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Author: Subject:  '55 Oval Restoration
MemberMitchvwnut
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posted on May 8th, 2021 at 09:57 PM
'55 Oval Restoration


Hi Guys!

I've been pretty inactive on here for several years, but thought I should change that and begin to contribute more. I'll start with a thread on my oval window project i've had for a while now.

I'll begin from the start, with how I got this car....

A little over 6 years ago, during my first year as an apprentice mechanic, i began looking for my third beetle. To begin with, I wasn't looking at any specific model, just a project i could work on. I looked around and checked out a couple of cars, but didn't make a deal. As time went on, I began to think more, I should just keep saving and get the model I had always wanted. A ribbed door, heart taillight '54 oval.

I put a wanted ad out for what i was looking for, and waited. Over the next couple of months, I had a few people contact me with various oval windows they had available.
One of those vehicles stood out above the rest, a February '55 beetle in South Australia. It looked to be a solid, somewhat original car and also fitted my budget. The owner mentioned that he'd only sell the car if I flew from Sydney to SA to meet him, and look at the car in person. So I did just that. I flew to Adelaide on the Friday afternoon, spent the weekend there to check over the car and made a deal.

After returning home, I organised to have the car transported from South Aus to Sydney. In June 2015, a month before my 17th Birthday, the car arrived to Sydney.

I've attached a teaser photo of the day i took delivery of it.

As I get time, i'll keep adding the things that have followed to this thread.

To be continued...

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posted on May 8th, 2021 at 10:00 PM



Lots of potential there. Looking forward to seeing where you are up to now



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posted on May 9th, 2021 at 07:43 AM



Mitch

wheres the other 54 up to




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posted on May 12th, 2021 at 10:03 AM



Hey Dave,
This is that car. Although i've never really posted anything about it.

To continue on, the car is a matching numbers 'Feb 55.
I bought it as a mostly complete fairly original car. The obvious things that weren't correct, included the wheels, bonnet & deck-lid plus a handful of small bits and pieces. It still ran when i bought it. It has had a crappy re-spray at some point in it's past, although the original paint is still there in most places under the white. I believe the original colour is Gypsy Grey, although i'm not 100% sure that's the correct name.

My original intention was to just give the car a quick restoration and get it on the road, although that quickly changed to an all out rebuild/restoration, paying attention to all the little details. Which i'll share as I go.

I'll post some more pictures of the car shortly after I bought it.

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posted on May 12th, 2021 at 10:04 AM



The original engine.

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posted on May 12th, 2021 at 10:04 AM



Inside the front.

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posted on May 12th, 2021 at 10:05 AM



Rear seat still in its original cover.

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posted on May 12th, 2021 at 10:07 AM



The front seats have been re-upholstered at some point. All the carpet forward of the back seat had also been replaced.

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posted on May 12th, 2021 at 10:37 AM



I hope all the body and guard bolts match

are they correct tensile grade for that year model
wheres your gearbox ???




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posted on May 13th, 2021 at 10:41 PM



Of course all the guard bolts will match!! No use being pedantic without going all the way. haha

After receiving the car, I created a list of the pieces i'd need to find to replace the incorrect parts. Mainly the correct bonnet, deck-lid & wheels.

Within a week and a half, i'd found a decent decent deck-lid. Another two weeks, and i'd also found a very nice 4 tab, 5 bolt Bonnet for it.

Wheels were a bit more difficult to find, as i wanted to find them date stamped as close to the date of manufacture as possible. After 6 months looking, I found a nice matching set of four wheels off of a very rusty April or May '54, which I promptly bought. although this meant i still needed another for a spare. (more on that later)

I've attached a photo with the replacement bonnet and wheels fitted. I don't usually mind BRM's, but in this case, i much prefer the original wheels.

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posted on June 6th, 2021 at 10:37 PM



The car was mainly kept in storage for most of the first year & a half, until In the beginning of 2017, my family moved to Tamworth NSW. Being an apprentice, still living at home, I moved with them, Bringing the beetle with me.

It was put back into storage on my parent's property, and when possible i began pulling it apart to begin the restoration. Throughout disassembly, I created a spread sheet with a list of the pieces i would need to buy for the of rebuild the vehicle.

Six month's after the move, I contacted an old wrecking yard local to Tamworth regarding some beetle panels, which turned into a conversation about how he used to wreck old Volkswagens until the mid eighties before closing up. He mentioned he still had a shed full of old parts and welcomed me to look through it all before he sent it to scrap. I ended up buying everything he had Volkswagen related and filled my T3 van twice.

To bring this back to the Oval, i had been searching for another date stamped wheel to complete my set for the car. Among the twenty something wheels i bought that day, one was date stamped for late 54. perfect for me!

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posted on June 7th, 2021 at 06:31 AM



Nice find with the parts



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posted on July 4th, 2021 at 11:41 PM



It was a pretty good find.

There was a fair few early parts like several heart taillights, oval beetle fenders and 4 tab bonnets.




