'inside' hole needs enlarging to take the dual filament holder.

I've completed fixing the loom in place under the bonnet, and wiring up the switches next to the fuse box (rear fog light, driving light override, hazards). I don't plan to fit side repeaters (if I don't have to) so I've tied these cables out of the way for now. The wires hanging over the fuel tank aperture are for the wipers and fuel tank sender, and the clear hose is the feed to the washers from the washer bottle, that is fixed alongside the loom. Wiper mechanism is trial fitted, but I need to backet a bracket to support the motor from below.

I've also fixed the rear lighting loom in place. Because I'm using a 'shine-up' rear light I need to extend the number plate and reversing light cables.

I've removed the bonnet and engine cover to make access easier for wiring. Whilst off, I'm having all the original brackets re-powder coated as the quality of the original coating was terrible. (porous covering, many chips, already rusting). I spoke to Peter at Chesil about this, but he just took offense.

April 2003

Bought a stereo and speakers together with under dash mounting pods for both head unit and speakers.

Fuel tank, headlight inner frames, and bonnet/boot hinges are back from powder coating. Re-assembled the headlights.

Trial fitted the instruments, and made up wiring to connect the instrument lighting, earthing, and regulated power to the main loom. Warning lights are Blue (Main Beam), Red (Ignition), Yellow (Oil Pressure) and Green (Indicators). Decided to go for the original green-on-black style rather than the more common black-on-white style.

May 2003

***Car is now booked in to be painted non-metallic black on 16th June. Expect to fit body on chassis with 4 willing helpers this bank holiday weekend***

Refitted the brackets and hinges for bonnet and engine cover now they're back from powder coating and the fasteners are back from being YZP'd. Engine cover back in place as I thought it would be harder to do once the body is on the chassis. Stripped all the trim again.

Finished routing the wiring to the driving lights now that I've decided the wiring will enter the car through the horn grills (to avoid another set of holes in the bodywork).

Also drilled the mountings for the battery box. Note that the original beetle battery does not fit it! You need a type 038 or if you want more power, a type 015 battery.

Finally filled the incorrectly placed original headlight bolt holes on the body with GRP and then filler. Drilled new holes about 8mm higher to meet with headlight bracket slot.

Trying to decide where to mount the numberplate to make sure the cars 'face' looks right! What's that? Yes, I am loosing my sanity.... Gives me an excuse to see what the front of the finished car will look like with headlight grills and driving lights....

Polished and re-assembled the driving lights and cleaned their fabric checkerboard covers.

Completed the wiring for the stereo. Took the permanent live from a spare unswitched fuse, switched live from the wiring to the dash, and panel lighting live also from the wiring to the dash. Took two attempts to get speakers that fitted the 16.5cm pod. Ended up with 13cm drive units that fit perfectly (infinity 5002i).

Finally received a set of headlight grills I bought on eBay from the USA a couple of months ago. These fit via 3 tenax fasteners onto the bodywork (new Tenax were sourced from Namrick). These will replace the previous set that fit onto the light unit rim itself.

Bought a locking Mini fuel cap to fit the fuel tank supplied by Chesil. Yes, I know the fuel tank is back-to-front in the earlier photos!!....

Lowered the body onto the chassis. Took 6 of us to comfortably lift the body over the engine and on; we tried with 4 initially but couldn't lift it high or easily enough. I made the mistake of screwing in the shorter front rear studs too far into the chassis and had to wind them out so that thread would show over the body tube to bolt down. Will need to open out 2 of the front 4 bolts across the frame head to get those bolts in place; can only get one in on each side at this point. Still its on!

June 2003

Fitted the master cylinder feed pipes and rigid pipes to servo. I ended up routing the pipes below the fuel tank but above the steering arms, making sure there was plenty of clearance on both steering locks at full suspension travel.

Tightened body down onto chassis. The perimeter of the chassis floorpans were sitting about 10mm below the height of the sub-chassis but pulled they up easily enough to close the gap when the all the sill bolts were drilled and fitted.

Note that the body isn't quite symmetrical as the mould is taken from a real 356 (which were hand built aluminium bodies on a wood buck). This is most noticeable at the top of the front wheel arches when checking to see if the body is sitting centrally.

Removed wind up windows, windscreen, roof mechanism and door handles ready for the body to be painted. 

Collected interior trim from Chesil. Stayed with the original theme and went for "mushroom" leather interior with modern sports seats. Drilled and tapped mounting holes for door check straps in body.

Drilled a large hole for the steering column in the bulkhead to save messing about trying to find the right position. I'll make a cover panel with the correct size hole, slide this down the column, and rivet this over my large hole to give me the correct size hole in the correct position (thanks to Mikey @ Chesil for this suggestion). Fitted the column mounting bar onto the sub-chassis but had to remove and redrill the column mounting holes to move the wheel across to the right more (Some bars have the bracket welded to it rather than bolted; not sure what you'd do in this case or if indeed these are in the correct location anyway).

mid-July 2003

Been doing odd tasks whilst the car is away:
 Sealed the fuel tank with POR15 tank sealer. 
 Glued Chesil badges on the bonnet handle and steering wheel centre.
 Greased the steering column bearing
 Flocked roof header rail and stereo holder
 Cleaned the garage....

Body due back from being painted tomorrow. Had a look at it tonight and first impressions are very positive.

Bare painted body was back on the 16th July as promised.... took ages to clean all of the dust out from the chassis.

Click here for work on body after mid-July 2003