Oh Good Lord I Bought A New Car - 1970 VW Baja Bug!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by ninefivezero, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

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    So this all started way back in Alaska, when I was on a hike with my dad. We got to talking about cars, and had the idea of working on a project car together. The original idea was to try and buy a Triumph Spitfire my friends family had sitting in the garage, but they didn't want to sell. So then we thought about a Karmann Ghia, but only wanted a convertible. Turned out that was a pretty difficult thing to find, and then I got all caught up in the idea of a Baja Bug.

    I don't know anything about cars, engines, etc. This is intended to be a fun project and a way to learn some skills. But the Baja seemed like the perfect vehicle: Lots of parts, simple and fairly easy to work on, parts are pretty cheap, lots of community support, fun on and off road and so on. So I watched craigslist for probably two months, started reading VW forums and websites, and ended up finding one in Wenatchee, WA.

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    Thar she is, sitting in a parking lot in Wenatchee where I met the owner yesterday (Saturday).

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    At the top of Stevens Pass, 4000 feet in elevation. Maybe I just had low expectations, but I thought it did great and it had no problems doing 50mph up the pass.

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    Me and my new toy.

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    The route home, ~140 miles. Ran and felt strong and solid the whole way, even up to around 65mph in a few places.

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    Came with a second set of nearly NEW tires, including the big rear off road tires.

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    Gave it a quick wash this morning, and it looks pretty dang good. I also took off the mud flaps and CB antenna that was on the back cage.

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    I'm a big fan of those wheels, I think they are awesome looking. They have some rust on them, but not too bad.

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    Essentially everything on the interior is aftermarket.

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    The dash is pretty ugly with those labels, and none of the gauges really work, but hey, it's a project ;)

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    The back area, rear seat removed.

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    Another shot of the rear.

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    Decent ground clearance, plus it came with front and rear skid plates.

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    It's going to look mean when I put those tires on!

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    And there it is in its new home. I would not have even thought about a project car unless I had a garage big enough to keep it in with my Subaru.

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    The woman I bought it from bought it a bit over a year ago, and it was in pretty crappy shape I guess. She ended up dumping a ton of money into it, and it came with a big stack of receipts from work she had done.

    Lots of receipts from engine work, brake work, and other important mechanical bits. I just added it all up, and the total from the parts, work, and new tires is $2040.32!!!

    I bought it all for $2,500, not to shabby eh?

    So now it's going to sit for a while since I'm having my jaw surgery in 5 days (Friday) but once I'm recovered enough to work on it, I'm probably going to start by gutting the interior, cleaning it all up, paint here and there, etc. I need to replace all the seals on windows and doors to make it weather tight, and need to tighten some bits that are rattling around. Need to fix all the gauges, and lots of other little bits and pieces here and there.

    I plan on having this thing for a good while, so once I have it a bit more comfortable and civilized in the interior, then will come more serious work to the engine and suspension.

    No idea how far I'll take it, I'm not looking for some serious Baja racer. It's mostly a project car and something to take out for fun when the weather is nice. I do plan on doing some off-roading with it, as well as taking it to some sand dunes, which looks like a ton of fun.

    So yep, that's my new toy :p
  2. SoulAssassin

    SoulAssassin Car Ramrod

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    Sweet. i always wanted an older Bug. Is the picture in the "another rear shot" crooked or is it the car? It just looks like it's leaning to the right.
  3. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

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    It is parked on a slight side hill. (a parking lot across from my house)
  4. Coleman

    Coleman fresh off the corner

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    So, how loud is it?

    (that thing is badass)
  5. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

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    Nice! Project cars are fun. :) Have fun with that thing.

    BTW those off-road tires look like BFG mud terrains,....
  6. mattdev

    mattdev liberal crybaby

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    Go to Idaho and take it on the "dunes"!
  7. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

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    Wow that thing is sweet! I bet it sounds pretty wicked too. :)

    Any pics of the underside or floorpans? Just wondering about rust.
  8. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

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    [​IMG]

    Do I spy coil-overs?
  9. mistawiskas

    mistawiskas kik n a and takin names

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    So sweereeeeeeet! i always wanted a baja bug. That is a fine modded VW. The perfect fiddycar!
  10. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

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    I was actually presently surprised at how "quiet" it is. Everyone talks about how loud the stinger pipe is, and I'm sure some are loud, but it isn't bad really. This bug still has the heater system, and it looks like it has one of the baffle things in the pipe which I'm sure contribute to lowering the noise.

    I meant to take a quick video, but I forgot about it.

    Nope, the the receipt from Discount Tire says "30x9.5R-15/C1 1040 Falken Landair H-T ROWL" but the tires themselves say "WILDCAT EXT - RADIAL LT" So....?

