Angelo DiNardi

Doin' shit on the web since 1995.

VW Beetle Project Part 1

21 July 2011

This week I purchased a new (to me) old 1969 Volkswagen Beetle as a “project” car. To understand why we’ll go back in time a ways.

VW Beetle

The Past

When I was young (as far as I remember we’re talking 15-20 years ago) I discovered the Volkswagen Beetle. I fell in love with the car and collected books and models. When the “new” Beetle concept got out, I was all over it. I (for some crazy reason) had a love for the VW Beetle.

Fast-forward to today where I now live in California (where Beetles are prevalent) and have the resources to acquire such a car. I had been browsing craigslist every so often to get a feel for the market, but I never saw anything that really “struck” me as what I wanted. I stumbled across this car and what I immediately found interesting was that it is an Autostick model. I had been fully prepared to jump in a manual shift car – but this was, well, intriguing. The more I read about them the more I saw how this was actually both cool and relatively unique/rare. People generally don’t keep Autostick models around apparently.

Thanks to the Autostick I was able to jump right in this car and drive it. Awesome. I absolutely fell in love with the car and the fact that it was (comparatively) well maintained. I could focus on incremental improvements and have a functional car. I wouldn’t have to worry about replacing some major system right away.

My current goals for the car are to “restore” it to as much of it’s original glory as possible and to keep it as original/stock as possible. Although I have no idea if I ever want to deal with “car shows” and such, I’d like to return its condition to that of “show quality.”

Part 1

I’ve so far “fixed” one thing and investigated another. The first was that the vent wing lock mechanism was immobile so you could not open the vent wing (the little window in front of the primary window in the doors). A little WD-40 fixed that right up.

Next is the interior, overhead dome light. It doesn’t work. Switching it on and/or using the door activation method will not activate the light. I busted out the multi-meter and checked the wires coming to the unit. It appears there’s virtually no current (.03 volts it seems) getting through the wires. It should be 12 volts. I traced the wires back to the trunk (front of the car, remember the engine is in the rear) and found the two ground connection points (for always on and for the door activation switches). They appeared to be hooked up. I was unable to fully trace the power wire to the source, though, and gave up for the night.

What’s next

Next I’m going to continue trying to fix the overhead light. Right now it’s a pain to deal with at night since I have to use the flashlight on my iPhone to get around inside the car in the dark. After that, I’m not sure. We’ll see what bothers me the most.