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posted on July 5th, 2021 at 12:22 AM



Now for Parts.

Having created a long list of new, used & NOS parts I wanted or thought i may need for this restoration, I started searching for the pieces. The aim has been to acquire as many parts as possible before work began. this way progress shouldn't be interrupted too badly once work starts.

Essentially being a 54 beetle, many parts are specific to the era, this has meant some bits have taken several years to find. I have managed to find some pretty cool pieces, which i will detail later.

At this point I believe I have most bits to complete the car. Although there is still a small handful of NOS parts i'd like to find, I think they should be manageable to find.

To start things off, I bought this NOS front cowl repair section from a guy in Sydney. I plan to use this to repair mine as its in pretty average shape.

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posted on July 5th, 2021 at 07:42 PM



Another cool piece I've found is this NOS Ignition coil.

Typically, these are nothing super special, but this one happens to be date coded 2L (February '55) which is the same month and year as my car.

The ignition coil that came with my car was the only incorrectly date coded piece on my engine. The generator, voltage regulator, distributor, air filter and crank case are all date coded February '55.

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posted on July 5th, 2021 at 11:45 PM



I know it's another Minor detail but NOS Window seals. They're pre-formed unlike repro, and the join is a diagonal cut

I started off finding just the seals for the front & rear screens at the nationals a couple of years ago. funny enough the rear quarters proved quite difficult to find in comparison, they came in a group buy from the states.

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posted on July 6th, 2021 at 07:09 PM



Good work and as you said "pedantic" which works well if you re patient enough to locate the parts that you require for the vehicle.

I have a soft spot for the 55 oval as that is where my journey began back in 1966 and the VW addiction is still alive. Good luck with the little car.
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posted on July 6th, 2021 at 07:57 PM



So Mitch wheres your WANTED LISTING



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posted on July 6th, 2021 at 10:02 PM



Cheers Grumble, it certainly has taken some patience! Hopefully i can do it justice.

I'll get round to it Dave. Spending on it has been mostly paused for the next month or so, as i'm getting married in October and making sure all that is paid for.




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posted on July 6th, 2021 at 11:10 PM



From the beginning, a set of NOS '54 specific RHD floor mats was high up on the wish list. Currently there is no reproduction available for RHD other than the firewall mat.

These took forever to find & buy, They have by far been the most difficult part to source. It took more than 5 years of actively looking to complete the set. I feel quite lucky to have found these.

I learnt of the two Front mats 2 years into owning the car, it took another 2 years to buy them. The rear mats ended up coming from Europe last year, One from Poland, the other from the Netherlands.

As for the firewall mat, it is a reproduction from Marcus at Wagenmanufaktur. It is beautifully made, i would go as far as saying it is as good as the original, if not better!

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posted on August 11th, 2021 at 12:13 PM



During a lunch break in the beginning of June, I saw a NOS W deck-lid listed on The Samba classifieds for a very fair price. Not expecting too much luck as it had already been listed for several hours at that point, I thought i would contact the seller to see if he would ship it to me from Austria. As it turned out, i was the first of about 15-20 people to contact him that night regarding it. Plus he was more than happy to crate it up for me! So we made a deal and he shipped it! Transport took a while due to the Covid situation in Sydney, so Fast forward to this morning, it arrived on my doorstep! I couldn't be happier, it's awesome!
I've attached a photo of it after i attached a NOS number plate light & T handle from my stash.

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posted on August 11th, 2021 at 12:37 PM



Looking Good Mitch The passenger side rear needs to lay out in the sun fora while Has the floor pan got the round plates to hold the mats in place

Get to work on the WANTED list

when are you sending me the Gearbox to rebuild




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posted on August 11th, 2021 at 04:05 PM



Great score and good on you for being the first in line.
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posted on August 13th, 2021 at 06:28 PM



thanks guys.

I will fix the crease in the floor mat closer to fitting it.
The floor pan does have most of the buttons still attached, although some are missing so i will need to find some replacements. not real sure where to find them.
will get the wanted list sorted shortly, gearbox will happen while bodywork is getting done.




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posted on August 13th, 2021 at 07:18 PM



Late last year I sent the speedometer for restoration to Thorsten at Krautclassic parts in Germany. The result is stunning! I recommend him highly.

The condition of it to begin with -

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posted on August 13th, 2021 at 07:19 PM



After restoration -
on my speedo, i had him do the "show car" rebuild. this included:
- new glass
- new needle
- new faceplate
- refinishing all surfaces (Plating, Paint & Chrome)
- new bulbs and holders
- inspect mechanical side of things & re-calibration

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posted on August 13th, 2021 at 07:50 PM



whats the date stamp on the back
u will have to get some LED globes in 6 Volt




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posted on August 13th, 2021 at 07:51 PM



Amazing!
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posted on August 13th, 2021 at 08:02 PM



Mitch should have got a 130 Klms speedo u wont have to convert then



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posted on August 13th, 2021 at 10:53 PM



The speedo is stamped 3/55. I didn't think to ask about a km face!



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