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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...

Posted by on in old photos
The cover of issue number 20 of Karmann's promotional magazine featured a 1500 Ghia cabriolet prototype on display at the 1961 Frankfurt auto show (IAA). Other photos of the new 1500s were featured inside.Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm Karmann and Ghia's Luigi Segre with the cabriolet at the IAA.Also at the IAA, the 1500 Ghia cabriolet is shown to German President Heinrich Lübke.The issue also includes a spread featuring press photos of the new Karmann 1500s. The 1500 Cabriolet is referred to as the "four-seater" and the 1500 Ghia as the "two-seater." That's refreshingly honest — apparently Karmann didn't consider the 1500 Ghia's back seat a realistic place for anyone to sit....

Posted by on in old photos
You swingaxle drivers take it easy out there.[1500S pushing the limit at Oulton Park, Cheshire, England in the 1960s. Source unknown.]...

Posted by on in VW literature
Last year Eric Colla was lucky enough to find a set of original factory training slides that cover basic maintenance of the VW 1500, and we put together a digital version of the slide show to share with the Type 3 community. The slides and caption text have been scanned and Everett Barnes created a page on The Samba where they can be viewed as individual images or downloaded as low-res or high-res pdfs. Here are a few of the slides:From the photos and the information provided it appears that it was produced in late 1962 at the beginning of the 1963 model year. It's a great reference for how the early engines were originally set up, though since many parts have been painted gray for clarity it's not definitive. Even though I've read through all the early VW service literature many times I still learned a couple of new things...

Posted by on in VW literature
I got a package in the mail from my friend Steve and opened it to find this old letterpress photo cut of an early VW 1500. Steve knows me pretty well.Letterpress printing was on its way out in the 1960s, replaced by offset printing for most commercial jobs by the end of the decade, so it's a little unusual to find a cut of a '60s car. This one was probably used in a newspaper advertisement. It's an early '62 or '63 model and "VW 1500 1964" is handwritten on the back of the block.I know of someone who has a letterpress so I might have to print up some cards. For the time being it can keep company with a old cut of a Bernd Reuters split window that I found years ago.Thanks Steve!...

Posted by on in press
The 1500 Karmann-Ghia has the honor of being the punchline of one of Henry Manney III's jokes in his coverage of the Frankfurt auto show for Road & Track magazine's January 1962 issue. He isn't too keen on the Ghia's front-end styling and reports that it reminded another reporter of the Schwimmwagen. He likes the rest of the styling, though, and calls the 1500 Ghia "an improvement on the old one."There's prominent coverage of the VW 1500 introduction in the article, including a feature photo of the dramatic 1500 display ("driverless Volkswagens, neatly executing 4-wheel drifts..."). But Manney is more interested in the NSU Prinz, BMW's 700 convertible and 1500 Neue Klasse sedan, the Porsche 2-liter, and the Fiat 2300 Coupe by 1500 Ghia designer Sergio Sartorelli. He seems a little underwhelmed by the VW 1500s in comparison. He predicts, correctly, that the Variant will be the biggest seller.I have always...

Posted by on in VW literature
I found this VW dealer postcard while browsing an online Porsche forum. Postmarked December 10, 1964, it's a Spokane, Washington dealer's response to someone who inquired about arranging European tourist delivery of a VW 1500 notchback. The dealer regretfully advises the customer that the only 1500 that dealers could arrange tourist delivery for was the "Station wagen" and that delivery of a notchback would likely be very expensive if they were to try to arrange it on their own.This is interesting. On one hand it's an example of the lengths someone in the U.S. would have to go to in order to buy a new notchback. Why would VW promote tourist delivery of the Squareback but not the notch? Was it some kind of "viral" strategy to stimulate public interest in the Squareback in the year before its official U.S. introduction? At the same time, American dealers who were unwilling to...

