My (somewhat limited) social media feeds, email inboxes, and texts all blew up with people sending me the news that the Volkswagen group is thinking about making a new electric SUV called the Scout. It’s a long, convoluted story, but the Autopian breaks down how VW has come into possession of the Scout trademark through its purchase of Navistar after a colossal strategic mistake in building diesel engines.
One of the primary reasons I wanted a Scout was because the truck was designed to be convertible by cigarette-smoking men in the 1960’s who barely considered passenger safety or crash protection. Having a soft top for the summer is a primary concern, and something I factored into the purchase of both my trucks. I was luckyâ€”both came with soft tops. There was a decade or so where nobody was making new onesâ€”Kayline went out of business in 2001 and Bestop decided there wasn’t enough money in it and focused solely on Jeeps.Â Softopper is now making new units which are by all accounts excellent, but are eye-wateringly expensiveâ€”so I feel better about hoarding them.Â At this point I’ve got three:
1. The original Kayline top from Chewbacca, a snap-close model, in a color called Nutmeg, which is a medium brown color. I think this would look hideous matched with Peer Pressure’s blurple, so I’ve never installed it. It’s in very good shapeâ€”the canvas is clean, the zippers are all intact, the plastic windows are clear and mostly unblemished, and it has been sitting in cool storage for ten years. When I sold Chewbacca to Brian I was going to give it to him as a completion present but got a great deal on a used tan top and gave him the choice of the two; he liked the look of the tan top better (I agreed with his preference). I have the whole hardware kit for thisâ€” a set of padded bows, metal door frames, snap bed rails, and windshield rail.
2. The black Kayline top that came with Peer pressure, a Fastrac model, in black vinyl. This was used and in somewhat rough shape when it came to me on the truck. There are a couple of holes over the rear seat which thankfully haven’t gotten any larger. The zippers are plastic and work reasonably well but some of the tracks have come unstitched on each side. The windows are still mostly clear but need a good polishing, and the plastic tracks along the bottom edges are still in good shape. I have the entire hardware kit for this top. I’ve modified this one with snaps on the canvas door flaps and metal door frames to replace the useless velcro it came with, and it makes a huge difference.
3. The $50 tan top that’s currently on the truck, which is another snap model. The canvas on this one is in excellent shape, which is shocking. The driver’s side zipper has come almost completely off the canvas, and the rain flap over the passenger door is also coming unstitched. All of the windows are very clear, but there’s a vertical split on the driver’s side about four inches long. I have the entire hardware kit for this also. I modified this with snaps around the door canvas as well.
All of these need a good cleaning and the windows need polishing. Somewhere I’ve got some Meguiar’s plastic polish that can be applied with a soft buffing wheel that will help with visibility through the windows. At some point I need to wrestle the tan top inside and restitch the zipper, or find someone in Annapolis with a sail repair business who can fix it up for me.
In the meantime, because the tan top is a snap model, I drilled one of the two snap rail sets out to match the existing holes in the bed rails. The driver’s side went on with a little finagling. Once it was mounted I found that the front snaps went on easily but the back snaps were too high by about 2″ at the endcaps. The way the top fits, the edges will never reach the snap rails, even when it’s heated up by the sun.Â The passenger side went on easier, and I dug into my snap replacement kit and installed four new barrels on each side so that I can (mostly) close it up with the bows loose. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than it was.
Here’s the first in a series of videos by a guy who pulled a family-owned Scout out of a field, drained the gas tank, and fired it right up after five years (I might have pre-oiled the cylinders first, but that’s just me):
Related to this, Anything Scout is making a series of videos about how to find a Scout and what to look for. It’s based on what they look for in a donor for his restorations (they are the guys behind New Legend 4X4, who are the leader in top-dollar ICON-style restomods) so they’re particular about what they are looking for, but there’s some good information in there.
More specifically, this is one they did about how to look for a Scout II:
I’m going to be adding some fog lights to Peer Pressure in the next couple of months. In a strange bit of coincidence, a link to this video by Holley popped up in my feed on how to wire a relay in an automotive application:
Not that I’d do this right now, but this is an interesting article, with links and estimates, on how to set up a car with permanent solar panels, an inverter, and a battery.
So I dunked the spare carb I found in the garage last week into a tub of Simple Brown (thus named because it previously was used to clean one of the Thermoquads) and let it soak overnight. I was curious to see what it was because A. I can barely remember where it came from, and B. I wondered if it might be a simpler 4-barrel replacement for the Thermoquad I’m currently running. I scrubbed it off with a toothbrush this afternoon to reveal the stamping number, which identified it as a Holley 2100C for a ’73-’75 IH 304/345 gas motor. Doing a little digging online and in my brain, I remember that these were not highly regarded carbs, and the garb guru I remember from the Chewbacca era describes it as a smogged carb with limited parts availability, which is a double-bummer. So I’ll probably fool around with it for a while and see what makes it tick, and then toss it in with the other junk parts. The next one to identify is the one on the spare 345 out in the garageâ€”actually, maybe I’ll swap these two out so that I can bring that one in here and clean it up.
This is the clearest and brightest the dash lights have ever been. The two side indicators did come on last night but seem to be blinking on and off, which leads me to believe there’s a bad ground or connection somewhere up the chain in the dash wiring. The hi-beam indicator works, but the right turn signal and 4-wheel drive indicator are still outâ€”and I know they’ve both worked in the pastâ€”so I’ve got to clean the connections on the bulbs and see if that solves anything.
Santa delivered a new stereo with built-in Bluetooth yesterday, so I’ve got another date with the dash pulled out planned before it gets too cold, and I can adjust things then.
I did it again. Apparently I’m so happy to get out into the real world, I’m ignoring posted speed limits.
Amazing what a little pavement will do to clean things up. Now I gotta clean up those doors…
It’s the cleanest thing on the Scout, and it’s hidden in the engine compartment.