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If Ed can make the basic alloy tonneau the fitment would be up to the car owner. I got mine from Fibersteel in 2015 and had to buy and install the fittings, two tenax buttons to fit my Becks pins, two connections at the side curtains and the rear fire wall connection. The challenge was drilling the two tenax holes in the tonneau perfectly to match the Beck pins and being sure to align the right side and rear attachment points.

I think it would be super cool if Ed could make a few for others.


Word on the web is that the Harbor Freight $100 (cheaper with coupon) planishing hammer is a very good tool. Apparently they stopped selling them about five years ago.

Nobody thinks their English Wheel is good for much. . . .

I may invest in their shrinker/stretcher and might just get a throatless shear from Eastwood or Woodward in the coming months, as the .050 alloy is just a little too much to cut with the snips (which anyway leave an edge that requires finishing attention.

Assuming (big word) I'm able to finish off this first half tonneau so that it looks like somebody cared, what do you all think might be a fair price for the part? I'd send them out bare with the rear pins made and located but not riveted in (to facilitate fitment); buyers would need to source their own front Tenax buttons according to what they wanted or had already on their dash.

Apparently there's a European supplier that gets about $1,000 US for the part.

I think I could  beat that.

Ed, there's some metal working tools that show up locally on Craigslist or FB marketplace from time to time, but they're in demand so you have to jump on them.  One of my high school friends, Hot Rod Randy, managed to buy all of the metal working tools from our old HS shop for peanuts when the town built a new HS and deleted the shop courses in favor of those kids going to a regional Vocational Arts school.   They weren't fancy, but they were quality tools.  I used his metal shear when I was making the plenum for my heater.  Come to think of it, I wonder what my old shop teacher, Mr. Malkesian, would think of what I've done on my car.  

Wray Schelin offers both DIY build documentation and kits of three different size English wheels and his are RUGGED.  I would love one but have no room to put it, but there are two in town that I can use if I ever start making curvy things (it would probably take me longer to learn how to use it than to make the part).

BTW, three of Wray's early English wheels, as he was developing his design, used rollers that came from the production line at Norton Abrasives in Worcester when a section was phased out.  That's the Norton/Bear sandpaper company.  Lots of good stuff was sold off for scrap prices over the years from Norton and a bunch of other factories in the area.  Keep your eyes peeled for local auction notifications.

@edsnova, I have some experience with HF sheet metal tools, or as I like to call them, "kits".  A lot of their products get you 75% there, but you need to finish up the last 25% on your own.  

English Wheel, very flexible, needs to be stiffened up.  I welded a box frame around mine, made a new top wheel mount so I can put the wheel on 90 degrees from normal, added a bolt to tighten the fit on the lower wheel raising mechanism.  Works real well now.  Wray makes a kit to help out these Wheels.


Shrinker/Stretcher.  Not bad, tune up the jaws, but difficult to operate.  They need foot pedal operation.  I built the stand with the foot pedals, much more useful now.  I also build a deep shrinker using a set of HF jaws I found on eBay.  Lets me reach in much further.


Next up, the Shear.  Terrible fit and finish.  Totally disassembled, bead blasted back to bare castings. A bunch of time with a hand file to get the gears to mesh nicely. Honed the blades.  It cuts amazingly well for what it is!  It took them 3 tries to get the blade retention screw correct, see holes in the picture.  LolIMG_1175IMG_1176

Lastly for now, the planishing hammer.  I looked at the HF, I thought it was so bad I decide to build from scratch.  The zip gun used on the HF unit is weak.  Grizzly had a model that used what looked like a needle scaler on it.  I bought a needle scaler, removed the needles and got a top die from Grizzly.  I built the frame about 50% bigger than HF, and made the mount changeable.  I added a foot pedal, got lower dies from Grizzly, and for good measure added an auto oiler.



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Last edited by LI-Rick

I just had a great idea.

Once this Covid BS is over and we can get out to the Lime Rock Vintage races again, I can easily set up a Pro-Shapers shop tour at Wray's shop.  Lime Rock Park is maybe a 2 hour ride from Wray's place so I would put a day aside for a shop tour.  Maybe if there are vintage races coming up at Thompson, Stafford Springs or Palmer race tracks, those are all within 30 minutes of Wray's shop and more easily managed.  I'll keep this in mind as things open up in 2021.  I organized a couple of tech sessions there for the New England 356 club and he can easily handle shop tours of 20 people or less and I'm sure I could get a few Hot Rodders from the area to join us - All it cost me was a smoked turkey sandwich for Wray for lunch from BT's Smokehouse down the street.

