Splitty Resto

Last week something strange happened, the guy who i spoke with a few months back about restoring my splitty phones up out of the blue, I originally spoke to him back in February or March where we discussed him coming to look at the project. He said he would call - he never did. I had pretty much given up hope of finding anyone in Adelaide to do the job and had decided to do it myself, but the phone call has got me thinking again about simply paying someone to do the work.

I must confess that I was a little pissed off previously with the lack of interest I had received from the guy - I figured that a splitty resto is a LOT of cash and huge entrustment, and I expected a little more enthusiasm - perhaps I expect too much? Anyhows - in his defense he said that he had lost my number and that he will come around and take a look at it - I guess I will wait and see if he calls.

I don't know about most people, but for me, I like to business in a direct and transparent manner - you want the work - you come and look at the job, we discuss some terms a deal is struck, we shake hands, the deal is sealed.

I hope he comes though this time, I have heard good reports about his work, and would prefer to entrust the job to him in preference to anyone else locally

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Unique Fabrication

I actually managed to do some stuff directly related to the splitty today. I took a trip down to visit Unique Fabrications workshop at Holden Hill to see what things were like there. After the recent phonecall from ian, the owner, about restoring the bus, I decided that i should take the time out and go and pay him a visit, both to show that I'm serious about getting the 15 restored and to have a bit of a nose at his operation.

There was an array of cars being worked on - two 356 Pre-A coupes, a Type 1 Ghia that had some nice tasteful and well executed body mods, a couple of bugs and theier current show project a volks-rod. Unfortunately the body was at the paint shop so I didn't get to see it, but the chassis was there and looked like some pretty good work.

Currently Ian outsources the painting and just concentrates on the steel fabrication side of things. He is well tooled with equipment like a 3 metre guilotine, 3 metre box and pan folder, english wheel, swage rollers and the usual mig and tig setups for welding.

The work that I saw on the Ghia was impressive - the rear arches has been flared to take wider wheels (the car is being prepped as a rally car) the flaring was very subtle and did not look out of place.

Whilst I was there i was introduced to a few other customers, and Ian took the time to chat to me about the business and his plans. Overall a top boke, I hope things work out.

I'm now waiting for Ian to come round and take a look at the bus, he's still booked up for the foreseeable future, but hopefully this is one step closer.

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Exhaust and Bumpers

Managed to source a pair of bumpers for the bus. Good bumpers don't seem to come up very often, every set I've ever seen sold over here seem to need a fair bit of work, and finding a pair of slash style before someone else snaps them up is more than a challenge.

The pair I bought have already been straightened so no work needed to be done apart from painting them and fitting them. Unfortunately they're not the correct slash style - they're the earlier ribbed style, but this fits with my plans for the bus and they are much better looking in my opinion. Just need to source some brackets for them now.

Also, after a bit of research i decided on an exhaust - just ordered one from vintage speed.

With the exhaust - that's pretty much everything I need as far as the engine is concerned.

Now all I need to do now is find the other 3000 odd parts that my bus has missing. 



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Splitty Mcodes


Whilst checking out VIN plate data for the new Type 34 Registry update, I ended up on a site with a rather nifty bay bus VIN decoder. http://www.alltheprettybuses.com Being completely sidetracked from my original task, I decided to see what VIn decoders there were for the 15.

As luck would have it, I snapped shot of the VIN plate from the 15 on my phone this weekend. I have no idea why, but it's a good job I did.

After a little bit of a google, I ended up over at The Samba, where they have a nice page listing the various VIN plate options. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/archives/info/id.php

The Details on my plate tell me that the bus was built on the 11th of September 1961.

It was supplied with the following options.

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New Floor

Just noticed today that there are repop right hand drive front cab floors for sale on DSK. Have PM'd the seller - hopefully he has more for sale. The Right hand drive conversion is probably the first thing I need to sort out on the bus, so the floor is the first panel that I need to get.

Fingers crossed!

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The Beginning


Looking back it's hard to remember how I ended up looking for another splitty, I used to own one a few years back and always missed it after selling it. I think i was looking for something on ebay and stumbled across this bus by accident. After looking through about a hundred photos on photobucket I decided that it was too much money and too much work.

But the problem is... once that idea takes hold...

Anyhows, I ended up looking to South Africa for a bus. i figured they're right hand drive, in a warm climate, and a bunch cheaper.

Finding a bus there is pretty easy - just go to gumtree and browse the classifieds (don't bother visiting any South African forums - they don't like seeing busses leave the country and you will likely get flamed or worse). I found a nice looking roadworthy and restored bus for about AU$8K. After getting quotes for shipping and speaking with a past client of the seller here in Aus I was ready to go. Unfortunately, as it took me so long to get everything sorted the bus sold the day before I was ready to buy it. :( Ahh well - wasn't meant to be I guess.

So then I get to thinking about the 15 window again. My old bus was a nice looking cal look 11 window, but after spending a lot of time in it I decided that a 13 / 15 window was the way to go, and best of all it was a walkthrogh - just like my old '71 westphalia I toured around Europe in. The more I thought about it - the more I had to at least go and have a look...

So, I went and visited the owner, took a look at the bus, bartered a bit and left owning yet another project.

And that's pretty much how things have been since last December.

The bus is a left hooker, but came with a RHD beam and dash, it needs a lot of work and rust repairs to the floors, as well as patching up speaker holes and dents. I will probably get a second set of cargo doors put in to turn it into a double door - mostly as it will get used as a family wagon. It's been dropped on lowered spindles and a straight axle kit - and this is probably how I will leave it.

I will keep you all posted on the progress.

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New Engine


Made a bit more progress towards getting the Vdubs back on the road this week, in fact it's been quite an eventfull few days. The garage has been manufactured and so I paid off the remainder of the cash owing - hopefully it will be delivered at the end of next week. In readiness for it's arrival I relocated the existing garden shed to the opposite end of the garden, all I need to do now is transplant a couple of roses and the area is clear

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That'll buff out ;)

I spoke with a fellow bus enthusiast just prior to Xmas as he had some Belly pans for sale over on DSK, I need a set of these for when I get around to doing the splitty as I am planning to convert it to a double door. The reason for the belly pans is that the bus is left hand drive, and so to make it practical for use as a family wagon, it needs to have cargo doors on the kerb side, as adding in an extra set of doors seems the simplest way to go. Unfortuately the double doors weaken the structure and so the belly pans are used to add in the additional strength.

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Bus, Boat, Car


Had a bit of a VW weekend this weekend.

Managed to score some nice VW stuff from a fellow VW enthusiast (cheers razor ;) ).

Picked up an original venetian for the Razor. It's an Aussie only part and appears to be a pretty rare thing. I have seen venetians for razors before, but most of them do not wrap around the rear screen correctly. This one is correctly shaped to fit the screen. I've only seen one like this (this one), but the PO said that there are maybe three others in existence.

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