Ultimate VW Build-Off 2015

We caught up with Crazy Uncle Floyd recently - here's what he says about his work on our 1959 VW Beetle Ragtop, Miss Mabel.

I’m having a great time at work. Just about everything I do at work is fun, but some things are better than others. The shop is competing with a handful of other air-cooled VW shops from around the country to see who builds the best air-cooled VW. The judging will be in Las Vegas this October. Our girl “Mabel” a 1959 ragtop beetle, will be presented at that time. She is a black and red beauty, a “one of a kind,” and as good as it gets.

My contribution will be in the engine compartment. Mabel has a stock 1600 DP that we freshened with new pistons, rings, wrist pins, and cylinders. The magic Mr. Ed, Ed’s foreign car parts, reworked the heads and sent them back to us in better than new condition. All seals, oil pump, and oil cooler were replaced. Her endplay was within spec. so we stopped with this.

When the long block was back together, the engine tin was refitted and adjusted as needed to get a good seal. This is when any questionable pieces can be reworked or replaced, before any paint prep starts. The original VW tin fits and performs much better than aftermarket pieces, so we comb through a lot of trash to find the treasures that will become Mabel.

All pieces we plan to paint, the engine tin, are sent to soda blast. The alternator stand, alternator, and intake manifolds were also prepped for paint. When the parts came back to the shop from blast, Spook grabbed them and retreated to the clean end of the building. The painted engine tin Spook gave me back to work with was beyond anything I had imagined. Shiny black tin with red skulls everywhere, high gloss and lots of it.

All I have to do is fit it all together and not damage the goods. I wrapped tape around my wrenches and screwdrivers to prevent scratches. I put tape any place I would be attaching something. I kept my hands clean. I grabbed handfuls of new shiny fasteners and dove in. This is where the fun is.

I have Mabel’s engine fitted and the rear tin and exhaust on. This is the most impressive engine I have worked on and it is a thing of beauty. Now I will take off the rear tin and exhaust to get this rascal ready to be installed. Wait until you see how this story ends!