Of course, his Youtube videos can't be beat and show lots of his shop and projects, too.  

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

I totally understand the reticence in committing to anything next year.  

Personally, depending on the roll-out schedule for the vaccines and whether or not the general public continues or increases social safety actions, I don’t expect to be doing anything out in public until after the Summer, but that’s me.

I’ll keep watching things develop and see what we can all safely do.  I’m looking forward to getting back to Lime Rock some day.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Put a couple hours in the tonneau project. This is going to work.

I dinged up the front of the piece after folding over the front lip and trying to smooth the underside. Here's magic marker looking for the high spots for the shrinking disc.


The disk did knock them down. It also ground some material off (not good!), so I'll be working this area with sandpaper later. I checked the fit to see how it's go if I had 1.5-inch pins jutting out the back.  Needed a trim on the outside front corner.


Since I had the cutoff wheel spinning I decided to correct my front fold-over. I thought the long doubled edge would strengthen the part, but it just causes problems.


Pulled up the upholstery to check the depth and width of the overhang on the rear bulkhead where the pin receivers will have to go. It's only like an inch down.


—that means the pins go about 5/8 below the top of the tonneau. I drilled the tonneau skirt and then marked the steel triangle things. I'll weld 5/16 bolts I cut the threads off of to these, and then rivet them to the skirt later.


Again, from, an original(?):


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Still fettling. I put the pin receivers in the bulkhead and set about straightening the pins out so everything is parallel.


Smoothing the edges and the underside, trying to get dial the gaps in.



Ran into a problem with the German Tenax (nka Loxx) fasteners: After putting the tonneau on and taking it off about a dozen times, they stopped locking.

I thought maybe they were set too high, so I dimpled their mounting pads a little; no joy.

Finally I took a look down their throats: IMG_7101IMG_7102

Both were all jumbled up inside; the spring loaded jaw-like grabber bits all akimbo. I actually bought a spare. Looks like:


Friends, I've never heard of these failing like this. Any insight or advice welcomed.


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OK so I got the two best Tenax's to work. They need to be perfectly (and I mean perfectly) centered. I don't love how they work in this application. Getting them to release with this windscreen in place is going to require a lever tool, which I will now make. If I had the little solo windshield or the Speedster one on it there'd be room for fingers to work.

Now it's down to sanding out the little rough bits and prepping for paint. When it's painted I'll run a strip of soft foam across the underside of the leading edge to keep if from bothering the paint on the dashboard.


As compared to

I think it came out pretty good, but it's a little high on the rear inside corner and I don't love the gap in the rear outside radius

IMG_7113IMG_7107 I altered the buck to make the next one fit better.



IMG_7133Having a steel edge to work against here should help. A shrinking die will help more.

I'll probably buy another sheet of 5051 and hammer another one or two out.

If anyone wants one let me know. With the measurement from the leading edge of the rear firewall to the front middle tonneau fastener I could lengthen these to work with the existing fasteners on any Beck or Vintage Spyder. The one I made is shorter than most because of the low plexi windshield I used, and that length would also work on any of these cars, but would require the addition of front fasteners on top of the dash.


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Looks great @edsnova.
In reference to the Tenax at the windscreen, I feel for you. Mine are the same exact way. My installer placed them quite close to the windscreen. But, I’m lucky in that my tonneau is canvas. I just simply unhook the rear tenax fasteners to take the stress off the front ones and the front ones pop easily.

I think of it as my security system. Who in their right mind would go through all that trouble to remove the darn tonneau. That said, they’d probably get upset and just cut it. Or rip it off.

Corrected a dumbass mistake I made with the O2 sensor bung. I don't know what I was thinking, putting it at 6 O'clock where the Sensor's wire side would end up 2 inches off the hot pavement. Maybe I envisioned a dyno-only scenario?

Of course, moving the bung meant I also had to relocate the rear hanger ears.


Anyway, now at 10-11 we be able to get on with the jetting and setting.


A little high-heat paint touch-up and it's ready to go back on. (Yeah, I just left the old bung in place. Think of it as a skid plate).


What else? Glad you asked! I also dug out some 1/4-inch steel plate and made a tow loop.



