So as most of you know the CTR has finally hit the road it made it just 2 days before Swanage.
How it got there is a bit of a tale… It started with Jon Thies posting his old shell on Buggyclub.uk web site as a giveaway in mid 2009. Yes please said I, I’ll give it a good home, well to cut a long story short the shell was brought to the workshop in Watford (thanks Gary), plans started to be made and bits started to be collected to put it all together. Another bit of luck occurred several months later (as I was in no rush) when out of the bloo one of Gary’s mates (Andy) turned up at my home to collect some seats that my wife (Carole ) was selling that had been in the rear of her buggy, told me that he had acquired a new chassis and had an old one to get rid of, it was a full rolling chassis with type 3 lump out the back, complete but been in storage (been in the garden under a bodyshell with a cover over it for the last century) after a very brief conversation I now had said “floorpan” heading over to Watford for restoration and a basis for the CTR body. I also got another floor from Flags just in case things were worse than expected with the other pan, as it turned out things were quite good all round. Emma (juicylucy) ended up with a pan for her build, fantastic. Well with a bit of after hours work and in between re-wiring Caroles buggy and loads of favours and encouragement from of fellow buggiest’s (Chris/Emma, Pete, Gary, Pete, (got a lot of encouragement from Pete), the guys at work), and using some slave labour (some of the kids where I work were keen to help), things started to happen quite quickly. Floorpan stripped, shortened (thanks Craig), beam cleaned, loads of parts got off the forum and Gary, filling a four shelf cupboard getting ready for the big assembly. A 1500 gearbox was sourced, cleaned and painted ready for fitting. Dropped spindles, disc brakes, braided hoses, from flags came info about the electric fuel pump that he use’s which I really liked a “Pierberg”, very quiet and reliable, lots of research and found one on Fleebay £20 (bargain). Steering wheel (Fleebay), LED lights (fleebay), wheels were the best bargain ever (thanks Gary) fleebay). Headlights were from a company in Essex that makes 2 seater F1 lookalikee road legal cars (Furore Cars), rear lights came from my local “Alfa Romeo” dealer as the guy who runs the spares is a VW nut restoring loads of veedubs with his brother (thanks Rob). Birthday arrived and mother-in-law gave me some money for the Speedo that I wanted to buy from?… you guessed “fleebay”. The stack of parts was getting bigger and the date and time was getting rapidly closer, time to start assembly.
The body had been upside down for the past 4 months being sorted as the bolt down areas had been a bit bashed and needed a bit of strengthening, also I needed to do a bit on the tank support at the front end and around the spring plate cover areas as they were a bit close to the body when the shell was offered to the floorpan, reinforced and painted it was looking great so lets get it the right way up and start building.
Body to floor went really well and the ideas started to come together. 1302/3 steering column so we had to shorten the piece between the 2 knuckles, dash board had to be re-faced as there were loads of holes from previous dials, gauges and switches, some funky idea that I saw fitted to Ashes buggy was the fuse box fitted to a lowering panel under the dash had me talking to him and a while later he turned up at home with some of the panel material so that I could get on with it. During most of this time my colleague at work Stef had been there egging me on and at times basically kicking my arse to get on or even on some of the bits that I wasn’t confident in, doing them
During Volksworld 2011 Flags, Ollie, Chad and a whole crew had come together to build Karen’s (Flag’s wife’s) Doon at the show over the weekend, well inspiration and encouragement during the show and the fact that if they could put a buggy together in a weekend what the heck is my problem as I had most of the parts to do the job.
I decided that come shit or bust Swanage was gonna be my deadline.
Body on, line up, mark out, body off, fit up steering, wire up, realign, mark up, re-make stuff, refit, this needs to look neat, that’s not in the right place, need to make new fitting, redo this, reshape that, refit, unfit, have a fit, to big, to small, to long, to short, get on with it.
