What compels a man with no automotive experience to buy a borderline-lost-cause project car? How could someone in their right mind put cash into such a clunker? Is it the internet fame and popularity boost? Is it the fortune gained upon reselling a restored classic? Or perhaps the wisdom gained makes the whole experience worthwhile?
Nay, my companions. One does not thrust themself at such a lofty task because of logic or reason, nor do they do it out of emotion or love. The reason is the challenge.
Everest was not conquered because of careful calculations nor a deep love of hiking, but because of man's natural instinct to overcome obstacles, even if those obstacles never had to be conquered. While logic and passion may play a part in these expeditions, nobody ever had to reach the peak.
It was never about discovering what was at the top. It was about whether or not one could even make it there.
A test to see just how far one could go...
Here is my Fargo. A 1972 Volkswagen Squareback with... problems... but by slowly solving each one, I'll step closer and closer towards an invisible finish line. I'll find out just how much automotive knowledge I'll gain by the end of this ordeal. And maybe I'll walk away from this with a running car (either that, or a flaming pile of money figuratively and potentially literally).
Thoughts both here and on the VW forum The Samba have been mixed, but none of those thoughts matter now, as I've already sunk work into the car and it's now in my garage. Too late now.
The story begins with the seller, who claims Fargo was in running condition and only needed a fuel pump... This was the Squareback he was going to keep, since the FI system (supposedly) works. But if the fuel pump was the only thing wrong with it, I see no reason he couldn't have fixed that in a day... I know this because I ended up replacing the front end of the fuel system in a day.
I sourced the original pump with relative ease, and only decided to go with a different one because 1.) it made the fuel system even simpler (a 2 port pump replacing a 3 port pump, so fewer fuel lines), and 2.) it was easier to get ahold of in a shorter amount of time...
But after doing that and turning key (for longer than I should've, I'll admit), Fargo didn't start. Now, I probably should've clued into the problem earlier, as it was a fairly simple explanation that I noticed, but considering it was 11pm and I'd been wrenching all day, I'll cut myself a little slack for not noticing.
I replaced the braided fuel lines and original pump/filter at the front, but I didn't touch the lines connecting to the injectors. This led to gas spilling out, leaving little to none for the injectors to inject.
So now, the first task is taking this crusty engine out of this crusty car and doing a thorough pick n' pull of all the systems. I like the idea of keeping the fuel injection in, even if carbs are easier to work on, but the system would still get an overhaul. A thorough cleaning, new lines, and possibly new electrics considering I'm still not certain it's getting spark (I should've insisted we test it when @Snuze brought his spark plug tester... also, shout out to Snuze for even coming in the first place).
So the ignition system may very well be shot, but what else does this thing need... well, here's the running list of known problems:
- The front half of the floor pans are shot (though the rears are actually okay).
- The brakes are broken
- The accelerator pedal is there physically, but not mentally (as in, there's no cable/pedal feel)
- The gas tank will need to be cleaned up
- Tires are tired
- There's a hose on the air filter that goes... somewhere? It's intended location is still a mystery.
- The passenger's side mirror broke somehow between when I first saw the car and when I loaded it onto the trailer.
- The driver's side blinker housing is broken
- The driver's side taillight housing is broken
- Dents everywhere
- The cassette player doesn't play cassettes (this was a real bummer, but at least the radio works)
- The interior is in shambles and everything needs to be cleaned.
- Many spiders)
But other than those problem areas (and the many more problem areas to come), I'm already in love with how ridiculously simple this car is. I needed to take the spare tire out of the front (as seen below). Turns out the holder is held on by a single 10mm bolt... just one. Take that as you will in terms of securing a spare tire, but to me that's just fine.
Very very very very dar down the line, I plan on turning this space into a cassette storage center, with rows and rows of them on display.... though, before I start collecting tapes, I should probably get the cassette player working...
Also, in case you're curious, Fargo is up on stands because those front tires slowly lose air... figured I'd rather have it somewhere sturdy (the good news is that all the important bits of the frame and bumper are super secure, so I have no worries about lifting this car up whatsoever!)
In other news, Fargo is a secret wizard!
Well, not really, but at some point, somebody went to Bryn Mawr College located in Pennsylvania!
I think the Squareback would've been right at home there... also I love that rear end...
So this marks the start of a very interesting adventure, one that I can already see becoming a problem. I find myself losing track of time in my garage, and I know that this Sunday I'll be spending the day tinkering and maybe even attempting to pull the engine. After all, this project car isn't gonna start itself!
Though, I did already start adding performance upgrades...
That's gotta be good for at least a few crabpower, right?
Here's to something really stupid, but really fun