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Here's the blog post detailing all the hassles. It really wasn't that bad; I only screamed and wanted to punch a wall one time. The whole operation— from measuring wires and crimping ends to the end of the test drive—was about six hours, including the dreaded driver chase. The only tricky part so far was getting the adaptor cables to talk to the computer. Once that happened it all seemed to work smoothly.

I did drive the car a few miles on the stock spark tables. It already seems better.

Next thing is I'll reset the rev limiter to like 3500 RPM just to test it.

Then its on to making a custom ignition curve for this particular motor. Hopefully that will be fun.

@edsnova posted:

Then its on to making a custom ignition curve for this particular motor. Hopefully that will be fun.

Start with mechanical only-- you can worry about trying to figure out the load part of it once you get that dialed in. I'm not sure that with a big cam the vacuum port does much of anything, since the same box can be used for NA or boosted applications (vacuum doesn't change much on the screen when tuning in real-time).

What I REALLY like about it is that initial advance can be wherever you want it, and total advance is an independent function. I put as much advance in as quickly as possible until I got detonation, then backed it out til I didn't. It really, really picks up the transition when you aren't relying on weights and springs.

Once you get what you like (and it'll be pretty quick), save the map and start playing with the load. You can put more timing into the transition if you can sense load in that range and back it out to where you had it set (prior to worrying about load).

For $200, you'll never do better.

Neatened up the wire looms, tested the rev limiter (good) and started adjusting the spark table.


Took the car for a ride the other day to stress test it and listen for pinging, and heard none, but the brake pedal was going too deep so I rolled home.

Got a chance finally today to bleed the brakes: fair amount of air came out the passenger rear, and that brought up the pedal pretty well. No leaks detected anywhere though so I'm looking around for where the air got in.

I did spot a possible drop on that front sender switch so I tightened it an eighth turn. IMG_7349

Thinking the brake bias adjuster might be the culprit. We got the bubbles after my assistant turned the knob on that thing.


I plumbed it in years ago just because it came with the other parts I got. Was a bit of a thing too, since the threads in its ports don't match what VW Bug brake lines come with. I had to flare on the new connections myself, and was right surprised when they worked without dripping.

Still no sign of a drip from the device, or either of the connections.

I'll be a bit miffed if the part itself turns out to be NG. Though that would be pretty on-brand for this build.


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Ran the car to the unofficial cars & coffee Saturday AM. It ran well, although I will have to bleed the brakes again as it's still just a little bit spongy. Once parked (with the VWs but right next to a pretty sweet 911 Targa), the result was as usual.


It was somewhere between getting mobbed and working a receiving line. I could hardly wander away to see the other cars. Met a guy who told me he had dinner once at a Rennfest Reunion or some such with the man who owns the ex-Jean Behra 550 (probably 0067 but he didn't say and I couldn't remember), another French Blue car.

I told him I'd actually toyed with the idea of making a copy of the sticker someone affixed to that car's fan shroud.

On the way home I hit a hilly part of Rt 7 and lugged her in 4th. Thought I heard just a little pinging around 2200 RPM.

So today after the rain I fired up the laptop, fired up the engine and cut 2 degrees off the 2300 cells on the right three columns. Also tested the MAP sensor in the Black Box by sucking on a bit of vacuum tubing I attached to the inlet port on it. It works.

Took a drive with the computer.


(Put it in the passenger seat).

Tried lugging it on the hills. No rattly sounds. Did two full-stop, full throttle takeoffs, and, gentlemen, I think we got this.

Next up: wideband.


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I hate to be a Debbie Downer here, but I'll share this.  

We haven't used the Carter fuel pump in many years, so things may have changed, BUT we had a 100% failure rate with Carter pumps within the first few years in service.  This included a few private labeled carter pumps (CB brand internally regulated was carter at this time).  Anyway, every single one of them eventually lost its ability to regulate pressure and defaults to roughly 9lbs.  When this happens everything works OK at partial to full throttle, but at idle the cars drown and sitting still they flood completely and die...  Not a big deal if you catch it early, but as you all probably know, a flood carb and a backfire can mean a call to the fire department and that ain't good....

Interesting. I bought a Carter in 2016 and recently just removed it from the Spyder when going to EFI. It has been flawless.

What year were your Carter pumps, Carey? I do remember people having problems with the CB(Carter) pumps crapping out, but that was usually from clamping them too tightly. I'm guessing late 2000s?

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