Posted on 07/12/2006 at 23:43

My first visit to Küby...

I was thinking about buying a 181 (you englih people call it a "Thing", right?) for a while... Without really looking for one, but the idea of a 5 seats convertible, to cruise during the summer, going to my job with the wind in my hair, the windshield being folded down on the front hood, was very seductive to me!

I finally found Küby on eBay, a few dozen of kilometer away from home. March 18th 2004, I go in le Var with my friend Laurent...

The Thing is being sold by a vintage cars enthusiast, but Küby is a bit... "Neither done nor to be done".

It's in primer, but not painted ; the engine runs, but not smoothly... I could drive it, but the brakes and tires are dead for a long time...
Unfortunately, and I'll discover it much later, some body parts have been "repaired" using fiberglass...
Obviously, there's no top... The top chassis is there, but it's a bit bent... Plus the front rail is over-rusted! That's an usual problem on Things, humidity accumulates inside this cavity, and here is the result 30 years later :
The interior is not complete, and looks like a "patchwork"... I'll have to look for a lot of parts...
Well, OK. Obviously, Küby is not in a very good shape! icone smiley wink
But anyway, I don't want to do a full restoration on it, nor a Best of Show, but just a good cleaning, to have a funny convertible for next summer...

So, this is not the best deal ever, (1800 euros for the base), but I take the Thing... I gotta expect lots of work to do! icone smiley laugh
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Posted on 09/12/2006 at 13:40

Küby : getting it back on the road

So, priority #1 is to put the beast back on the road...

Which will finally take way longer than I expected! Between my job, lack of money, lack of time, and those bloody fucking brakes that I can't bleed correctly... The whole thing took one year!

So, Fixing the brakes... Wheel cylinders, master cylinder, flexibles : everything's new. At least, it will brake!

Click the pictures to see full size...

Tires : I wanted to get an "off road" look, so needed large tires with big studs...
Finally, I decided to use 195x15 Colway C-Trax MT (reference given by PJ Macua,'s webmaster ). Rather cheap, quite good quality, and perfect look!
For those who are interested, I bought these tires from BONNOT 2000 (BP 2, 183 Rue Raymond Poincaré, 88290 Saulxures s/ Moselotte - (+33) 329.266.161) : they're very serious, shipped and received within 48 hours at a very good price, plus a very friendly contact. Good addresses are so rare, let's share them!

Click the pictures to see full size...

A nice ground clearance, hum?? icone smiley wink

Well, of course, like in every restoration, I had a few "bad surprises"... Here, the floor pans have been eaten by rust, everything being skillfully hidden with fiberglass. However I had verified carefully... Well, this is not that serious, I can fix it...

Click to see full size...

After having lost a lot of time on the brakes, giving a new youth to the ignition system, remade a large part of the electric wiring...
April 2005, Küby finally goes through its security check, my car registration document looses the "non driving vehicle" mention, and I can go for my very first cruising! Isn't it ugly with this color... Er... What the hell is this color?? "Cow"? icone smiley laugh

Click to see the pictures full size...

Phew! I'm more than happy to finally drive Küby now! If you have a closer look at the third pic, you'll see that this is a place that I particularly appreciate (see my IFA and Porsche pages)...

OK, so, finally it drives... Now let's make it more presentable! icone smiley wink
911 Carrera 3.2 3L2 Porsche 1986 dark blue
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Posted on 14/12/2006 at 22:40

DIY paint job

Still trying to get a new toy for a reasonable price, it was out of the question to ask a professional body shop for Küby's paint job. So it's only homemade stuff, full D.I.Y., thanks to a few friends help...

However, I had a time dead-line : everything had to be done within a weekend, not to disturb the activities of my friend who let me do it at his work place... So, everything will be done on 15 and 16th may 2005!

We built kind of a paint cabinet, just to get rid of dust... Well, this is the easy par, let's first prepare the body! icone smiley wink
Here we are, the openings have been painted... The "only" thing left is the body to get its coats of green sauce!
OK, its finally painted! Last, but not least, we still have to put back everything together! And let's do it as fastly as possible, looks like a storm is coming...
I'd like to give a gigantic "thanks" to Fred, Aurel', Xav'Yeah and Alex for the great help!

Obviously, in such conditions, the paint doesn't look like a show car one... Far from that. But trust me, it's not too bad either! And within a 600 euros budget, it was difficult to do much better... Even though, thinking about it...icone smiley wink

I used industrial type paint (usually used for trucks). It's a little bit less shiny as normal car paint, and there's way less colors available. Actually, I must admit the final color of Küby is pretty far from what I originally expected... But I like it anyway.
However, this industrial paint is much cheaper, and way more resistant than normal car paint. And as I still want to keep this toy low budget... That's perfect to me!

Floor pans, after an vigorous cleaning with metallic brushes, is brushed with two coats of black Hammerite (Hammerite is an anti-rust paint, containing glass micro-spheres, and looks like a gel : it isolates the metal from the air's oxygen, therefore preventing rust...)... The result is even better than I expected!

OK, finally Küby looks presentable... It still needs a top, clean seats, and let's go cruisin'! icone smiley laugh
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Posted on 21/12/2006 at 00:31

A top for Küby...

July 2005, Küby is pretty clean, but it still has no top to protect our heads from the rainy days... So I have to take care of its convertible top, and its top chassis as a starter - which is in a rather bad shape...

I nought the top on eBay US. A brand new high quality top, for a little bit more than 260 euros, it's merely impossible to find in old Europe...

The front rail, rusted to the bones, is replaced by a NOS one, brand new in its VW package, found for 150 euros on eBay Germany. You can always find the parts you need... It's just a matter of patience!
Now that I'm protected from rain, I still need a clean interior to match... Between Doumé (thanks dude!) who gave me an almost complete interior, and seat covers found on eBay Germany (encore), I finally manage to replace the old, crappy, black interior with a Khaki Green version in pretty good shape...
Here we are!
Küby is, at least, ready for looooooooong cruisings... Below is a picture taken at Menton's annual meeting in August 2005. It's been a long way since the first visit to Küby...

As planned, this is not a show car... But this is the ultimate cruising machine when you live on the French Riviera like I do! icone smiley wink

I originally planned to keep it 1 or 2 seasons... But finally, I got attached to it, it's so funny to use... Nobody would touch it, you can park it anywhere, drive it with the windshield down... I even use it to carry large object, as the two rear backrests fold down providing a large platform... So useful to me!

You guessed it folks... It would be pretty difficult for me to sell my Küby! icone smiley wink
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Posted on 22/12/2006 at 00:31

Küby Westy : the Westfalia Thing!

I had this idea while reading the "dormir dans son 181" (how to sleep in your thing) article (you need to register to read the article) written by PJ, the webmaster of Excellent idea, I must say!

I only doubled the system to get a fully "Westaliazed" Thing, perfect to sleep at the Menton annual meeting!
Here it is! icone smiley wink
Hey, time is passing by, I'm getting too old to sleep directly on the floor! icone smiley laugh
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