May 21, 2008
The 74 Beetle Project
The other day, my son looked at me earnestly and said, "Dad, I think we should fix the Beetle." I have to admit I was a little shocked since my son has never really expressed any interest in any of the following:
>Working on cars
>Getting his hands really dirty
>Taking on a challenging project
>Putting things back together
First a little history: The 74 Beetle was a project I took on about 8 years ago when I realized I had too much free time on my hands. The car belonged to my parents and my mom was driving along one day when the engine caught fire. She jumped out and threw gravel all up in every crevice of the engine, but that didn't help. Finally a passerby with a fire extinguisher stopped and put out the inferno.
Being a nice son with extra time on my hands, I had my dad haul the car to my house. It was Thanksgiving day around 1999 or 2000.
I started tearing into the engine and my 10 year old son and I rebuilt the engine. I located replacement parts for the badly burned stuff and was on my way to getting the car back on the road.
Starting the Project
Rebuilding the engine went so well (and I still had lots of time on my hands) so I decided to surprise my mom and do a "little extra" work on the car. I have this awful habit of expanding a project to include things that are far beyond my capabilities and will take much longer than I think they will.
So I decided I needed to fix up the interior. These meant change the ratty headliner (which requires removing all the windows... it would have been good to know that beforehand), new seat covers, new carpets, etc. I got that all done and decided to fix a few "issues" with the body. That meant removing all the fenders and trim, door handles, etc . so I could get the car painted. I did this and the car was getting ready for paint and then it happened.
A friend I used to work for called me (while I was working on the bug) and said "My son has started an Internet company and we are looking for people" Long story short, I took a job with this startup and suddenly I had no time for anything. The 74 Beetle project sat in the garage and I continued to take crap from family and friends. Even the friends who were envious of how I was able to make such progress when I was working on the car eventually turned on me and started pointing out that the bug was still in the garage and looking quite neglected.
So it Begins
So when my son told me we should work on the car I was a little confused but decided we should use this as a nice father son project (knowing that I would be doing most of the work) and use it as an excuse to finally get the 74 Beetle back on the road and out of my garage.
So here we go. We started the project and so far we did an inventory on all the parts and I can't remember where a lot of the stuff goes :). We have a manual, lots of time, mild enthusiasm and a timeline (he wants to have the car ready for school next year). Let's see what happens.