My dream EV project is underway


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What started as idle speculation about a dream EV is hopefully going to become reality.

Although I don’t have a spare 2CV handy, my son is passionate about restoring classic air-cooled VWs. He has completed two Beetle restorations and was most of the way through restoring a 1964 RHD VW Karmann Ghia when he got a job in Sweden with Volvo cars.

He has now given me permission to complete the restoration with an electric powertrain!

The car was in dreadful condition when he bought it and was completely dismantled. The floor pan has been repaired where previously the road could be seen. The front axle has been shortened to enable the car to be lowered. The braking system was completely replaced and the bodywork patiently restored to show room condition.

The good news is that he had not got around to restoring the engine, so it makes an ideal candidate for converting to electric power.

I am very much looking forward to attending the Fully Charged Live show at Silverstone next weekend as a guest of Pure Planet. It promises to be a fascinating event and suppliers of EV components suitable for classic car restorations will be attending.

I hope to have the car on the road early next year and will update this post with my progress.

32 replies

Userlevel 7
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Fascinating project Lenny
I'm envious, if only I was nearer...
Was the axle shortening to allow the wheels to clear the body with shorter springs? Why does it need to sit lower?
Lenny;30274:
What started as idle speculation about a dream EV is hopefully going to become reality.

Although I don’t have a spare 2CV handy, my son is passionate about restoring classic air-cooled VWs. He has completed two Beetle restorations and was most of the way through restoring a 1964 RHD VW Karmann Ghia when he got a job in Sweden with Volvo cars.

He has now given me permission to complete the restoration with an electric powertrain!

The car was in dreadful condition when he bought it and was completely dismantled. The floor pan has been repaired where previously the road could be seen. The front axle has been shortened to enable the car to be lowered. The braking system was completely replaced and the bodywork patiently restored to show room condition.

The good news is that he had not got around to restoring the engine, so it makes an ideal candidate for converting to electric power.

I am very much looking forward to attending the Fully Charged Live show at Silverstone next weekend as a guest of Pure Planet. It promises to be a fascinating event and suppliers of EV components suitable for classic car restorations will be attending.

I hope to have the car on the road early next year and will update this post with my progress.
Userlevel 7
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Can feel your excitement and enthusiasm Lenny 👍👍👍. Really pleased you won the ticket 🎟️to the Fully Charged live show too, as it’s something you’re soooo passionate about 👏👏👏👏👏
Userlevel 7
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It sounds like a really interesting project Lenny, as a retired vehicle technician, I would love a project like this, but sadly I have neither the funds or facilities to do so. Keep us informed on progress
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woz;30278:
Fascinating project Lenny
I'm envious, if only I was nearer...
Was the axle shortening to allow the wheels to clear the body with shorter springs? Why does it need to sit lower?



You are correct, simply lowering the vehicle would result in the tyres contacting the front wings. Tom likes the lowered look and did the same thing with one of his Beetles. I wasn't sure myself, but having driven the lowered Beetle the handling is superb - it feels as if it is driving on rails.
This looks fantastic @Lenny
Would be great to see a few pics too if you've got some!

I wish I had the patience to take this kind of project on board. Oh, and the knowledge too 😂
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So this is how it looked on delivery.
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Not much better on the other side...
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Tom quickly got stuck in!
Userlevel 7
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Garage could do with a tidy...
Lenny;30326:
Tom quickly got stuck in!
Userlevel 7
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woz;30327:
Garage could do with a tidy...


Why did that make me larf soooooooo much, OMG Wozeeta 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂!

Its not even messy Lenny!

Remember my post the other day re Nats biscuits? Indeed!
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woz;30327:
Garage could do with a tidy...



