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neohic

'74(ish) VW Dune Buggy Build

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Kind of a step forward today... kind of. The car got moved back into my shop for winter and I couldn't help but feel a little "meh" about how the fuel tank ended up. I just hated the patches! So...

 




 

Fresh and new! Yes... yes... I know it would've been way easier to order up a new tank and make it work, but then I'd still have to cut it up and make it fit. This way I could make it exactly how wanted, keep the seems mostly clean, add some more capacity, and have yet another piece of the puzzle that started as a pile of steel.

 

Made the most of the space I had.

 



 

Fuel cap for future reference.

 


 

Bent around the arm on the stock fuel float so I've got full sweep out of it. What's kind of funny about the filler neck is that this whole project started off with scrapping a rusty fuel tank from an old lawn mower. I cut the top off of it and whittled it down to just the fill hole.

 


 

And then everything got put back together again... again. Started going through my box of parts and the windshield wiper motor was right on top. Scratch another item off the list for mock up!

 


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I can already see you blasting across the plains of colorado...  . :MJ 1: .  (insert comparable dune buggy gif)

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Started on this little project today. The whole way along, I really wasn't crazy about how it was turning out. I kept plugging along though... you know, hoping for things to turn around. What was really bugging me about it is that the lines just weren't quite right for a buggy. Mainly the main hoop behind the seats is what wasn't really doing it for me. The lines in the rear was what fixed everything, in my eyes anyhow. Still not the typical lines of a buggy though. Maybe they are? I don't know... I think it's more go-cart or race car than buggy. Anyhow...

 





 

Did you notice?... the main hoop has a seem in it. I won't tell if you don't.   :oops: Besides that, I'm really diggin' the look though. Really took on a new look today. Need to pick up some more material though. That's 40' minus a few feet of mistakes.

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Only a couple months gone by... not too bad for me getting back to a project. It's been a rough holiday season and, quite frankly, I just didn't want to work on anything. All that's done now, so it's time to get back to work.

 

Ever since I mounted the seats, I've never been crazy about getting in and out of this little thing. I was okay with where the seat was, but then there's the line of sight through the windshield that was filled with more steering wheel than there should've been. So? I had to borrow something from my wall to play around with some numbers...

 



 

That steering wheel was what was in my '72 Beetle when I first got it. It wasn't all that bad to drive with, but it won't ever win any beauty pageants. I'm sure it'll make its way back to clock duty, but until then it's solving a problem! Then it was to get back to the cage.

 



 

... added a bump for some additional headroom...

 


 

... and that's were I fell off track again. I threw away a few pieces of tube that just didn't look right to me. Trying to get a nice "roof" line without going too tall seemed all too difficult. I like the lines of where this ended up, but I'm now wishing that I was about six inches shorter. The seats came out, seat tracks cut down, then seat tracks got removed all together... it comes down to I either need smaller seats or I need to start cutting material. Neither of which I really want to do.

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Well... one step back today, but also one step forward. I ended up cutting out the rear of the cage for now to think about some things. It was really the rear spreader bar that had to go to make way for the seats to move back another couple inches. I'd really like to put one back in as it would add so much in terms of side impact strength, so I'm sure a replacement with a couple of bends will be in its future.

 


 

The next thing on my list was to figure the front spreader bar/steering column mount. After looking closer at things, I had a little bit of a bind in the column. Seems as though the body lift from last year screwed up the location of the front of the column. The hole was originally put there by whoever had the body in the first place. It needs some cleanup anyhow.

 



 

I'll come back to that later also. Today I really wanted to get something accomplished after removing the entire rear of the cage. Why not move outwards? My original plan was to have some side protection but I've never liked the look of tube along the side of the interior. Made up a pair of these...

 


 

... along with some mounts...

 



 

... to hang the new "crash bars" (for lack of a better term) underneath the body.

 



 

I'll come back add some triangulation to them once the body is off and out of the way. As for now, it'll wait for another weekend.

 


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looks like enough headroom to me but maybe I just need to see someone in the seat to visualize it. :dunno:

 

 

 

..
 
 
 
 
 

 

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There's enough... but just barely. Sitting in it and get in and out just fine, but there's only a couple inches between my head and the tube. I would imagine my future self will thank me given a bumpy road.

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huh, seems there's a picture half way up with you in the drivers seat.  :doh:   my brain sucks.

 

but anywho, now I see that the seat is quite reclined and the headrest is nowhere near where your head will be.  dilly of a pickle for sure. 

