Custom VW Bus Restoration

See what’s new on this custom VW bus restoration at Airkooled Kustoms. This 1961 VW Double Cab is our client Ron’s second full restoration project with the shop. He and his wife are also the proud owners of Bumble Bee, a gorgeous ride that was featured in a recent Aircooled Classics magazine.

In this video, you get the scoop on what’s been done so far – and a hint of where it’s going next. RDC (Ron’s Double Cab) made it through blast with and then Rough Metal – and next up will be Finished Metal.

How Does a Custom VW Bus Restoration Project Start?

Blast is the first process a VW restoration project goes through here at the shop. We disassemble the Dub, tagging and bagging all the pieces and parts and making note of issues, missing parts, and areas that will require special attention. In Blast, the vehicle is pelted with sand to remove the paint. The process also removes areas so infected with rust that they can’t stand up to the sand. Sometimes, there’s not a whole lot left of the vehicle afterward – but RDC was pretty sturdy.

After Blast comes Rough Metal. During Rough Metal, it’s all about the panels. It’s really an art form to be able to see what’s missing and then fabricate it out of sheet metal to re-form a perfectly structurally sound body. There’s welding, grinding, and a lot of sparks, banging, and sweat. It’s in Rough Metal that the parts that didn’t survive Blast are replaced. Some shops might just shoot it all with Bondo and call it a day, but we don’t even say the ‘B’ word here.

What’s Next in the VW Restoration Process?

RDC has made it through Rough Metal. So next up will be Finished Metal. The tools at this point are primarily the hammer and dolly… and the forearms of steel a metal worker is known for having (do not ever challenge a metal guy to arm wrestle… it will not go well for you).

Airkooled Kustoms does Finished Metal a bit differently from how most shops do. We use an old school technique of heating and cooling body panels to get the steel’s structure to realign in the way it was meant to go. If that sounds strange, just try to get a verbal explanation of the process! Essentially, the metal has a certain structure it *wants* to go back into – and with heating, cooling, and a whole lot of hammer-driven persuasion, it does. That’s what makes for a sound structure.

How Long Does a VW Restoration Take?

How long will this small part of the restoration take? A good thirty hours to start. We’ll see how it goes from there, but like everything in a custom VW bus restoration project, there’s a whole lot of real estate to cover. Even though the Double Cab doesn’t have a top like a bus, there’s a lot of metal to work.

Like this video? Be sure to like it and share it. You can check out more about the RDC 1961 Double Cab custom VW bus restoration project by visiting this page.

 

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