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Article #1-Luigis piano tuning

So what do you do with a car that is to good to cut up for parts, but is not a good enough piece to turn into a nice restored car? The term daily driver comes to mind. But not just any daily driver, it has to be a car with it's own personality. Luigi's piano tuning beetle was born.

As can be seen from the first two pictures on the page, there was not much of this 57 beetle left to work with, although the chassis was surprisingly rust free. This beetle had not been on the road for over 25 years. It had been passed around by several people for years, each new owner removing this or that parts for another project. First on the list was the entire braking system, I decided to upgrade to the 58 to 64 sedan braking system with a late model tandem master cylinder and some NOS German brake drums. All hard and soft brake lines and e-brake cables were replaced new. The front beam was upgraded to allow the use of not only a steering stabilizer, but an anti sway as well. Gas shocks were installed front and back, king and link pins were also installed to make the suspension nice and tight and new. 

With the suspension and brakes fresh and new, now the time has come to fix the various body problems. The bottom corners of the windshield were rotted out along with the door post bottom damage that goes along with it. I had plenty of donor pieces, so no problems there. See the chalk lines on the roofline of the car? Yep, you guessed it. That was one giant wad of bondo. The car had been in a soft rollover at some point and some one tried to fix it with the large econo size of plastic mud. That got fixed with a new roof section out of my sheetmetal stash. On to the paint. The original paint color was Prarie beige, and I just happened to have some factory paint. just enough to shoot the inside, outside, and under the hood and deck areas. The car got a full treatment with new rubber and a plain jane upholstery kit from TMI (headliner, seat covers, door panels). The logos were then added, hand painted of course as I worked as a sign painter before the days of digital graphics.

Now it was time to add the engine. I put together a mild performance 36hp with my stage 1 cam, all balanced of course right down to the dome top Kolbenschmidt pistons. Heads are  a mild port and polish with 33mm Okrasa intake valves installed. Because the transmission oil looked so good, it was decided that we should give the old splitcase transmission a go. After installing the engine and doing the first tune, it was time to go for a ride.1st,2nd,3rd,4th gears operated fantastic, but the gear box had one tiny little reverse! So I had to settle on a used 4.12 R&P full syncro gearbox I had in the shop, and as things go, it was a good choice. This car took around 100 hrs of work stretched out over about 5 months, I started in late October of 2007 and was on the road driving by May of 2008. I now have around 20,000 miles on the car, not a single problem. Although it's not a show car, as a driver with a little character you can't beat it. Sure is surprising what you can do with a rusty heap!