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Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor

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Posted by on in NOS parts
It's been a long time since I've made any progress on the Ghia. 2012 has been an overwhelming year — turned 50, got married, started a new job, currently in the 9th month of what was supposed to be a 5-month house addition/renovation project — so the car (and blog) have had to take a back seat. I'm looking forward to getting back to the Ghia soon, but in the meantime I've been picking up some NOS parts occasionally, including this collection of bearings, bushings, and seals for early Type 3 front beams. Many of the front beam parts for my Ghia are unique to the first year or so of production (of course), so later Type 3 parts won't fit. Because of their scarcity I've been wanting to acquire NOS front beam parts for a long time, so when Bert van der Jeught offered a set on The Samba I...

Posted by on in Events
Some highlights from this year's Classic Weekend. The usual great events, cool cars and people, 58 barndoor buses, Snorkelstang, and a bottle of Patrón courtesy of 1500 Club member Dave Whittick of Canada. Not too shabby. [gallery] ...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
It's the Ghia's 50th birthday today. I bought it a gift -- a reproduction '62 Ghia badge -- and toasted the occasion with a glass of Duvel. Yes, I know it's not a German beer, but the brewery is less than 200 miles from Osnabrück, so that's close enough for me. This summer the restoration project will continue. ...

Posted by on in Events
On Sunday morning we all met again at the Borradori Garage for breakfast. A casual observer would assume this had been planned all along, but Terri Reay only came up with the idea of a tri-tip and egg burrito breakfast at about 10pm the night before. Everyone pitched in and it came together perfectly. After breakfast and some cleanup everyone began to go their separate ways. Our Los Angeles caravan left at around noon and other than David Aveson's squareback having a relapse of its fuel injection trouble the drive was smooth and uneventful (we had to put it behind Gizmo Bob's truck and Dave drove Bob's notchback the rest of the way back). When Jack Fisher got back to San Diego he texted that his total weekend mileage was 950! I figure I did about 700. What a great weekend of driving! [gallery] Many more photos from the weekend can...

Posted by on in Events
On Saturday morning everyone met again at the garage -- everyone meaning the 11 cars that had cruised up the coast on Friday and 9 more, including a caravan from Orange County. We headed up into the hills above Cayucos for a beautiful 30-mile drive through the countryside. Other than one car with a malfunctioning injection system, being hassled a little by the Five-O, and a stretch of rough road that vexed the lowered cars a bit, the drive was perfect. We then showed up at the Cambria Oktoberfest, where Type 3s totally dominated the all-German car show. Later in the afternoon we all headed back to the garage for a Santa Maria-style tri-tip barbeque thanks to grillmaster Tom Reay, Type 3-shaped desserts (!), and a champagne toast to the Type 3's 50th birthday. Perfect ending to a perfect day. [gallery] ...

Posted by on in Events
This last weekend was the 50 Years of the Type 3 weekend on California's central coast. It was an incredible 4 days of Type 3 driving centered around the historic Borradori Garage in the beach town of Cayucos. 21 Type 3s (8 notchbacks, 3 squarebacks, 4 fastbacks and 6 Type 34s) and about 50 people attended. A great time was had by all. Here are some shots from Friday. We drove up Highway 1 from Cayucos to the lower part of Big Sur and back, about a 120 mile round trip. [gallery] ...

Posted by on in engine overhaul
I got my engine back from the builder recently and this weekend I got it reassembled and reinstalled after some parts sourcing, rust treatment and painting. I was preparing to put the engine back in when I was stopped by this: A couple of months ago I saw that my Ghia's swingaxle boots needed replacement. I had a pair of old stock boots on the shelf so I put them on and forgot about it. They were in their factory sealed bags until I installed them, experienced about 15 miles of use, and had no exposure to excessive heat or UV rays, but in two months they're in worse shape than the ones they replaced. Luckily I had the foresight to buy a new pair of VW OEM boots the last time I was at Bill and Steve's, so I was able to replace them without yet another trip to the...

Posted by on in engine overhaul
I saw this pair of rebuilt early 1500 heads for sale and thought I'd better get them while I could. These don't come along every day. 311 101 371 heads have 40-horse style straight intake ports and were only used through June 1962. The date code on the casting appears to indicate December 7, 1961. The heads were apparently rebuilt many years ago and they still retain their long rocker studs. Most of the remaining 40-horse and early 1500 heads out there have long ago been converted to short rocker studs due to the fact that long studs can sometimes loosen and fail to hold torque. Also, unlike short studs, with long studs valve clearances tend to get tighter as the engine warms up, so there's less margin for error when adjusting the valves — a tight valve having much more potential to cause damage than a loose one. For...

Posted by on in engine overhaul
After some downtime troubleshooting my floor jack I got the engine out and stripped down, though I left a few things in place that shouldn't be in the way just to make reassembly go faster. Dropped it off this morning with the builder so he can look into what's causing the leak at #2. The oil was clearly coming from the mating surface between the top of the cylinder and the head. We shall see what's up. In the meantime I've sourced most of the gaskets and other expendable parts I'll need for reassembly from Bill & Steve's, and next I'll tend to some of the surface rust that's formed on a few parts over the last few years of storage. Rust never sleeps, as Neil Young has helpfully pointed out....

Posted by on in engine overhaul
I got the Ghia started again for the first time since 2007 but there was a significant oil leak almost immediately, coming from where cylinder #2 meets the head. Lots of oil and oil smoke. The rings on that piston are clearly not doing the job, but even so, oil shouldn't be leaking from there. The shop that assembled it suggested that I try running it until the rings seat themselves, but after running it for more than and hour at a time over several days at medium revs without load to help break it in, and then driving it for over ten miles today, the same symptoms remain. The engine has to come back out so we can pull the head and find out what went wrong. The good news is that I got to drive it again for the first time in four years. Aside from the ring issue...

