George's Full Custom Beetle
George sent his Beetle to us in 2020 for a full body-off resto and some added custom body mods. He’s owned the Beetle since the 80s and it was formerly a fully dechromed car with a fluorescent yellow paint job and a matching Bernard Newbury interior - it was definitely eye-catching! The initial plan was to redo the metal repairs to modern standards and to paint the car a similar colour, but it ended up turning into one of our biggest builds to date.
Once the body was split from the ‘pan and the shell returned from blasting, it was clear that it was going to need plenty of love. At this point, George also went pretty wild with ideas when it came to the custom modifications he wanted. The car already had concealed door hinges. and full de-guttering - Steve redid much of the original work, including the A-pillar drip rails after he fitted new front quarter panels. A custom dimple-died rear vent panel and shaved crescent vents were some of the other mods.
George went back and forth for a while on whether to run bumpers or not, eventually settling on custom-fit Europa bumpers brought in closer to the body. This involved reshaping the curve of both bumpers to follow the body contours and scratch building tubular bumper mounts to slide into the body and be hidden from view. The dimple-dies were also pulled out again to incorporate the rear lights and front indicators into the bumpers.
As he knew he’d change his mind in terms of the look of the car over time (this one’s a keeper), George had us paint 3 different decklids! He also wanted the dash smoothed out, with the switches relocated to a custom tunnel-mounted pod made from an original oil bath air filter. The original grilles were replicated in sheet steel and the original work done to smooth the dash was redone to modern standards. The seat frames also have custom dimple-died side panels made by Steve.
While Steve was busying himself with the body and many custom mods, Neil busied himself building up the freshly painted floorpan to show standard; the car received a new narrowed beam from EVA Resto and we test-fitted a few different sets of wheels, as George has collected plenty of sets over the years. Having done plenty of work with the dimple-dies at this point, Steve then turned his attention to making custom dimple-died panels for under the rear seat and the under bonnet wiring cover.
The car has been in many guises over the years, including a drag racer with a roll cage and a race-spec 2332cc engine. George had us repair the damage caused by removing the roll cage, but we added Hookys Hi-pac panels to make accessing the 48IDA carbs easier in future. We refitted the 2332 engine and pro-street gearbox, after fully detailing everything; the tinware was powder coated, but then George decided he wanted the fan shroud smoothed, so Steve did this and then this part was painted black gloss to match the powder coated parts.
After doing several spray outs of bright greens, George did a last-minute about turn and went for a very subtle and subdued light grey, choosing to let all the mods speak for themselves. The work wasn’t over yet though, as George wanted so many extra electrical features, such as central locking and electric windows, custom LED lights, etc; we worked closely with Iain Burns at Aircooled Auto Elec, who built a custom wiring loom and came to our workshop to fit it.
Having got the car up to the running and driving level, George took it home to finish the interior himself. The whole team were rightfully proud of the transformation on this one; at one point we had 3 Beetles on rollover jigs at the same time going through full restos, so it took some project managing and careful parts storage to ensure nothing got mixed up!