    [​IMG]

    (The biggest tires people tend to put on Bajas is 31")

    Yep, I was just reading about some of the dunes out there in Hot VW Magazine ;)

    The only pictures I've taken of the underside so far are the one I posted, and this one:

    [​IMG]

    I haven't really found any major rust, but to be honest I haven't done a complete inspection yet... What I probably need to do is rip up all the carpet and take a look, then clean it up like you did in your Porsche I'd imagine. She did tell me there is some rust under the battery, but from what I've read probably 90% of the Bugs out there have that issue.

    I present, more details:

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    IRS Rear (found on '69 and beyond).

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    And the front end.
  11. Commissar Smersh

    Commissar Smersh 2020 Staff Member

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    Do you know what engine is in it?
  12. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Wow that engine is low. Seems like a good deal!

    [​IMG]

    Looks really nice.

    Check along the window frame, inside the door jams, along the rockers (lower part of the doors) and the floor pans under carpet. It could be really nice if they never drove it in snow. That car's going to be a lot of fun up there.
  13. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

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    A stock 1600 as far as I know.
  14. Commissar Smersh

    Commissar Smersh 2020 Staff Member

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    Hrm, I'm hoping thats on the list of upgrades.
  15. braaains

    braaains gubble gubble

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    Thats pretty bad ass.
  16. hans5849

    hans5849 Serious as a heart attack

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    You were half way here, you should have come to the dunes in Moses Lake.
  17. Torx

    Torx Indigenous Nudist

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    very nice dude. although you shoulda left the antenna on for that vintage look :p
    i see the person used speaker box carpeting for the interior. :D

    that will definately keep you busy for a while.
  18. 86mcss

    86mcss Devouring your Soul

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    thats awesome!

    any performance upgrades? any comfort upgrades planned?
  19. smirnoff

    smirnoff Curmudgeon

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    What a riot that thing must be to ride around in.

    I hope you take that skull off the back window though. :thumbsdown: :p
  20. MSP

    MSP Haunting a dead forum...

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    You're a few years ahead of my, I plan on picking up one of these to take to cruise-ins eventually. I could give two shits about the muscle cars, and have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Bugs. We had several growing up, one of which we turned in a rail buggy.
  21. fornik8her

    fornik8her Junior Member

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    Congrats......... looks like a good find. Check out thesamba.com Good site for helpful info and usually good deals on parts. I've been there a few times looking for info on my wife's 78 super beetle.
  22. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

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    Keep the skull sticker!!!

    In fact add some pirate flags to it (you need those anyway on some offroad trails to let the pedestrians/moto guys know you're coming around corners).

    :D

    Also, might wanna check your local laws on the mudflaps. I think they were there for a reason. ;)
  23. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

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    I just measured, the rear skid-plate is 12" off the ground, and there is maybe a 1" gap between the plate and the engine compoants. I may give it a 3" lift at some point, but not sure.

    I still haven't had time to really look it over, or pull up the carpet, but I can't find a single rust spot/hole larger than a dime yet. I'd love to start pulling it apart, I just don't have time right now :(

    Somewhere down the line, there is A LOT to do before more power becomes the top item, especially since engines are probably the most expensive part. It scoots around pretty dang well for like 36hp though :p

    First I need to inspect, repair, and upgrade, then I can take it out and break it ;)

    I just don't like too much crap hanging around, especially things I"m not using. I maintain a sort of minimalist style on most things. I will probably add a light bar on top or a rack with lights on it, for that classic buggy look though.

    My first priority is cleaning and sealing up the cabin. I need to replace window/door seals, the seats kind of suck and I want to add better ones, with 4-point belts for dune jumping ( ;) ) maybe a dome light, redo some of the carpeting, fix rear defroster, put a stereo in, so many things!

    As for performance, it is not the top priority right now because there are so many other areas to address, but it is certainly there. I could use some advice on what I can do that is not too expensive, and doesn't involve swapping the engine yet.

    Oh yah, it's a blast to drive, puts a smile on my face every time I get in. And I get a lot of looks, that's for sure.

    Nah, it's staying. While I generally hate stickers on my cars, and never put any on, for some reason this one is just too fitting. If nothing else, it is a tribute to the 50-year old punk-rock lady I bought it from who is going through cancer treatment right now ;)

    Well I'll be glad to give you some tips when I finally learn what the hell I'm doing :p And I'm totally with you on muscle cars. I guess I just don't need 300hp to compensate for my lack of manliness ;)

    That is actually the forum I've been reading, and where I've been posting pictures of the bugs I've been looking at for the input of people who actually know something about Bajas. It's defiantly been a great help so far.

    Pfft. pirates are totally played out man ;) But I will need a buggy-whip when I hit the dunes.

    (holy crap, that was a lot of quote/responses)
  24. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

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    Off-Road n00b. :) You'll figure it out.
  25. Torx

    Torx Indigenous Nudist

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    pirate4x4