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My Father's VW Beetle


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Back in the day, 1969-72 to be exact, we lived on the US Army Post at Pirmasens, Germany.  It was going to take some time for the 66 Valiant we shipped from New Jersey, so my father purchased a red VW Beetle to get around, and eventually be the second family car.  It was an early 1960s car, I don't know exactly what year.  Funny thing, buying it in Germany, it was a US spec car that a military person bought in the USA and then got orders for Germany.  Thus, we had the only car with the US over rider bumpers in town.


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I haven't found any photos of it other than this picture of my father's work location with cars out front.  It's the dark color Beetle on the right of the entrance. 

I got prodded into participating in a 48 Hour Build this past weekend on Facebook.  I was going to be home for the weekend, so why not?  It being summer I wasn't going to marathon build, nor stay up overnight.  I was just going to build at a fair pace and just maybe get done...

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I decided to use the Polar Lights VW Beetle kit.  The first issue of this was Herbie the Love Bug, but the designers hinted that there was more to come.  Then Polar Lights got sold to Tomy and nothing occurred.   Then Tom Lowe bought it all back!  The second issue of the kit had some Cal Bug options and such.  Two extra sets of wheels, an interesting steering wheel and custom exhaust as some of those.  And since Herbie had no VW emblems, this was the appearance of correctly branded VW hub caps!   The only thing left out, which I had liked was the soft top in Herbie.  I hope they bring that back again.

I figured with this being a Snap It kit, a neat technology they invented to create a full detail kit with engine but as a snap kit, I could spend a lot of time playing with paint and details.   I was right!

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I painted my Beetle with Duplicolor paints.  First red primer and then Cherry Red. It came out bright and wonderful!  The issue for me became that my father's Beetle never looked that good!   So after looking at it all weekend, I decided to give it a shot of Tamiya Semi-Gloss Clear.  That was the pox!   Right after I finished I noticed the clear curdling on the surface.  At first I thought the red had reacted, but upon sanding I learned that it held fast and all the mess was the clear coat!   Argh.

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And that was all she wrote for the weekend!   The hood was the worst.  The body only had a little wrinkle in odd corners and the trunk lid... aka engine cover, had some where the license plate would be.   So I sanded it all carefully and gave it another shot of the same Tamiya... pretty much okay this time.  And the good part, it looks a lot more like my dad's car!   

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I have since sanded out the shifter mold mark and put the seats on the right sides!  The benefit of taking pix!

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I did have a blast with my own detailing exercise.  Since I didn't know a lot about the car, I used photos from three Beetles on eBay Motors.  And of course now eBay is hounding me to buy them!  ☺️  I did the interior in a light gray and added  Model Car Garage seat belts (my father  always had belts in his cars) and I made floor mats from 400 grit sandpaper.

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The headliner was a minefield of ejector pin marks.  I sanded and filled the divots, I masked it all off and gave it a shot of the same interior gray.  I have since painted the black gaskets around the windows.   I still am going to make some visors.

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I found the correct era American Forces Germany plates, where else? eBay.  I swiped the image and made myself a half dozen.

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And I needed the USA oval so I made up a batch on white decal paper.  Figure I will screw up at least one or two, and I can always use extras.  Might as well once I'm printing!   

So I'm building an old family friend.  It will be nice to have it on my shelf!  

 

 

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I can see that you are getting a great deal of satisfaction from building this car, Tom, and clearly the build has special significance with being your Dad's car. My view with the paint issue, is that fate is saying ' Okay, the top coat went bad...... but hey, the paint finish is now actually closer to that on your Dad's actual car..... so all is good !

I used to own an orange 1960 VW beetle when I was in my early 20's, and it had 6 volt electrics. That was a fun car to drive and I grew to like it very much.

Hope you get your build completed on time !

David

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9 hours ago, slusher said:

Really nice project Tom.  What grey did you use on your seats?  Looks almost off white..

Its Testors #31929 Gloss Gull Gray  FS 16440.  Years ago I bought a bunch of grays to match the Trabant postal vehicle. Now I use them for different interior tones etc.

 

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Looking forward to seeing the finished build. On a different note, I was stationed just up the road from Permasens at Zweibrucken AB from 76-78. Loved Germany, was stationed there twice.

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On 7/26/2021 at 8:17 PM, Tom Geiger said:

(my father  always had belts in his cars)

Since he was on a military installation it was more than likely required to have seatbelts.  My first car was a 1956 Chevy 210 that had been owned by a DOD employee from somewhere in the northern states and it had seatbelts.  All that being said I have a soft spot in my heart (head) for early VW's, owned a '67 for awhile in the USAF.  Really like how this one is coming together. Your detail work makes a lot of difference in the overall look. Bring on more updates.

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On 7/28/2021 at 7:09 AM, TarheelRick said:

Since he was on a military installation it was more than likely required to have seatbelts.  My first car was a 1956 Chevy 210 that had been owned by a DOD employee from somewhere in the northern states and it had seatbelts. 

His preference certainly was influenced by the army! Growing up, all our cars had seat belts and us kids were made to wear them. It became a life long habit, have always worn my seat belt.

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On 7/27/2021 at 8:13 PM, 58 Impala said:

Looking forward to seeing the finished build. On a different note, I was stationed just up the road from Permasens at Zweibrucken AB from 76-78. Loved Germany, was stationed there twice.

I was there from 1969-72 as a dependent.  If I stayed for 10th grade, I would have been bussed to the high school at Zweibrucken.   A friend of mine now, who is ten years older than me was stationed at K-Town the same time I was there!

 

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Neat! We had 5 Beetles in our family around the same time our first was a 1965 1300cc in dark green, then an Orange one and the last a Light Blue one. Our youngest son had a Black 1600 lowered, and bumper less with a sport exhaust, he then had an American import Karmann 1956 cabriolet that came stripped with a huge box of bits, unfortunately he ran out of money and sold it! That's when he went rogue and bought a water cooled car!

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Thanks guys!  I’ve gotten past my body paint issues. I had to drive to a hobby shop for another squirtum of Tamiya Semi-Gloss.  I kept sanding down the crinkles and shooting the areas until they went away.

Chassis is done, interior is done. I made visors and am fiddling with the winding gaskets and painting little details.  Onward!

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