Sam and Nate picked up this one piece front end for Nate's 1972 Baja Bug. They get it trimmed, sanded, and adjusted to get an almost perfect fit.


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Watch as Sam and Nate install a one peice front end on this 1972 Baja Bug.

Nathan and Sam had been searching since for a one piece since the moment this Baja Bug build was first thought of, as they aren't easy to find used, and expensive when new because of shipping costs. Fortunately, a one piece front end, attached to a 1958-1960 body shell, sitting on top of a full tube chassis popped up on OfferUp, with the price of "best offer". So Sam and Nathan made an offer, amazingly enough the seller accepted it, so here we are. Nate and Sam spend a couple of days mocking up the hood, measuring and trimming the original sheet metal body, then trimming the one piece front end so that it fits as well as it can. Then they bolt on an EMPI Double Tube Front Bumper to finish off the mock up of the front end, for now anyway.

Video Transcript

Oh yeah, that thing looks just absolutely massive.

Nathan, what you got there?

One piece front end. Earlier today, we went and we picked up this one piece for an end from a guy down in Phoenix?

Mesa. We also picked up an entire chassis and a half of a body.

Uh, so here we are. We've got it kind of mocked up. We're going to go through and start trimming the front end of this. Now, I've got some preliminary lines drawn out, but I guess we'll show you how I came up with those lines. We know we have a solid line on the body of the door right here, and I want to keep as much of the trunk as possible, so we'll just take a measurement from at the headlights across the top of the fender up to the front edge, and we're looking at about 38 in. And over here at the bottom of the hood, pretty much the same, 38 in. So we come in with the same, and it's hard to get a straight edge when you're coming off at such a curved angle, but more or less, we've come up with a line that's right at the back edge of this bumper bracket. Now, this car has been hit, front end's been pushed back, so don't take that as a solid point for your car, but that gives us a good reference here, about 38 in from the door jamb forward, and we're not going to worry about cutting this line perfect yet, but we are going to come in the inside on the trunk, get everything and the bottom knocked out. We'll get the front apron pulled off and then we'll trim back to try and get this front end to fit and be kind of sealed up. To kind of keep the trunk, it would be nice to have some storage up here if possible. We’ll see how it goes.

So this line is about 38 in from the back of where the door jamb basically. And then it goes back an inch down across where the spare tire sits in this little groove and then comes back out about an inch and back up, and then hopefully that will make the one-piece front end fit to the rest of the trunk, basically.

All right, but to start, we're just going to get rid of this guy and then pretty much everything below that line right.

There looks a little bit less like a Volkswagen up here. Oh yeah, drop that out.

Well, I guess, you know what the front, see where right.

Oh yeah, huh, boom, perfect. Okay, it's supposed to be up, uh, that looks concerning a bit. What? It doesn't quite go all the way back, doesn't reach, reach, and it doesn't reach.

Learn how to do some we glass in that back edge.

Oh yeah, or just cut the front bit maybe.

No, we're not cutting that. I’ll cut that hood before I cut that. Well, everything in here got me hung up as well. I think I'm going to end up cutting across the bottom, using this as a straight edge line. Got that reinforcement off the bottom of this on the backside, right in there, but up to that, everything else is clear. Yeah, will come in about 3/4 of an inch or so. Well, I thought I was recording, but I didn't, so anyway, I just marked right here and then right here, that's keeping that hood from going all the way back. Get this cut. I've already got that side cut, but because it still has bumper bracket mount in place, a little bit harder to cut with the sawzall, so I'll come with the cut-off wheel and cut that out, then we'll put our front end back on again and see how well she fits now.

Boom, you're not my problems.

Just like the other side, huh.

All right, now let's see how we're doing.

In relative to the back, uh, it needs to be a bit more.

Well, it ain't going no more right now, but get closer.

Yeah, just a touch bit more.

All right, comes a point where, uh.

We're not going to be cutting no more, huh.

Oh, we are now. The problem is the trunk sits inside to a certain point.

Want me to hold it up for you?

That against there, that's good. Um, we should go way off on this side. Pick it up.

Is it touching the door?

Uh, at the top but not on the bottom?

How about this side over here?

A bit worse.

At the top?

Uh, no, it's not touching at the top.

Not touching at the top, ok come here and hold this.

Now the front end just needs to come down. Fender it will stops us from doing that. I'm sure this side's probably doing the same thing. Yeah, so everything from here out holding that hood out. All right, let's uh, see how we can massage a little bit.

Maybe I mean is looking way more in place than before, so that's a plus, huh.

