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Photos of ten days further into the Beetle pick up conversation. The aluminum bed, brackets and gussets are now assembled on the car, tailgate is fitted, started to fit the fiberglass quarters today. Mark Smyth the designer really made this work with only one support bracket needing to be tweaked.  Looking at where on the build, I'm I thinking I'll have to tack another week onto the's a different kind of build and for doing this the first time the related " Smyth Performance Beetle " You Tube assembly videos are a solid reassurance.



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Last edited by Alan Merklin
IaM-Ray posted:

Looks very nice how are you finding the build process so far?  Measure 5 times cut once  

I reply on watching the build videos,  I can run them back as needed to confirm what I am doing and check the next step as a back up before I do the prior step. Only head scratching issue was how to get the gas door assembly off the fender ( it gets reused) One  screw , remove the cap and give it a good hard yank)  Every aluminum panel and brace hole is precise they are a small 1/16th pierce made by the CNC laser cutting system, all I had to do is open them up to 3 /16 or 5/16". 

Every part was cut perfect and fit exactly. The important area to check during assembly is the tailgate vertical gap measurement. I am adding two aluminum 1" x 1"x 14"  angles at the fender to tailgate area to give it additional strength with Panel Bond.  The assembly videos show Panel Bond and countersunk rivets which get skim coated.   I know better as over time, rivets tend to sink a hair and in the right light you can barely see the slight divots. I'll bond and temp screw all the FG panels in place then when cured I'll remove the screws, taper the screw holes and fill them in. FYI, 3M Panel Bond is stronger than the actual sheet metal and FG it is designed to hold together .

Beetle pick up build:  There are no written assembly instructions just the You Tube videos, I tend to be my own worst time line enemy when building. I look two steps ahead mock that up when possible seeing how it will come into play with what I'm doing now. All fiberglass panels get Riv-Nuts w/ tapered stainless bolts and some hidden rivets. So there's no room for error so I preassembled using self tap hex head screws. That idea worked showing a couple of problems that would have happened the screws show the exact pilot holes for the Riv Nuts. Tomorrow I'll Panel Bond the fender quarters, cab surround and tailgate.



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Last edited by Alan Merklin
WOLFGANG posted:

Great article in

Waiting to see one at Carlisle (or a fleet of them).  Lots of opportunity for customization - 3rd brake light/bed light, bigger LED taillights, maple wood bed rails, cargo cover and, maybe, rear nerf bars!

Some now have the stainless bed strips and wood, others have used old school station type taillights.   My build has the extruded aluminum bed, flush round LED taillights   it's in primer and being painted resale red tomorrow with photos soon.

Terry Nuckels posted:

Hey @Alan Merklin, what do you think the bugup will go for?

There have been a few hundred of the Beetle truck kits sold since May  with about a dozen that I so far, know of being completed. The one that I I know  was sold  but seller ( he just bought three more kits) sold it to a friend,  I don't know what he got for it. The one I have in in VG condition and hopefully will sell for around $15k.

I happened upon a 1959 “low-light” Ghia for sale here in Central California.  It had been sitting in a garage for 15 or so years after a mid-level restoration in the early 80’s.  It sold for $21,000 and had to be towed away; to Colorado I’m told!

But I digress; while there I caught a flash of a black new Beetle pick up conversion.  I didn’t get more than a glance but it sure looked cool!

I’ve been following this thread and I’m looking forward to the finished project!

I decided to keep it the factory red because the jambs are where the fiberglass fender tabs are Panel Bonded  to.   Smyth Performance makes these kits for Beetle, Audi, Charger & Jetta. The beetle requires a lot of cutting compared to the other cars, when I got to the rear fender area it was like carving turkey layer after layer referring to the video instructions and asking myself..." Is this right " ?  I will wait to go get it in PA for a few days in a row that we haven't had snow so that the roads will be clear of sand, salt and cinders.


Stan wrote : As a business model for guys like you-- I suspect there's more money in these trucks than in Speedsters.  ….  No one knows for sure what the value is on a completed Beetle truck conversion. One was sold to a the Florida builder seller's friend so that really isn't accurate market indicator.  I'm sorta the first in the market when I list it in two weeks.  

Last edited by Alan Merklin
barncobob posted:

make a nice grocery getter,,a  bit feminine for me,not that its bad but ive never seen a male driving a VW(newer)maybe Vinnie in the SLO show years ago, it was pink I believe..

Not for me either, there has been a lot of attention after paint on it.  When Smyth Performance, the kit Mfg had a spot on a NE Fox 5 TV station, Smyth's phone rang for days with ppl wanting to know where to buy one that was done so there is hope ~)

Last edited by Alan Merklin

There is a guy in Florida that has built one Jetta based truck and two Beetles come to find out they sold quickly and he just bought another three more beetle kits.  I'm in Florida Friday for couple of weeks or R & R we are going to look him up and share beers and talk Beetle builds. 

With nly odds and ends tocomplete, I ran into the passenger side seat belt locking up ( not reusable) so I or'd a used one off eBay. That &%#! one too was locked up too and won't extend. Frustrating as I couldn't put any of the interior panels back in place yesterday. So when in doubt go to You Tube found a Dude's that was somewhat out there. The belt roller is sealed unit there is a non accessible hidden steel ball that once it moves into a detent from lateral force, it stays there.  He shows how to levitate the round steel ball with a magnet to get it to unravel so last night at 11:30 I get inspired .....Ta Da it works! Thanks to the You Tube Space Cadet that showed me how to do it. 

DannyP posted:

Looks great, Alan. Yes, the tailgate drops, Bob. Zoom in to the photo above and see the cut lines.

Yes, the tailgate  folds down and is secured in place with two Ford Ranger cables, the cup style hinges are from Chevy so  the gate is removable too.  When I finish it in the next day or so I'll post detailed photos.

The one thing that needs attention in the future is that the spare tire remains in the original position in a OEM recessed floor tub ( for weight) which is now under the removable extruded aluminum floor boards. It would take a few minutes to remove the screws to access it. If I do another one I'll cut out the tub and turn it over and weld it back in with a pick up truck spare tire winch in place to get to the tire from under the chassis




Last edited by Alan Merklin

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