6th blog – date: April 3rd, 2018
About two weeks ago we ended the hibernation of our 1967 VW Bus and rolled her out of the garage. For the last seven days we used the mild weather to work on our old Splitbus.
At first we removed the bumpers. Then we bought some colour removers and sandpaper. In the next few weeks we are planning to do the metal work and so we wanted to know more about the outer sill on the left side. As we already knew, the sills and rockers on old VW buses are very often parts that have a loft of rust and have to be replaced. Our bus has never been welded but from old pictures we knew about many different layers of primer and paint. On the front doors we already discovered filler or some other kind of bondo – but the sill still was looking good except some areas where little bubbles came through the paint.
Thats why we decided to start grinding down the upper layer of paint and take a closer look at the rocker. At first we used an electric grinding tool to remove the newst, rough layer of paint. The more we removed, the finer sandpaper we used – very carful of course. We have been quite impressed about the result as the lowest 20 to 30 centimeters were free of grey paint again and the original, 50 year old sea blue paint came to the surface again. The sill looked very solid and so it was clear that we didn’t have to order any replacement metal sheets for it.
We already assumed that the original paint still was underneath but now it was clear. Since driving back from the Netherlands (as we bought the bus), we discussed about bringing the original paint back. One reason was because we always liked the colour, the other reason is because we are fans of a slight patina and the „used look“. For us a 50 year old car does not have to look like new, it is fine if its visual appearance tells a story and you can see that it has lived.
But the decision has never been easy for us – since you never know what you can expect underneath the paint of a 50 year old vehicle. Additionally our bus was known as „Cloud-Bus“ during its time in USA, because of the many different spots of primer and other colour marks. So we were very unsure, but the result on the sill convinced us and we decided to continue grinding on the hatch door…
Afterwards we took on the driver door as well as the co-drivers door. We already knew that the lower ~ 15 centimeters have to be replaced. Thats why we already ordered some funky green replacement metal sheets. Such as the outer skins for those doors, or the floor for the drivers cabin and the passenger area. Of course we want to keep as much original pieces of metal of Eve as possible, but some areas need attention so we can make our bus roadworthy here in Austria.
Within a short amount of time we also managed to make the majority of the driver side sea blue again. With tedious manual work we removed lots of grey paint and the deeper we went, the more carefuller we were. As we already knew that we would produce a lot of dust, we covered the ventilation slits with an old newspaper. Soon we realised, that the paint has lots of scratches – we suspect that they have been made with purpose so the later paint had a better grip. But all in all, we still like the uncovered sea blue original paint!
Later on we decided to spare our backs, knees and especially our hands. So we looked for other work than grinding and started to remove all the seats. Both of the front seats and also the back seats were out very quickly as they were not fixed with any screws. Then we remoived the deluxe trim on the outside, with the red rubber-insert. And last but not least we dismantled the head lights, indicators as well as the antenna and the rear lights.
During the following days we will pay attention to the rear end and the right side of the bus. Can’t wait to see more of this beautiful sea blue colour! When we will finish sanding, we will put the windows out and replace the old and dry rubber seals from California.
That’s it so far with our update. Let’s just hope that there will be no bad surprises and that we will go on with the same speed! Sometimes we just manage to do small steps every day but finally we are doing something!!