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They are!... I hear. I've had the body for the better part of 12 years now.  :doh:

 

Back at it today! Redid the rear of the cage and I'm happy with it again. Not sure if I really need to add a spreader bar behind the seats again or not now... thoughts?
 
 
I found the couple inches of headroom that I needed too. Can't believe I didn't do this in the first place, but I've got no problem redoing something for the better.
 
 
Finally a comfortable seating position! Very happy I can use the bigger steering wheel too. It's a little more cumbersome to get in and out of the car with it, but it's a lot more comfortable with it than the 13". Yay!... the white wheel can go back to clock duty!
 
 
Then there's the gauge layout... not sure what to do here. Granted, I knew this was coming, but I can only see the top and bottom half of the speedometer. On the other hand, I've got my priorities set with the tach front and center. The steering column is finally securely mounted too.
 
 
... as is the front of the body and the fuel tank.
 
 
At this point, I just sat and thought about things. I'm pretty sure I'm done mocking up the cage other than the seat belts. Plenty of room for mounts though and it'll be easier to work on those without the body in the way. The hood came off to shed some light on some comfort features up front. Foot rests!
 
 
I had my wife come out and have a seat in the buggy with me. What I really wanted to see was where she was comfortable at with her feet and legs and what her thoughts were on what would make it come comfortable on a road trip. She's comes up to 4'10" so of course her feet came nowhere near the foot rest on the passenger side. She really liked the seat placement though and really didn't feel a need for it. Should I find my way to the right side of the car, I'll be happy it's there. Both seats are comfortable for me to sit in now! Interior space sure shrank for a 6' guy after adding about 60' of tube!
 
This will probably be the last time it'll look like this for a while. Next on the list is to blow it all apart so I can fully weld the cage and then work on the chassis. Really happy with how everything came out.
 
 
... as for the list...
 

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I... love... my... boots!!! :rotf: If I had to choose one pair of shoes to wear for the rest of my life, it'd be those boots. I've had a half dozen or so pairs of the same Redwing boots now and they all get the same toe-guard treatment. Awesome ankle support. Beautiful arches right out of the box too. They used to be my everyday boots but the new job requires metatarsal protection. I really don't care for the stiffness of them so when I work in my shop at home, the old faithful "coneheads" come back out. It's nice, really... spend all week in my "work" boots that's followed up with my "home" boots. Kind of like waiting for the weekend to see an old friend!  :yes:

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Picking away at the list. Body is off, main cage is welded, and I added more to the list.  :wrench:

 



 

Winter slumber.

 


 

I'm going to have to drive it like this at least once!  :driving:

 


 

Ran around with blue tape to make reminders of holes to fill, holes to make, and other such things to remove.

 


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Side crash bars done. Filled holes in the floor and added more where they needed to be. Scratched off a few other small things on the list too.

 



 

Went to the local salvage yard in search for some seat belts too without any luck. Right now I'm leaning towards just ordering up a set of three point belts and being done with it: http://carcraftstore.com/3-pointretractableseatbeltsharnessset.aspx. I like the idea that they'd be fresh and new, but I'm sure a cheap used set would work just the same. We'll see. I'd like to find something soon so I can get the cage 100% finished and out of the way so I can get working on the chassis.

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Do you think you'll leave the drums up front or convert to disks?

 

Or is that something your waiting till its drivable befit deciding?

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I've got a huge pile of chassis parts in the basement right now. Disks will be going on front and rear.  :wrench:

 

Nice  :thumbsup:

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Seat belts came in super quick! I had them earlier in the week and found the time this morning to make up some mounts. Pretty straight forward... tab at the top and a bigger tab at the bottom. The belts and mechanisms themselves are a nice quality. Everything around the belt spool at the bottom is covered nicely without any of the rotating assembly exposed. That's really what I wanted... no risk of anything getting snagged in there should anything be stowed behind the seats. The female end of the belts have a large plastic cover on them that's kind of stiff though and makes for a goofy kink when wrapping around a seat. I would bet a hair dryer would make short work of getting them the right shape. Anyhow...

 



 

Then I took it all apart to the point that I could flip the chassis over for final finishing on the bottom. Feels really good to finally be at this point!  :D

 


 

... and it wasn't super sketchy at all getting things to this point by myself.  :shake:

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PAINT!!! Just over six years after shortening the pan, but it's paint none the less!

 


 

There's a ton of trash in the paint where I rolled it on, but it's getting bed liner on the floor pans too. Really happy with how the bottom side is turning out though! I used Rustoleum as I've had really good luck with it in the past. It's currently still drying, but I'm helping things along.

 


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