1973 Volkswagen Beetle Restoration | Part 2

Posted: February 23, 2015 in Automotive
Tags: , , , , , ,

1973 Volkswagen Beetle Restoration, Part 2: Interior

Anytime you get your hands on a classic car it’s probably already passed your pre-purchase checklist. This is to say that it was either a great find or a great buy. The truth is that it boils down to what the individual purchaser wants or needs—street rod, hot rod, daily driver or parts-vehicle.

Common concerns typically result in a search for rust, checking the VIN and mileage as well as researching the vehicle’s current versus potential value. Because I purchased my 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle from a trusted relative, I have to admit that my purchase was based off his “rundown.” Let’s face it, the Classic Beetle is one of those cars that people love or hate.

Perhaps the late model (or New) Beetle’s production, which started in 1997, tainted the purity of the Punch Buggy game resulting in the question of “do those count?” By the way, if you’re looking for the “official rules” visit TravelingMamas or…just use your own rules.

At any rate, the Bug is a German (or Mexican) vehicle that has had a long and relevant history here in the United States. For me, it was as simple as, “I want it.”

As mentioned in 1973 Volkswagen Beetle Restoration | Part 1, the vehicle was generally in great shape, especially the interior.

Atlas Concepts LLC_Shop Talk_VW Restore 002-1

Since there are plenty of websites that walk you through Beetle restorations, such is not my purpose herein. It is my intent to share with you the direction I went with my Beetle to give you some options that you may not have considered.

The way I went about formulating the direction of my Bug was by searching a JBugs product catalog. I quickly learned that these cars can literally be built from the ground up with reproduction and original parts. Simple product installation can really transform any vehicle…so it began. A great deal of the interior was removed prior to the vehicle being painted, and installed (and in some cases reinstalled) after the car’s new paint.

Color Change: Headliner and Seats. I went with a black headliner to replace the dirty and worn original white one. I decided to uninstall and cover the rear air vents and dome/courtesy light. Before installing your headliner, develop a plan for such items. As well, here are a few other areas to consider: visor mounts, rear view mirror mount, the pillars, seat belt mounts, rear seat mounts, rear carpet and rear window seals.

While you can simply buy new seat covers, I decided that the condition mine were in did not warrant such measures. I did, however, decide that a color-matched (with the vehicle exterior) customization would bring the interior to life. The headliner installation (and visor dying), as well as the seat upholstery, was completed by Custom Made Upholstery in Rock Hill, SC.

Atlas Concepts LLC_VW Head liner

Atlas Concepts LLC_Shop Talk_VW Restore 002-10

Carpet. There are plenty of carpet options usually varying by color, style and quality. I went with Jbugs Premium Carpet Kit with footrest (34-F1176-301) and Baja Rear Carpet (34-R1104-301). The installation is simple, but obviously take the opportunity to assess your floor pan and deadening material while you have the seats out. When removing your seats, you should take time to note the Seat Lever Assembly as it can be a bit more confusing putting it back in than you would imagine. I ended up using a photo I found online to refresh my memory. My Floor Vents were a bit beaten up from years of feet moving in and out of the car. I decided to uninstall the vents and hide the hole with the carpet. With your old carpet removed is the best time for installing kick panels if you are considering this option. I went with JBugs Speaker Kick Panels (331-003 SBUG) and a Phoenix Gold Component Set (paid link).

Atlas Concepts LLC_VW Beetle Floor Pan_Heater Vent

Rear Seat Delete. It took a great deal of trial and effort figuring out what to do with the space after I decided that I didn’t need or want the rear seat. Again, I did reinstall the mounts, this was done so that the seat could be optional. I finally settled on building a “trunk” that could be used for tools and other random things, which would be secured inside the vehicle. Additionally, the speakers finally settled down to the plywood cover I made for the rear seat compartments.

Atlas Concepts LLC_VW Speakers

Atlas Concepts LLC_Shop Talk_VW Box-1

Atlas Concepts LLC_Shop Talk_VW Box-2

Doors. Though the door panels were in decent shape, I tried several times to seal the saggy door pockets and never had any long term luck. I decided to get JBugs Door Panels (10-1004-11) without pockets to avoid the issue altogether. Another simple installation. I decided to not reinstall the door handles to achieve a cleaner look. Also I went with JBugs Window Cranks (11.4521-B) to match my Grant Steering Wheel. With new seals/rubber all around, there isn’t much else I could do to the door area except add Satin Sill Plates, with polished ribs (NTSP837 4582) from Jbugs.

Atlas Concepts LLC_Volkswagen Beetle Door Panel

Atlas Concepts LLC_Shop Talk_VW runner 1

Dash. I removed the entire dash of my Beetle with the purpose of “fixing” a few cracks. I found that, when it was all said and done, it was much less painful to buy a Dash Cover (4447) from JBugs.  They actually sell complete dashes as well, but they are much more expensive, and I really just didn’t want to take the old dash out again. I installed a VDO oil temperature gauge from California Import Parts  into the clock cutout/hole and in combination with the steering wheel that I already mentioned, realistically that’s about it.

Atlas Concepts LLC_Shop Talk_VW Dash-1

A few other parts used in the interior from JBugs are:

Drink Holder (DH-SUPER); this can be removed/replaced for show.

2-point Seat Belt, Push Button, 60 inch (1201-60); this is a kit with hardware.

8 AMP Fuses (10 –Pack) (N 171 211/10)

16 AMP Fuses (10-Pack) (N 171 214/10)

Lastly, I found the 9-ball shift knob on ebay. It is custom-made and internally threaded (12mm X 1.50) to fit without any adaptors. The last addition to the bug was an LED Digital Tachometer (SUM-G2981) from Summit. The mounting bracket is something I made with scrap metal and a mig welder (have fun).

Atlas Concepts LLC_Shop Talk_VW Beetle Restoration 004-1

Atlas Concepts LLC_Shop Talk_VW Trachometer

Stay tuned for more details on this 1973 Super Beetle’s restoration and customization. Feel free to contact me regarding any specific questions, tips or ideas regarding your own VW Beetle restoration. If you are interested in sharing your automotive experiences through this blog, email Atlas Concepts, LLC at atlasconcepts@yahoo.com.

Atlas Concepts LLC_Jordache Williams_Shop TalkJordache Williams, of Rock Hill, South Carolina, is the Program Manager for Atlas Concepts, LLC. He understands that sometimes a small piece of information is the difference between success and failure. His contributions to the Shop Talk blog are purposed with sharing relevant information based on his own experiences.


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