Posted by on in old photos
Last year I wrote a short post about a rare 1961 brochure published for VW dealers that explained the many components of the Volkswagen + VW 1500 advertising campaign, titled Wir werben für den VW 1500 (We advertise the VW 1500). It's a fascinating look from a dealer's point of view at the many tools that were available for publicizing the new 1500: posters in many sizes and formats, banners, freestanding signs, projection slides, print advertising, postal advertising, sales brochures, and window stickers. Here are some photos showing how these campaign components were actually put into use by individual dealers, as seen in VW Informationen, VW's internal publication for dealers and distributors.On the right side of the photo above you can see a poster for the 1961 Frankfurt international auto show, where the VW 1500 made its public debut. This dates the photo to September 1961.This dealer raised the bar by...

Posted by on in advertisements
This 1963 ad for VW service features a 1500 Ghia in an exotic Mediterranean locale to underscore the idea that service for every VW is available anywhere. A very nice oversized reprint of the ad was produced by P.A.R.C. with the permission of Volkswagenwerk AG, so you can get your very own copy.[h/t to JL]...

Posted by on in press
An article in the September 4, 1961 issue of Sports Illustrated about the new VW 1500. It's hard to imagine a time when a subject like this would have made sense for Sports Illustrated's readership.The writer, Kenneth Rudeen, likes the new bigger VW quite a lot, going so far as to describe it as "an extremely desirable car." He sees the 1500's appearance as being very Italian in spirit and compares it to the contemporary designs of Pininfarina. Rudeen speculates that the 1500 may not make its way to America until perhaps 1963, by which time demand in its newly prosperous home market might be satisfied....

Posted by on in Events
I caught a ride up to Treffen 12 in Oxnard, CA, today with Scott McWilliams in his '64 1500 Ghia. The last Treffen I went to was over ten years ago, back when it was for Karmann-Ghias only. It's now open to all aircooled VWs, but the focus is still on the Ghias. Here are some highlights of the show:Mark Merrill brought his unrestored 55,000 mile lowlight Ghia. A real time capsule. The original owner lived on Catalina Island and only used the car on visits to the mainland.Another unrestored time capsule, this one a '61 originally purchased at Van Wyk in Santa Barbara. The pacific blue/blue white color combination and the blue interior are the same as my own 1500 Ghia originally came with, right down to the turquoise wool carpet.Lisa Meier's '58 and '64 convertibles looked great.A very nice '64 notchback.The Type 34 lineup, from left: Chemo Ordaz, Scott...

Posted by on in old photos
While I'm waiting for my new Optima battery to arrive here's a photo Ivan Pang sent to me of a faded gulf blue '63 VW 1500 notchback parked in a garage a few houses away from where I live...in 1976. It's good reference for the kinds of features a daily-driven VW 1500 would have had in Los Angeles back in the day: solid red rear lenses, bias-ply thin whitewalls, curb feelers, AAA sticker on the bumper, etc. The license plate's number sequence points to an original registration date of around 1965, so it may have been a gray-market car. It looks worn but all original, which is no surprise because it was only 13 years old! No telling whatever became of the car; it was long gone by the time we moved to the neighborhood 20 years later.Ivan has lived in the area for many years and he has always tried...

Posted by on in engine overhaul
I got the engine back in yesterday. The reinstall was fast, smooth, and uneventful. A motorcycle jack under the engine takes most of the drama out of the process.I finally got to install the '63 heater mufflers. I had to improvise a substitution for the insulating ring (311 255 379 B) that the VW Workshop Manual advises be installed. I found some self-adhesive silica insulating tape at McMaster that should do the job. Supposed to be good for 1800° F. According to the Workshop Manual, without insulation here the muffler can get too hot and burn. Close to having it back on the road. I have a few loose ends to take care of and I have to see if my 6V battery will hold a charge (unlikely) or locate a new one....

Posted by on in reproduction parts
My best find from the VW Classic weekend was an original gray e-brake boot. It's a surprisingly hard to find item, and I've been trying to locate one for years. It's really clean and there are no holes or rips. I picked it up from a seller at OCTO for a very reasonable price. Couldn't believe my luck.Several years ago the restorer of a '58 beetle had a short run of gray repro boots made in Belgium, and I bought one when they were available. Here it is next to the OEM original. It's not perfect—the shape and texture are a little off and the gray color is too blue—but it's well made. It's also the style without the adjustment access slots/flaps on the sides. Some original boots have these access slots and some don't, and I don't know what applications got which boots, or when. The supply of these repro...