Ah, but he was just a teenager when the project started...
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Now identify the rusty bits
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Next cut them out
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Finally weld in new section
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This is why it's called a "Whole body off restoration". Pretty much every nut, bot and screw is removed so that the floor pan and bodywork can be separated and fully restored
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And then part way through we retired and had to move 2 beetles, a 1964 Split Screen Pickup, a Fiat 600, a 1971 VW Bay Campervan and the Karmann Ghia from Herefordshire to Cornwall, with only 2 of them drivable. We did four 480 mile Herefordshire to Cornwall round trips in 5 days using our T5 as the tow vehicle
Userlevel 7
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Lenny I have to ask this very stupid question, for which I apologise, because I'm sure I've missed the obvious, if you weld the repair to the outside of the panel, how does it become continuously smooth afterwards, as there is a lip/step or is it welded on the back side and filled?
Lenny;30346:
Finally weld in new section
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woz;30360:
Lenny I have to ask this very stupid question, for which I apologise, because I'm sure I've missed the obvious, if you weld the repair to the outside of the panel, how does it become continuously smooth afterwards, as there is a lip/step or is it welded on the back side and filled?



No such thing as a stupid question in my book @woz, so definitely no apologies needed. In fact I'll have to ask Tom because I don't know how he did it either! I'll message him and get back to you.

For the record, I still don't know how @Bev gets her emojis in-line - when I tried it came out at the beginning of the text!

In the meantime I'm off to tidy the garage and post a photo so I can pretend it's always like that...

:-)
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woz;30360:
Lenny I have to ask this very stupid question, for which I apologise, because I'm sure I've missed the obvious, if you weld the repair to the outside of the panel, how does it become continuously smooth afterwards, as there is a lip/step or is it welded on the back side and filled?


As I said, not at all stupid as I had to ask myself, so here beginneth the welding lesson from Tom. The diagramme below shows the various types of welding join. Tom uses butt welds for body panels so they can be ground smooth. It's best if you can reach the other side and repeat. Then you can grind down excess weld on both sides and shape further with hammer and dolly. However, this is often not possible due to access problems. Finally filler and a lot of patience is required!
Userlevel 7
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ha - You'll never be able to find anything again if you tidy it!!!
Emojis should place where the cursor is, sometimes it throws a formatting wobbly, there is a remove format button second in from lhs, highlight section and remove formatting may help (or not...)
Lenny;30364:
No such thing as a stupid question in my book @woz, so definitely no apologies needed. In fact I'll have to ask Tom because I don't know how he did it either! I'll message him and get back to you.

For the record, I still don't know how @Bev gets her emojis in-line - when I tried it came out at the beginning of the text!

In the meantime I'm off to tidy the garage and post a photo so I can pretend it's always like that...

:-)
Userlevel 7
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hmmm, I wondered about that, it looked like the replacement piece overlapped which is why I asked. I can only assume that the excess is cut out with the welding torch?
I've never done welding, (have done lots of soldering though) it's one of a list of jobs where I'd probably kill myself inadvertently, like chainsawing and riding a motorcycle (not at the same time...mind you that sounds like the germ of an idea...)
Lenny;30365:
As I said, not at all stupid as I had to ask myself, so here beginneth the welding lesson from Tom. The diagramme below shows the various types of welding join. Tom uses butt welds for body panels so they can be ground smooth. It's best if you can reach the other side and repeat. Then you can grind down excess weld on both sides and shape further with hammer and dolly. However, this is often not possible due to access problems. Finally filler and a lot of patience is required!
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And here's one of me trying to take credit for all Tom's hard work. I am SO proud of his skill, ingenuity, patience and perseverance!
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Look - no engine - (yet)!
Userlevel 7
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Fascinating project Lenny.

Being steel (& filler) it'll be a pretty heavy EV vehicle. What are the plans re. batteries and powertrain donor car? Tesla or Leaf?
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I had the opportunity to meet a company that converts classic cars at the recent Fully Charged Live show. I had a look at their web site before attending and it appeared the major components needed (electric motor, controller, wiring loom, dashboard gauge and ex-Tesla batteries) could be had for around £8,000. They also seemed prepared to supply individuals wishing to do their own conversions.

However, when I spoke to them at the show, they were now quoting £25,000 for a complete set of parts for a Karmann Ghia and were reluctant (for understandable safety reasons) to supply to individuals.

This is clearly not a realistic cost, so I will have to put this project on hold until there is greater competition in the classic car conversion market and prices drop considerably.

On the plus side, I did tidy the garage to a state that even @woz would approve!

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