Body on, wheels on, wiring working after several false starts, lights looking good, brakes great, offer up roll hoops, need to make mountings, ok, 3 days later satisfactory positioned, seatbelt and seat mountings sorted as well, great, coming on leaps and bounds now. One late evening at the project five days before Swanage, three of us having been banging, thumping, cutting, grinding, drilling, bolting, gluing and screwing for the past 5 or 6 days it was decided it was time to put the battery in and turn the key. Whirrr whiiirrrrr whiiirrr whiiiirrrrr and several more whirs later still no fire up, check petrol, check spark all ok mmmmm? Give it another go as this was the running engine that came out of the RAT so should be good, some more whirring and BANG purring like a kitten, WTF, don’t know but go with it, check for leaks, oil pressure good, alt charging, no, looks like its pulsing like a rev counter, check connections (ask on the forum), aha, swap things around sorted, in the twilight of the evening we turn the lights on and under its own power, back it out of the work shop and onto the deserted playground. Controls good, brakes work, clutch ok, out in the open this really looks the dog’s danglies, my two co-builders Stef and grime pig (Greg Pimm an ex-student) look on in awe, a few quick blasts around the playground show up a few issues with clearance of bodywork around the headlight area but nothing that I think would stop an MOT pass which had already been booked for the Wed before Swanage and its now Mon eve. Tow’ed it home as its not got insurance or MOT yet, give it a final check and arrange ins over the phone on Tues, job done, now got a chance to do its first drive on the road to the MOT station, very wobbly check tyre pressures but not fully unexpected as the tyres are very wide, well not much I’m gonna do about it cos were on the way to the MOT station now. Hi Dave (MOT tester) this is it, been talking about it for quite a while, now so here it is. Ok say’s Dave bring it in on the ramp, beep, screen wash and wipe ok, indicators left ok, right ok no hang on, you cant have those indicators and side lights in your mirrors like that! Why not? They got to be different colours says “Dave” nooo say’s “I” on new cars they got em the same colour so I’m havin em, more funny noises from Dave but he say’s ok. Right then lets see these lights, Mains ok, dip errr no, that’s not right, there’s no flip up on the pavement side, the patterns all wrong. They’re ok say’s me, they have a definite cut off across the headlight they are projector headlights but they use a H4 bulb with a positive mechanical mechanism that operates the dip side of things, no its not right the way the beam spreads the focus is all wrong says he, well get the flipping VOSA manual out and we’ll have a look. Out comes the book at the appropriate page for UK spec light units, Ah! but these are what is called “British/American” fitment, (turns over page), Oh, erm ok, I see, right then there ok. Up in the air on the ramp it goes and Dave shouts up “ well what the F*%k do you want me to do down here then”? Wot you on about? Say’s I. Well its all new down here, oh for crying out loud get it orf the ramp and let me get on with a proper bloody MOT will you. Sorted. Yahoo, all legal with one day to go to the drive down to Swanage. A pop over to Tony’s (Twister)to borrow his grinder as all my tools are at work and I need to sort out the bit of rubbing on the headlight area on the tyre. Sorted for now but gonna have to do something later with the fit. Driving back from Tony’s we come to an un planned stop, oops, don’t know why, have a bit of a fiddle cant find the reason but after about 15mins it starts up and we carry on ok. Next day we’re off to Swanage, car packed Carole in her daily driver we get about a mile down the road and stop, start, stop, start, stop. Bo%^&x , Gary help! Well Gary arrives and rescues me by towing the CTR down to Swanage as we all know there is going to be the best collection of experts on vw’s around. Next day we have a little poke and a prod cant find anything untoward and things seem to be running ok again. Phew looks like its gonna be ok for the Carnival procession as we took it out for a half hour drive on Sunday morning with Chris sat beside me, Peter and Mark (Fester) following me with passengers at the ready to push just in case, but hey they weren’t needed, all seemed well. True to form (luck) all went well during the procession and that evening I made a dash for home with Gary and his crew heading up the motorway at the same time just for company really not as breakdown cover for a change. To date I have also been down to Southsea for Beachbuggin and done a bit of local runnin around so put about 300mls on the clock since the MOT. Issues that have occurred have been that the petrol tank leaked when nearly full, sorted now, the offside spring plate was one spline out, now adjusted. Driving it has been a real experience coming from the long wheel base to this short wheel base, with the wide wheels and low tyre pressures it can only be compared to trying to drive a buggy with space hoppers for tyres, definitely not boring but after adjusting tyre pressures and the gaz dampers things are improving all the time. Time and money permitting the interior will get some attention, the handling will be improved, a spray job will happen, but for now the smiles are just getting bigger.
So to those that have helped me get this far I thank you for your encouragement and inspiration, for your help and assistance, for being on the end of the phone when I found myself totally confused, for drinking my crappy tea and eating the biscuit’s, and most of all for just being enthusiasts and very very very nice people.