So the deeper I get into Murbella the more I realize that in fact previous owners made changes that are difficult for me to reconcile with wanting to make her has much of a stock survivor as possible.
Now sure, I made some minor cosmetic changes such as going to black plastic on her convertible hinge covers as well as going to black visors. For me, they just visually work better than the white on a car with a black interior and black top. And of course, I kept all the original parts I removed that will remain with her if I should ever hand her over to a new care taker.
And yes, I needed to make some key decisions and went with polyurethane bushings instead of OEM rubber style ones. This choice was mostly determined by my need to be able to install them myself without the need for a hydraulic press and I’m fine with that as it is something that be returned to OEM if necessary.
And I was not responsible for putting in that more modern radio or painting the design on her dash. I’d gladly go back to stock on both and hide Bluetooth/line input under the dash or elsewhere to make her appear totally stock.
Other than those things she’s an hour away from going back to stock with certain parts.
But as I got deeper into the engine inspection, the fact that I never noticed that her thermostat bracket and the thermostat itself are missing really kind of upset me.
Now I know so many people have ripped all of this off of their Beetles but to me, the car is only original once. And maintaining that originality as much as possible, or being able to easily revert to it, is key to my owning a car like this.
With these parts missing, I now know that the engine was indeed removed from the car at one time. Probably to replace the clutch. But I have to assume that with the thermostat removed, the flaps also are all missing. And that’s what upsets me.
Let’s say they are indeed all missing when I finally get the engine out. I need to then really consider if I should acquire replacements and if so, the method.
I have the 74’s originals disassembled in a bin and could Dremel and sand paper restore those and install them, needing only to purchase the different FI thermostat itself.
I also have a set I removed from a fan shroud I got last year but they are in really bad shape. I could take them and have them media blasted and then paint them. It’ll only cost about $20 for miscellaneous hardware and springs, then another $12t for an FI thermostat, and maybe another $25 or so for the bracket and the vertical connector. Maybe $180 total there and $50 to media blasted.
Or, do I just invest in a fully restored complete powder coated version for about $150 and then the $125 for the FI thermostat.
Honestly, given the additional cost of media blasting the old rust set, I may as well just buy a complete restored and coated set and install those.
I’m already investing so much in this engine to maintain the stock OEM status, going so far as to restore her entire original exhaust and heat exchangers as well as all the work that will happen on the engine tins.
I know ultimately I’ll feel happier I invested this in the car now and from a certain perspective, it will add value to her and keep those one-off parts solid for decades to come.
Oh. What to do. What to do.