Uh too far, there you go. Uh, at this point, you're just hitting the um actual mounts. Wait, wait back off a little bit. Uh, push the top more, at which point it's basically good.

All right, how's the other side look?

Uh, let's see. Too far, and it's all bent up and stuff, can't really push out, push forward.

All right, so oh, it's hitting right here, so hold on, let me get demarcation, so from here, all right, pull off.

How you like it?

I like it, I love it. Just might want to tape it down a bit more to get it actually fitting. It's not far, not quite far enough back on that side, down the line, it's pretty darn lined up, just a little gap of course.

The hood needs to shift over this way like quarter inch because this one's up above the line, and that's my blood from my cut finger, and that one's way down below the line there.

Oh yeah, not way down, yeah, it's a bit off.

Better I just want to do an aluminum body washer and then a bolt down the center here instead of dzus buttons, just a little bit more modern. Not as quick as a dzus but got power tools.

You have a baja bug buddy.

Yeah, huh.

Even looks big on these uh, stock 165s. Not sitting straight obviously, but we're getting there.

It looks way more like a Baja Bug than it did like last month.

Get an idea what we're doing in there, try and work this edge in right here just a little bit more so that this can possibly might have to come down just a little bit more, try to eliminate that gap. I'd like to, but we'll see, like I said, I want to keep a trunk in here.

I'm going to come in just in front of that fender bolt and for now just cut it straight down because everything right here keeping this front end from really sitting properly. Then from that point there, all the way back, got pretty darn good seat. Anyway, we've got a good seat or good seal almost from here all the way back against the hood, so I'm happy with that. Same thing on this side over here, still have an Nathan view, and again, you see from that fender bolt right there, all the way back, we've got a nice snug fit against the body and uh, allow us to maintain a trunk up here, some of some sort. So I think I'm just going to cut straight down for now, and then the rest of the stuff I'll clean up later.

All right, so I think we're going to call it a night there. We've got a pretty darn good fit all the way across the perfect across the top. No, but we can still massage more once we get this thing in place there. Like I said, I'll go from there down to there, want a bulkhead all the way across here, that way have a fairly sealed trunk.

I think it's looking awesome right now. Yeah, it looks way better than when it looked like that. Oh, come on, it looks super good right there.

Yeah, I mean, I mean it looks better now.

Yeah, it looks better now.

We've got some work to do. Yeah, we've got some trimming to do, we've got some rivets to remove, uh, we've got to trim the top edge. But I mean, would it be easier if we were to just cut out all this sheet metal up front and just completely gut the trunk and run it open? Yeah, it would, but I wanted to keep a trunk of some sort, so I'm doing all I can to do that.

All right, it's been a couple of days, if not, well, it's been more than a week since we actually did work on video on this. I've been doing some messing around and getting things straight since we last did any filming. We pulled off the stock steering wheel, somebody that reached out to the comments wanted the original 1972 stock steering wheel and a hubcap clock. So we actually pulled off that steering wheel and we autographed a hubcap and we turned it into a clock and we sent it out to the guy that wanted the hubcap and the steering wheel, so that's gone. We still have three more hubcaps left if anybody wants a hubcap clock, but in the meantime, we now need to get the steering wheel on. Unfortunately, Kyle was nice enough to donate a whole bunch of random parts and pieces, including a steering wheel and adapter. So well, so we can steer this thing around, not that we're pushing it a whole lot right now, but we need to bolt on a steering wheel. Do you want to clean this up at any all or just?

Should be fine.

Hey, oh, there we go.

Now back to our front end. So over here, what I've done so far is I kind of got well, I noticed that this side down here was considerably shorter than the other side. Since this was our shorter side, I made certain that this side here was as straight as possible. I just took a sanding block with some 180 grit sandpaper and sanded that line as straight as possible to get this side fit well. Once I got this side fit well, I wanted to get a center line so that I could line up the hood left to right. To get this center line, it's kind of hard just kind of to eyeball it, trying to find these body lines off of this. So I just took a square, kind of just laid it in place and kind of just found that happy spot where it sat flat, and I drew a straight edge. I did the same thing on both sides and I got two straight edges. Once I got those two straight edges, made a mark halfway in between them and then I drew a line straight off of that, which gives me our center line for our hood. So now you can see down here how much longer I've got a full thumb on that versus the other side. It has just a small section sticking off that hood. So I made a mark there at the top. I don't want to shorten it anymore, so right now I'm just going to come through and trim this edge.

Well, one more thing I noticed is that this fender doesn't want to sit flush against the body because of how thick it is on this back side here. So I'm also going to sand down some of the fiberglass on this back side so that this sits tighter against the body.

