Gerrelt's Garage

009 goes undercover...

My Beetle is a '73 body on a '70 chassis. This is because of a tax law in the Netherlands. We (my 2 brothers and I) took it in 1995 apart and placed the body on another, 3 years older, chassis. Now, we got a good solid chassis and don't have to pay road-taxes anymore!
Below, I will describe what we did by showing pictures of the operation and tell something about it.

This is how the beetle looked like before operation "BODY-SWAP". The picture shows 009 on a mission in Belgium. The mission's targets where the beaches of Belgium.

The first thing to do was, of course, get the body seperated from the chassis. We removed the tank, chairs, backseat and battery. After that we unscrewed the steering-colomn, loosened the electric wires which are attached to the engine and about 17 bolts that hold the body to the chassis. Some of the bolts gave that "hmmm, something has rusted"-feeling when unbolting them. When we tried to lift the body it didn't go off the chassis, because at some places the body was welded to the chassis... This was because the beetle had some repair patches between body and chassis welded in. So, we had to hammer that loose.. Then we tried to lift the beetle again.
It got loose from the chassis but something at the back kept it from totally lifting it. After making the back of the car subject of intens research, we discovered that the extra Z-torsion bars, that our beetle was equiped with, had to be unscrewed for lifting the body.
With 5 people we lifted the body and placed it on piles of tires.

The body appeared to have 2 badly rusted heater channels. The underside of the left heater channel just kept lying on the chassis when we lifted the body.
Ironically the chassis was in a better state than the body, it looked like we were going to replace the wrong part of the car...
After we examined the amount of damage the body had, we ordered 2 new heater channels and welded them in. This sounds much easier than it is, it took us a cople of months to get them in properly, and weld the other rust-holes around the heater channels. While working on the body it looked like bad fortune was following us. Once the body almost bended through while moving it, the interior caught fire after welding something and (but that was our own, beginners, fault) the doors didn't close properly when we had the heater channels welded in. A piece of the interior is still missing but we did fix the door-problem, they close good now.

The two-headed creature on the right in this picture is me with my younger brother on my back.
We wanted to store the old chassis at a place that was about 5 kilometers away. My older brother came with his VW Golf (Rabbit in US) to take the chassis away. But there wasn't a trailer available, so there was a problem. my 2 brothers started thinking and came up with a solution. They removed the front wheels of the chassis and tied the front-beam to the trailer-nob, and towed the chassis to it's storage area.

The new (read: other) chassis missed some things. The chassis was somebody's unfinished project. When we bought it it missed an front axle, almost all break pipes, rear shocks and pedals. We reassembled it with an adjustable front beam, which appeared to be very low even in it's highest position..
When it was finished, we placed the body on it and bolted it together. After that we had to install all the things we had removed, but because the chassis had a different layout for attaching the chairs, we installed 2 recaro chairs on a home made carriage.
Now the beetle was finished it ended up with a very nose-down stance, which gives interesting steering-characteristics.