What´s behind the magic door?

Dear VW-friends,

do you remember the post “you have to clean the extinct volcanoes”? It was about Mark´s incredible reconstruction of the right side front cab door inner part. If you missed it, please read it now, so you can enjoy this current post better, because here we go for a continuation. After the inner part of the right cab door, we take a look at the outer skin today and you better believe it wasn´t any better than the inner section! As explained in the last post, the right side of the Samba was kind of buried up to the belt line under soil and this certainly destroyed the Samba´s body on the right side much worse than on the left side. But while the left cab door was replaced sometime between 1955 and 1961 by a later one, at least the right cab door is the original ´51 piece.

Following the philosophy of the project, we will replace the missing and non-original parts of the Samba by perfectly restored or even NOS material (which will also be painted shiny as new), but we will keep whatever is left from the 1951 material, based on when the Samba was found back in 2017. So in the end, everybody can see what is the original substance and what has been replaced. So, when the Samba will be completely restored, on the left side you will see an as-new-door, since the original left cab door was simply lost and replaced by a later door. There is no need to save and restore something which isn´t original anyway. But on the right side, you will see another example of Mark Spicer´s simply unbelievable masterpieces, something the automotive world hasn´t seen before.

To understand what Mark is doing here, let´s take a look at the outer door skin or -better- what is left of the outer skin:

Before we drove to Amersfoort in 2018, we fixed just the outer skin on the makeshift frame by a few welding spots to show the existence of some original door fragments to the audience.

This might not look too bad, but let’s take a closer look. Here, the skin lays on the already reconstructed inner part of the door. What a poor piece of rusty metal! Who but Mark would go for such a job now?

No less than FOUR layers of paint on top of the original red sealing wax! The Samba must have had an eventful life in his short time on the street between 1951 and 1961.

Mark called the roof of the Samba which he finished several weeks ago „the most repaired roof in the world“. I wouldn´t be surprised if this here is the most repaired door in the world. Is there anybody out there who can beat this baby? Let me know!

Can you imagine how much work is involved here?

skin fertig
Ready for the paint job, isn´t it?    😉

Now, it´s my turn again to finalize the hinges while Mark is going to finalize the upper frame including the vent window. I am just in process of reproducing all the rubber parts involved with the cab doors. I didn´t know most of them are BD-specific or even piano hinge specific and there doesn´t seem to be anything on the market so far. No big deal, to produce something like this is my daily profession.

Before I let you off into the new week, here are some other interesting photo finds. Beside this one here is another BD-Samba registered in the “British occupation zone Rhineland”. On this fully equipped Bus, we can find these unique Hella fog lights again, about which I wrote in my earlier post “Roofs and Roots”. The more I collect of these early BD-photos, the more I come across these Hella fog lights. They seem to have been an official VW-equipment upon request, if not at least a popular aftermarket accessory. How strange, that you can ́t find them today anywhere at the swapmeets or on the internet. I have to investigate a little more regarding these lights …

This is a ´52 Samba. Loyal readers can explain why: a ´51 would have had a white roof and black wiper arms and blades. A ´53 wouldn´t still have the piano hinged vent wing

Talking about interesting photo finds of ´52 Sambas…. I am always exited when I find pictures stamped on the backside as this:

You know what that means, don´t you? These are official Wolfsburg press release pictures, have a look. Nice material, isn´t it?

Ouups, I just realized an interesting detail! The semaphores of this ´52 are clearly darker painted then the most likely chestnut brown body around. I got to investigate about this matter, cause I am just restoring a pair of semaphores for the Samba….. Does somebody out there have some information about this topic?

While writing this post, I just received some new exiting pictures from Mark! I guess I will have something to do in these upcoming, very quiet Christmas days. OK, next on my agenda is not only restoring this pair of ribbed semaphores that I recentely bought for the Samba, but also writing the next post. At least for the progress of the Samba and the blog readers, this Covid disaster is achieving something good…

Best regards


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