Saturday, December 31, 2005

Inaugural Post

If my luck and dedication manage to hold out for longer than usual, this space will soon show the progression of a 1969 Volkswagen Fastback from internal-combustion-powered rustbucket to sleek battery-electric runabout. There's some more info and a (high-traffic) mailing list at for Volkswagen Type 3 enthusiasts. I need to find a good article on the history of these cars, as the following is from memory: The original Beetle was designated the Type 1, with the Transporter/Bus being designated the Type 2. In the 1960's, Volkswagen introduced a larger car called the 1500, available as a notchback sedan (actually a coupe in modern terminology, since it only had 2 doors). The notchback was never imported to the 'states, but a few made it to Canada and can be found in the US as gray market vehicles. The so-called Variant (Squareback) was a 2-door wagon introduced at the same time. The engines were upgraded to 1.6 liters and the car was re-named the 1600. Later the TL (Fastback) was introduced, which looks a bit like the overweight cousin of a Porsche 911. The Type 3 was replaced in the early seventies by the short-lived Type 4, which was in turn replaced by the water-cooled VW Rabbit. The car has two trunks, with the engine mounted in vintage VW style under the floor of the rear trunk. The block is identical to that of the Type 1 and early Type 2s, but has its cooling fan mounted on the end of the crankshaft, rather than above it as in the aforementioned models. In 1968, the so-called independent rear suspension (a trailing-arm setup) replaced the old swing-arm suspension in models fitted with an automatic transmission, and the manual transmission version was introduced in 1969. By this time the electrical system had also made the move from 6V to 12V, but the car retained the "small taillight" look of the early vehicles (replaced by larger taillights and restyled fenders/hoods in 1970). The car actually came with a primitive speed-density-type electronic fuel injection system (Bosch D-Jetronic for those keeping score at home), decades ahead of nearly every other manufacturer. At this point the body is nearly completely stripped, and has just been restored an painted by Spray King in Lynnwood, Washington. I've towed it up to my shop, and am getting ready to start the process of putting it all back together, this time with a large DC motor supplied by a pack of twelve Optima Yellow-Top batteries. In the mean time I need to sort out the process of taking and uploading pictures to this blog so you can see what I'm working on as it (or shortly after it) happens.