All right, let's see how that looks. How's that gap over there?

All right, push it back. All right, how about over here?

Oh way better, huh.

Yeah, well, it's sitting flat.

Yeah, a bit more on there.

Yeah, we can pull a little bit off that top, try and get it to pull back.

Like everything else down that line is basically even.

That's what I always say, cut only as much as you have to. Yeah, I got a little bit of the gap there. It's not horrible. It needs to go down cuz the top side isn't perfect, and then maybe, I might try and I go just a touch shorter at the top. But now, our body line here at the top of the hood isn't the greatest, but we're getting there. And although I need to go that way just to touch, uh, the bottom of our fenders, that's just about flush with the bottom of the running board channel, and that one needs to come down, obviously. So that's about perfect from left to right. It's not perfectly centered, but we're getting there.

I mean, it looks way better now.

Yeah, more so maybe a little bit right there. Just do a touch more at the top. Actually, going to do some marking first, and then I'll take it outside side and do some trimming, but you guys get the idea. Okay, so if anything, it's coming right like that. We pull some of that off. That will pull that top edge in a little bit and get us a little bit more squared up, and then we might be able to pull, actually, pull some of that in.

Hey, look at that.

How we looking?

Uh, like a glove.

Like a glove. Hold on, hold on.

That is like honestly almost perfect.

Awesome, hold it. Oh man.

Way better, huh.

Oh, that's. I mean, I don't know about perfect, but.

As close to perfect as I think we're going to probably get, huh.

Yeah, that's golden. Now the fun part is this top line.

This is as good as an edge as we are going to get. Let me see how that fender kind of sticks out, but if we were to put a bolt down here, that should tuck it in. You see, kind of just hangs out down there. I don't really like that. So I've got a self-tapping screw, self-tapping screw, self-tapping screw holding this in place. This thing is all but golden. Oh, I didn't even address our tires. We got these from Kyle. These are left over from race cars, uh, probably his 11 car before he got sponsored by Yokohama, I'm guessing. So these are some old BFG 235/75 R15s. How awesome does that look, and it's still a teeny tiny car, big car, but anyway, over here, once we get this body line trimmed and get that thing sitting in place a little bit better, this gap over here, once I ground down this top edge, it fits pretty well against here, not as perfect as the other side, but it's pretty darn close. So right now, I'm going to make a template somehow off the top of this hood that I can lay over the top of this guy, and I'll probably just do it in masking tape and trim it down and then run it long over the top. Well, I don't know. I'll figure out something. I always do. Nathan, do we have some thick construction paper inside?

Oh, the construction paper. I mean, we have construction paper.

How thick is it?

All right, grab me uh, one four. Grab me four more pieces of this.

We have scissors here? I got, got some body scissors from cars. I'm going to tape those down to the cowell.

All right, now that I've got this kind of mocked up, I'm going to take this x-acto knife that some very kind YouTube viewer, I'm assuming, sent me.

Right, so if I can put the hood on under that template, which looks like a can, maybe, and everything here looks good, yep. Let me see if I can make sure to line up my screw hole. Let's put this guy up and place that'll get me a good idea of where I need to trim, and just so this hood doesn't go flying around while I do that, I'm going to have to put a self-tapper in over there, not going to be its final resting place but its current resting place. Now, I've got a good template. I know where my body is in relationship to the hood.

That's good, huh.

I think that's great. Oh see, and here is the hard spot over here. I already have Sharpie down. I'm going to pull this off, sand this edge down so I can put some fresh, uh, or some fresh marker on this corner. I'm going to sand all this down and woo, you can see how far that body line's off right there.

Oh yeah, it's actually a good template, huh.

Yep, you see what I did?

Uh, you, you got the thing, and you pressed on the, the body line, and then you cut it.

Okay, got all that. That's good, that's good. Wow, got a lot of trimming to do, but that's how we transfer that body line onto the hook. This side, just a little bit of shaving, and then right there, I like it. Now, I'm going to be careful in here because this entire area is, is going to shift down. So when I'm cutting and trimming in this area, I definitely want to be cautious, but I'll take that outside, and I'll get that trimmed out.

Looking pretty darn good. I mean, yeah, if you have a gap at the bottom, yes, but it could be locked in there. Here we go. Through there, I'd see we're looking pretty darn good.

Boom, now it should run, huh, for sure.

I don't want to shave much more there, but this point, it's, it's freaking looking pretty darn good, buddy.

Yeah, huh, mean, I'd say that that is like on point. There we go, huh.

Pretty darn close, I’d say.

