Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Bing and the Duck

Among my possessions is a 1971 Volkswagon van that I started to rustproof about 7 years ago. (It didn't seem that long, now that I think about it). I brought it down to Mexico in 2003 and hired a guy to sand and prime the vehicle while I worked on SV Bliss in the San Carlos dry storage workyard. My stateside address at that time was on the northern California coast, and the spindrift was eating up the car. It belonged to the 1st Mate for years, and when we parted company she gave it to me (bless her heart).

When the 1st Mate and I moved to Mexico (Christmas 2005) this car was placed in storage in California. We retrieved it, and the rest of our belongings in the spring of 2007. It then moved out to the Flash workyard where it sat until this year.

I decided to sell the VW Westfalia and finish up the Bing... I wanted to drive this car south instead of the Westy. So, I started sanding, removing rot, painting primer, etc until I fell off the ladder and injured my ribs. Up until this time, we called the car "The Gray Van" because it had been covered in gray primer. Before I fell, I had the local paint store mix up a gallon of deep red paint, which reminded me of bing cherries, hence the new name.

I contacted my good friend Earl, and he introduced me to a body shop owner in Guaymas who had taken the name, "El Pato." (It is customary here, in this region of Mexico at least, for auto painters to adopt the name of some creature. "El Pollo, El Pato and El Raton" are working locally. Certainly there are more). El Pato looked over the van and gave me a price of 7700 pesos, which I rejected as too high. I told him I wouldn't pay more than 5000, but I could provide all the materials. He agreed to the price and gave me a list of materials, in addition to the paint I had brought with me. The paint store in San Carlos charged me less than 300 pesos for the remaining stuff and I took it out to the Duck. The Duck looked over the dings on the Westy and priced it at 2500 pesos. Pretty good, I thought. So the plan is to drive the Westy to pick up the Bing this afternoon and leave the Westy with El Pato, then take the Bing to get a new windshield and bring it home. The Bing will be my new daily driver.

Recently I purchased some stuff for this car: Two gray captain's chairs from a Westy owner on the east coast of the US, two louvered windows from a guy in PA, 4 yards each of light and dark gray naugahyde, an in-dash cd/dvd/ipod player, an external oil cooler, an aftermarket cruise control, a 2000 watt inverter and two heavy duty golf cart batteries, and rain gutter clips to build a custom roof rack. From our old RV I salvaged some aluminum awning parts to build an awning off the roof rack I have planned. I also salvaged a 300 watt car amplifier, a 7 inch flip down video screen and a backup camera. I'd like to take the fancy wheels off the Westy for this car, but will probably just get new wheels and tires when I sell the Westy.

I will bring a 4x8 sheet of plywood and saw horses to the house and set up the industrial walking-foot sewing machine to do the interior panels in two-tone gray naugahyde. There's some great instructional videos on youtube for auto upholstery.

I'll be chronicling my progress here.


Chrissy y Keith said...

ooo, I cannot wait to see the progress. You know that we have a soft spot for VW Vans Westies included. We will be down you way at the end of the month.

MxSailor said...

Yay! I'll be leaving around the 1st for Barra de Navidad, so please don't be late!