Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drivers.....Start Your Engines

I've started to day dream about what it will be like to have the body show up and what I'll do with it when it gets here.  The cold reality is that it's time to put the car together.  It's like my friend Jon has been telling me.  At some point, after constantly feeling like you're going up a hill feeling like it will never end, you suddenly at the edge of a cliff looking down a very steep hill.  It all feels like it's quickly happening now.  I realize that if the body arrives, I need to have the chassis COMPLETELY ready to receive it.  I need to have all the bolts, body gasket, brakes, etc all ready to go. 

In fact, I really need to have the engine running and ready because it will be far easier to mess with it with the body off.  In fact, after consulting Wolfsberg West, they tell me that is exactly how Volkswagen assembled the cars.  Who am I to argue with the Germans?  (NEIN! in my best German accent).  It would be helpful if I had an assembly line and several chaps to help me, of course.

So now I'm motivated to get my act together and get the right parts and pieces in house so that I can get this all ready for the "show".  I took a trip to Hick's VW in Durham, NC.  Good operation that Bob has there.  Really cares about the cars and your best interest.  I had him take a look at the cylinder heads to see if they would work.  Jon met me there that day because he had some parts to buy too.  After we all looked at the innards of the engine case, cylinders, pistons, heads, and rings it all looks great!  It's really ridiculous if you think about it.  The engine had run before.  It's a 36hp that hasn't run since the mid 1980's.  It has sat on a mechanic's shelf, Jon's shelf, and then my shelf for almost 20 years but the damn thing looks good!  So now I've ordered all the parts that I need for the engine from Wolfsberg West and bought some from Bob at his shop.  I swear I cleaned out every 36hp part he might have had in house......he's probably grateful I got that stuff out of his inventory.

Let me pause here too to brag on Wolfsberg West.  Not only do they offer themselves as a resource when you speak with them on the phone, but you can tell they take great care in how they send their parts.  It arrives well packaged.  They also will sell you used parts if they don't have something in stock.  Most other folks would just backorder you or send you the wrong part intentionally and make you return it so it doesn't look like the are backordering......bastards.  I commend and recommend Wolfsberg West as a primary supplier to any Air-cooled enthusiast.  

Now that I have the parts, I've got the engine clean, and ready to assemble.  I just need to set aside some time to pull all those parts together.  I think I'll wet myself the first day I hear the engine run.....take your bets.  

The Sting

I'm sitting in my hotel pondering whether to order a crappy pizza or muster the energy and hunt for my food in the urban jungle of Charlotte. I get a strange email in broken English on my iPhone telling me they will gladly pay $50.00 to pick up my car. What the....(rubbing my chin). Son of a nutcracker! I see a picture what is clearly my 57 Oval on a flatbed! Fumbling for my phone, I call for my wife after mis-dialing in a panic, and ask her to go into the garage and make sure my car is in there. She seems to be taking her sweet time and I continue to press and ask her if she sees it or not. "Why?" she simply asks.

Now you have to understand that there is a dance that Whitney and I do. Having been stolen from before, I always lock the doors and keep the garage door shut. She (innocent and naive.....snicker, snicker) doesn't seem to have the same priority. I always have the same comment that if we leave the garage door open when we are not home someone will go "shopping" in our garage. Mainly for my tools!!

Coming back to the story at hand.......at this point, I'm sure that someone has gone shopping in our garage and has taken my car away and it's gone for good! Suddenly, she stops me as I begin to tear up and tells me, "Happy Anniversary :-) ".

Silence......What is she talking about? Come to find out, she arranged to have our neighbor's co-worker to come and pick it up. Steve next door helped out to get it out of the garage.  They all had been in on the Sting for weeks!  Chris will finish up some of the minor body work and then prep for paint and paint the body, doors, hood, decklid, wheels, and misc parts. I was slack jawed! After the shock faded and the reality set in, I was STOKED! In a about 45 days I'll have a beautiful painted body in my garage to set right down onto the finished chassis.
 A couple of weeks later, I head over to Chris' shop to take a look and talk about what needs to be done and what direction to take.  He had the Oval already on a welded rotisserie with the apron welded and the rear bumper mounts welded in.  It was very well done.  Not grafted on without any care or thought of potential rust that might come back and haunt you, but almost surgically implanted after the worn out part has been removed.  I was impressed.