Yeah, that, that, that body line right there is like perfect, huh. Which is, that side is like about maybe a centimeter down, probably.

Yep, you know what, buddy, I think.

Yeah, I don't know how we can try and do that over there, but if you like that and if you're happy with that over.

Well, I mean, at least go down a bit more.

You want to go down more?

Yeah, and then come back, yeah, yeah, because it's not really matching up with.

Okay, well, if we do a straight line right here, it's going to be very, very prone to cracking, so it's going to come down and then ideally, we'll just do a, we'll drill a, drill a hole right here and right there on that body line. If you're happy with that height-wise, that's like perfect. Grab me that drill.

Grab me my sanding block from over there, buddy. I wonder if I can massage this by hand enough to get this fit, but we're getting there. Here, I'm going to show you guys what I'm doing.

I'm going to have to take a little bit more sauce off that, but all in all, once I chop that out, you know what, might as well hit it with the drill now. Come in with a 3/8 hole and then try and stay above that, up below that.

All right, that will give me my cut. Blow some of this fiberglass dust out of here.

All right, you guys can't even see what I did. Just put an adjustable stop right there. A little bit more, golden. Yeah, perfect, right into there, to that, straighter back there, to that, and then I've got to figure out how to fiberglass that on that side, but I guess we can figure that out later. Yeah, um, this side, a little bit more trimming back, but we'll play with that with the sandpaper. All right, I'm going to take this outside and uh, cut this edge, cut that bottom corner just a shave on the bottom side right there, and then from there, we're pretty darn close. Well, we're almost perfect on the back, and here I'll have to come back and do some fiberglass work and whatnot, uh, more specifically on that side than this side, and then I can uh, work on putting some body bolts in.

Maybe I have this on there. See, we get much better than that, probably the other than perhaps touch.

This right here should be left even when you're driving.

I'm good with that.

All righty, oh yeah, that thing looks just absolutely massive.

We got three bolts in on the other side. That's going to hold it for now. Now we're going to lock up the front bumper. It's going to be our interim bumper, just in case. Well, seeing holds up front of the car. I want to make sure that we're holding up the front of the car.

At the moment, we don't ship these, but we might start doing it again. That one's close. There we go. And that's how the Empi double tube bumper’s done. The reason why so far forward is because they design these for the flip front. Either way, we're going to, we're going to run this for now.

All right, so over here, we've got a nice, good, really tight fit. Our body gap is really good across there. Like I said, the fit across the top body line is pretty darn close, close enough. This is the only major spot where I'm going to have to uh, learn how to fiberglass because I want to glass in a taller lip right here. But this side fender or this uh, this side's really good. I just want to make sure that that comes up level with that body line there. And this hood, for 180 bucks, essentially is installed, and right now, those six little sheet metal screws at the back are all that's holding it in place. So obviously, I need to come in with, with something, either a post off of there or something under the bottom side to hold it in there, and then obviously, we need to come up with a headlight mount. Uh, we'll probably end up putting some turn signals in place here. Um, yeah, from the front of the car, that may not be 100% visible. I've seen some pretty cool lights that actually will maybe mount on the side of a tube, so maybe I'll get some LED lights right here. But yeah, we are uh, looking pretty, pretty darn Baja. That's a uh, that's a monsterish bug. But yeah, that's it for the day. That's it for this video, and we've got ourselves a uh, one step closer to Baja, Baja.

I mean, I mean the front end is basically done now, so.

Pretty much, I mean the back end, well, the body's doneish, we just got to do some suspension up front. We still have to work on shocks, uh, may have to do some uh, work on the shock towers for the shocks that I've picked out to actually match our suspension travel.

Well, I mean, today we've gotten a lot of work done, huh.

We did, we did. That was a lot of fine-tuning on that hood to get that body line fit. That uh, cardboard or the construction paper, that really made the difference to actually make trimming that back line easy, and it's darn near perfect. If this hood wasn't cut so badly over here on this side where I'm going to have to go fiberglass that in, this hood would be darn near perfect. We've got a temporary bumper on until we can custom build a bumper. Uh, maybe we can work on cleaning up these fender wells on the side, get these fit to the trunk side of the body real quick now that we have the, the hood properly in place. Yeah, it's actually really tight, and we could almost use the stock body mount or fender mount bolts, bolt a flange there, and then maybe run a body bolt right here to actually hold it in place.

Hey, I wanna have bolts on like on the top though.

Okay, all right, so we'll put something across the bottom.

And on that note, life’s full of good people,

if you can't find one,

be one.

Later, guys.

What you got there?

A label.

A label, Nate's Baja Bug.

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