1959 Euro Panel


Back in 2004, while working out in the garage one weekend, one of the new neighbors stopped by and introduced himself. As it turned out Matt was a serious car guy, his weekness, Mopar. Specifically, a mid 60's Barracuda. As we got to talking, he mentioned that he was from Texas and one of his best friends back there had a couple of those old "vans" like the ones he had seen in our garage. At the time I didn't really pay this comment a lot of attention as my thought was "Texas ... what could be in all the way out there that could warrant me making a trip to ... Texas." I tried asking some specifics as to year, model, split window, big tail lights or small round, that sort of thing, but not being a VW guy he didn't have a clue. For all I knew at this point, they could have been bays or Vanagons. As time went on, we talked a couple more times about his friends bus, but it wasn't until he mentioned the "little doors" and no windows down the sides ... What little doors? He described some small little flap doors right behind the drivers and passenger doors. This conversation was far more interesting then any of the previous about the bus. Not until now did I nonchalantly say "Have your buddy send me a couple of pictures when he gets a chance." Within a couple of days I was inendated with all the pictures below. After seeing them, my supisions about the little doors were confirmed. Semiphores!!! and with the style of bumpers, this was confirmed in my mind as a 1959 European panel. Trying not to sound to excited, I contacted Matt to ask how much his friend wanted for the bus. In my mind I had a limit of what I was willing to pay, taking into consideration the travel cost of bringing or shipping it home. To my surprise Matt came back with a deal better than I could have expected. 4 tires, a battery, and an exhaust for his other bus. To make the deal even easier, Matt offered to drive his truck, and tow the bus home, if I payed for gas. So we could drive straight through, we picked up my Dad in Arizona and were off to Texas. The drive was a complete blur, because I slept through most of it. :-) We stayed with a family friend of Matt's and didn't get to see the bus until the next day. I was so excited I could barely contain my self. Even though Matt's friend Bob had assured me it was towable on its own wheels and we had planned on towing it that way, when we tried to push it around the yard, the rear end wasn't happy. After some inspection, it appeared that the owner before Bob had installed a piece meal tranny that didn't even have all the necessary bearings to roll properly. We spent the rest of the first day attempting to track down the needed parts. That night as we sat around the dinner table, the reality of this trip not working out as planned started to worry all of us. The next day after going to the last possible parts place, Matt came up with a solution. Come to find out, Matt had been contimplating buying a full size car trailer. With our dilema, and Matt already having the idea of needing a trailer, he decided it was time. Problem overcome, Matt bought the trailer. Bus rolled on the trailer. Drove to Phoenix, dropped off Dad. Drove home. Boy did I score!!! Thanks again for everything Matt and Dad.
As time has gone on, that trailer has come in handy. Borrowed it once to pick up our new desert Baja and blew a tire on the way. Borrowed it again to bring home our '60 Double cab. Borrowed it again to pick up Shelly's '58 Nash Metropolitan. I think we have brought more cars home on Matt's trailer than he has. Matt's a good neighbor and at least four of our cars, are his fault. Thanks Matt. I do however, have to take credit for Matt's 66 Baracuda as I found it next door to my In-Laws place. Isn't the old saying, He who dies with the most toys wins? Matt ... I am in the lead.
These were the pictures that I recieved.

The battery tray is rusted through and the front floors are rusted out. I'll know about the windshield sills when I cut out the old rubber.

The major problems are the rusted front floors, and I'm assuming bad front window sills. A strange problem
This is how I want to roll it? I love the Patina look and while it isn't the original color, I love the rub through and rust marks. My plan is to dump it and roll it as you see below. I'll have to talk to some of the rat rod guys as to how they stop the rust from progressing further

(Above: Yeah that's the front wheel copied and put in place for the rear wheel just to see what it will look like.)

Current work and plans

When we brought it home, we really didn't have a chance to get out and play with the new toy, so it got parked and covered. Now we are having a tranny built for it, and I'm building an engine for it, so a good cleaning was in order. Another issue that had yet to be resolved was the passenger door was jammed shut and the handles just flapped around. Eventually got that worked out and turned my attention to cleaning it up. Grabbed some polishes and waxes and took a shot at cleaning up the dash, which still has a large amount of original paint. I was plesantly surprised some reflections and shine in the paint resulted. This led me to taking a crack at the outside paint. Tried all the polishes and waxes in my arsenol, with mediocre results. The red and rusty color really had very little to do with paint, but underneath was the OG paint. Not in the best shape mind you, but it was the original and upon closer inspection, there were quite a few dents, but nothing filled. It seems, somewhere in its life, it was painted red which is now mostly oxidized off. The rusty color seemed to rub off fairly easily but still takes quite a bit of elbow grease to get off. That night I started some research on how to prevent the rust from spreading, while keeping the look it had. I found a forum on The Samba with the subject of Patina and a group of people with the same idea I was contemplating. They had some great ideas on products to use to remove the red paint and rust stains. The next day I came home with my supplys of CLR Laquer thinner, easy off, some new polishes, and compounds. So far CLR is the miracle product that has made cleaning up the rusty color such a breeze. The rust had stained the original paint, but the CLR took it right off. The remninants of the red paint took a spray of Easy off, waiting 5 to 10 seconds and then a little scrubbing with a scotch bright pad. At this point it doesn't even resemble the same bus.
This is what I'm going for currently. I'll add some rust spots as I work on the cleaning it up and get some pictures of my work. The roof is covered in surface rust, so I'll have to reshoot it at some point, thus the gray roof. Already have the rack, but need to refinish it. (Summer 2007)

Possible future plans

I have worked up a few options using BusSelecta.com and Macromedia Fireworks. I really like the blacked out with the red SingleWheel.com option.

Tetanus - the Patina Panel

Wax Options
Zymol - Expensive but hardly removes any og paint
Remove red paint option
CLR and scouring pad - removes rust and rust colored paint
Oven cleaner -
Cleaning Rubber mats and tires - Westley's Bleech-White and a scrub brush
Protect Rubber mats and tires - coat both sides with another product called Clear Guard

Click Images to enlarge!!!!