Posted by on in engine overhaul
Last year I bought an NOS Type 3 oil strainer. When it arrived I realized the design of the strainer was different from the one in my Ghia, which raised some questions. Was the one in my car not a Type 3 strainer? How are Type 1 and Type 3 strainers different, and how are the various Type 3 versions different from each other?

Posted by on in restoration
I found this 1 kg can of anthracite lacquer at the VW Classic swap meet. I've always told myself that if I saw an original factory can of anthracite for sale I would buy it. On first seeing it I assumed it would be completely dry but it's still liquid and fairly full. I think my car is trying to tell me what color it wants to be....

Posted by on in Events
Type 3-centric highlights from another epic Classic weekend: [gallery] 3 days. Many aircooled miles. Too much sun. Not enough sleep. Can't wait until next year! ...

Posted by on in old photos
Ivan Pang sent me these pictures of a '63 1500 Ghia he encountered on the road near San Luis Obispo—in May 1975. It must have had a rough life, as it's looking a little the worse for wear for a car that was only 12 years old at the time. I wonder if it's still around today? One thing a really like about these photos (click to enlarge) is the fact that more than half of the cars in the background are aircooled—either VWs or Porsches. That's just they way it was in California back then. If you'd like to help increase the aircooled population of San Luis Obispo in 2011, you should consider joining the Type 3/Type 34 50th Anniversary Central Coast Cruise this fall. Details are being finalized now, so it's time to start planning....

Posted by on in restoration
It's been many years since I've done a front brake job on an old VW. The last time the front brakes were done on this car was about 12 years ago, when NOS wheel cylinders were installed by a local mechanic. Initially I thought I'd be able to get away with a brake fluid flush and adjustment, but the right front brakes were locking up. Stuck wheel cylinder(s)? Collapsed brake hose? The car has probably only seen 1000 miles since the brakes were done so how bad could things be?I was stopped in my tracks soon after starting by an odd thing: Both lock nuts turned together when I tried to loosen the outer one on the right side. That shouldn't happen. I didn't have a thin 24mm wrench so had to source one. Luckily Lanner Kahn at VDUBEngineering in Canada offers a nice purpose-made 24/27mm spindle wrench, so I ordered...

Posted by on in NOS parts
A few years ago I found five NOS VW 1500 wheels. They're the early 4-slot version meant only for 1961–63 models. Unfortunately while NOS means "new old stock," it doesn't necessarily mean cosmetically perfect. While these wheels have never been mounted on a car they had picked up some surface rust and shelf wear in the many years they were warehoused. Off to the powder coater.After some online research I decided to use Andrews Powder Coating in Chatsworth, California. They focus on powder coating for cars and motorcycles, and they are a supplier to ICON. That's good enough for me.The wheels came back looking like new. I had Andrews match the OEM semi-gloss black. They masked the lug bolt and brake drum bearing surfaces at no additional charge, which saved me the trouble of scraping the paint off later. Wheels can come loose if these areas are powder coated, so it's...

Posted by on in accessories
...but we buy them anyway. Some time ago I found an ADAC enamel badge commemorating the 40th Internationale Automobil Austellung (IAA), the 1961 auto show where the VW 1500s were first shown to the public.It's an enamel interpretation of the 1961 IAA poster. The poster looks great—I'd really like to find an original one someday—but the design was clearly hard to translate into enamel. Let's just say that it's the kind of thing that could only have been created in 1961, so in that way it's perfect.The question now is: If I were to install it, where would it go? Normally a badge like this might be mounted on a car's radiator grille, but that obviously doesn't apply here. On other rear-engined cars like Porsches badges sometimes get mounted to the rear air intake, but the 1500 Ghia's flat rear deck doesn't really lend itself to that solution. What to do?...

Posted by on in old photos
Ivan Pang sent me these great 1976 photos of his anthracite '62 1500 notchback at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Forest Lawn (a.k.a. "Whispering Glades" to fans of The Loved One) does a pretty good job of standing in for the old country.Ivan has been a part of the vintage VW scene in Southern California since the early days, and he has also made it his practice to photograph interesting cars he has seen in Los Angeles' east side neighborhoods over the years. He has owned this particular low-mileage notchback since the mid-1970s. Other than the vintage Porsche 356 wheels and hubcaps (shod with what appear to be Michelin ZX radials) the car is unmodified from original. Ivan still has the original VW wheels and hubcaps in storage. He says the seats have been protected by factory accessory seat covers since the car was new, so the upholstery is...

Posted by on in press
In this issue of Karmann-Post an article on the VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia reprinted from Auto Motor und Sport is illustrated with images of both Karmann-Ghia models along with photos of production in the Karmann factory. There are some rarely seen promotional images of the 1500 Ghia here, including an early '63 sunroof model (Type 345), alongside the usual press photos.The Motor-Tourist review of the 1500 Ghia is also reprinted in this issue....

Posted by on in accessories
In the 1950s and '60s Blaupunkt and other European auto radio manufacturers offered portable "picnic" radios that had the option of being installed in a car as a dash-mounted pullout. Unlike more recent pullout systems that were intended for theft prevention, the idea behind these older pullouts was versatility.The Blaupunkt Derby 660 was introduced in 1965 so it's a period-appropriate accessory for a VW 1500. It's larger and more modern-looking than the previous Derbys and offers shortwave, longwave, and FM bands. I bought this one many years ago and found the under-dash mount more recently.Nice typography on the dial still has echoes of the 1940s.The car mount was meant to be installed under the dash. It carries the Ideal brand. Ideal was the original name of the company, and the blue dot that was used as a quality control symbol eventually evolved into the company's trademark. The name was formally changed...