The certificate from the VW Museum finally arrived. And it’s got two major mistakes. According to it, the car was originally “Ebony Black” with a “Sand” top. There is NO way this car was originally black. Well, unless someone stripped it completely bare and had it painted. But seeing as how all the electrical wiring is original, there is no way that happened. A “Sand” top was not available on the Diamond Silver color, so that’s clearly wrong, too.
The build date does not match what I have from the slam plate. Going by that, the car was built on August 26th, 1980. But the museum says October 24, 1980. That’s not a big deal. According to the museum, the car left the factory on November 12, 1980 and came into the US through San Diego.
I did get some good info from it, though. The car was listed as originally having the sport front seats AND the 4-button steering wheel. That makes me happy, as that’s what I want in it eventually. The code R14 that I could not figure out is indeed a radio with cassette player. That’ll be difficult to find. It claims the car had 14″ wheels, but I’m not sure that’s true. If I can find the steel wheels in 14″ versions, then I’ll go ahead and go with that. That might make it easier to find white wall tires. The engine is original, too!
So really, the only thing that I plan to change from original is the color of the car. I really want it to be Cosmos Silver.
I have now upgraded all the exterior lighting (except headlights) to LED. MUCH brighter lights. The turn signals required replacing the relay with one that could handle LED. That was easy. It’s not a huge difference in electric load, but I figure, with the way the VDO gauge behaves, every little bit counts.
As you can see (well, sort of, anyway), there is a noticeable difference between incandescent (left) and LED (right) on the brake lights:
Incandescent v. LED
Next up, I’ve got an order coming from VW Heritage that includes a correct fuel cap (finally) as well as a couple seals.
Some items on the car, I’d like to change ever so slightly from what it is right now. The wheels and interior are the most noticeable. The wheels are clearly not original. My plan is to eventually get originals on there. I would also like to get white sidewall tires for it. I know… not what most people like, but it’s what my first Convertible originally came with.
The interior – right now it’s got bucket seats and they are covered with vinyl. Those seats were options on the car new. But I want to change them to the Sport Seat that was on my old convertible. And some day, I’d like to change the color of the car to Cosmos Silver.
VW has one helpful thing in the trunk. The build sticker. But as a 38 year old car, I was surprised that the sticker was still there. But it’s hard to read. I could only make out some of the numbers on it. Luckily, I also have the original owners manual and service booklet – which also has the build sticker in it. Now I know exactly what it came with. And I’m in luck. This car was built with Sport seats. My changing to Sport seats will actually bring it closer to original. I was thinking of replacing the steering wheel with the 4-button style that was on my original. This one shows a “Sport” steering wheel. Unfortunately, at this point, I do not know if that means it had a 4-button or if the wheel on it now is correct. The wheel is growing on me, so I may keep it as is. Also, the white sidewalls tires… would be correct, too, according to the build sticker!
I’m still waiting for the certificate from Volkswagen. I ordered it about 6 weeks ago. It hopefully will show up any day now.
My first “upgrade” – I rewired the headlights with relays to help with voltage drop (a known issue with the car). As my plans are to do as much of the work myself, this was the first one I did myself. I didn’t take any pictures, unfortunately. But it involved making a wiring loom that included new relays and fuses. I’m pretty happy with my first work – though I did make the wires a bit longer than they needed. The change is noticeable. Before, at night it looked light the lights were barely on. And the voltage gauge would drop considerably when I turned them on. Now, the lighting is much brighter and the voltage drop is next to zero.
At some point, I’ll redo it with shorter wires – and I’m going to replace the sealed beam headlights with replaceable H4 bulbs.
On another lighting note – I replaced several lights with LED – side markers, dome light, and trunk light. The rest of the lights – brakes, turn signals, and reverse lights – will get replaced eventually. But I have to replace the relays for those.
Just a few pics of the undercarriage. As you can see, it’s in relatively good shape – not much rust and only surface rust at that. The shift boot does need to be replaced at some point.
Undercarriage – shift boot
Undercarriage – oil pan and transmission
Undercarriage – oil pan looking to the rear
Undercarriage – floorpans and exhaust
Undercarriage – floorpans and exhaust
Undercarriage – Rear and Spare Wheel Well