Posted by on in restoration
Speaking of 1500 Ghia visor clips, I'm very happy to finally have a pair of originals thanks to Larry Edson. They're not 100% perfect—both have minor cracks from use—but they're very presentable and far better than most others I've seen. It's rare for any of these clips to have survived due to an overly complicated and under-engineered design. This has lead to a cottage industry in 1500 Ghia visor clip replacements, some more successful than others. A few examples I've accumulated over the years:I've seen a number of Ghias with these bent steel hooks. They work surprisingly well, taking advantage of the spring tension in the visor mounts to hold the visors in place, and they're simple enough to not call attention to themselves.John Copello made these machined aluminum and powder coated clips, and it's possible that he might still make them to order. They follow the original design fairly closely...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
There are a few parts that every Type 34 Ghia owner needs. Who couldn't use a pair of those visor clips that seem to have been designed to break the first time they were used? Or how about the plastic deflector that keeps the front hood safety catch from damaging the rubber seal? When's the last time you saw an original one? In my case that would be never.Greg Skinner has taken it upon himself to reproduce the elusive deflector and he very generously brought a few to Bob Walton's pre-Classic BBQ for the Type 34 owners in attendance. Here is one of his repros, a faithful copy of the original part (341 823 491). I decided to test fit it to my Ghia. One of the good things about having owned a number of old VWs over the past 30 years is that I've amassed a lot of hardware. I was able to find...

Posted by on in NOS parts
It's only fitting, really, that one of the slowest Type 34 restorations ever should get one of the slowest brake jobs ever. That's what I get for trying to keep things correct for an early '62. Over the last few months I've been trying to locate the early parts I need without much luck. The unique early '62 brake parts are really hard to find, so you have to buy them when you see them even if you don't need them yet, because you eventually will. I've already found it's possible to modify a Type 1 oil slinger to work with a Type 3 drum. The drum itself was the next hurdle.Over the VW Classic weekend I tried to track down an NOS or good used '62 rear drum without any luck. For a moment I thought I'd hit paydirt when I saw an early pinwheel drum in a box of NOS...

Posted by on in NOS parts
It was good meeting Aaron Britcher over the VW Classic weekend after years of long distance correspondence. He made his way over from Oz along with a contingent of mad VW freaks who all seemed to be having a great time visiting the Southern California VW scene. Aaron is the owner of the world's fastest VW 1500 panel van, among other VWs, and he has a great collection of Type 3 rarities with an emphasis on performance parts. With his eye always open for the rare and the unusual, it's no wonder he came across something at ISP West so obscure that no one would have even imagined its existence, let alone known to look for it.A 1962 1500 badge that had escaped the final die stamping that would have released it from the sheet, seen here with a finished badge for comparison. I guess it goes without saying that it's...

Posted by on in Events
As usual I got my first proper sunburn of the summer at last weekend's VW Classic. I hit as many events as possible this year, starting with Gizmo Bob Walton's BBQ on Thursday, followed on Saturday by OCTO, Ed Economy's Toy and Literature Show, ISP West's open house, the Type 34 Registry dinner, and the VW Classic itself on Sunday. Kind of a marathon, but well worth it. It was good catching up with the everyone and to get to meet Adam Barrett, Aaron Britcher, Eric Farnsworth, and a bunch of Samba regulars.Bob was kind enough to let me drive his Hot VWs-featured '62 notch to the events on Saturday, and the first stop was OCTO. It was my first OCTO and it didn't disappoint. Here are Gerson's freshly stamped Type 3 pans at the swap: After a swing through the toy and literature show it was off to ISP for...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
The past few years have seen a marked increase in the availablity of reproduction parts for VW 1500s and 1600s. ISP West has lead the way, reproducing a number of obsolete Type 3 parts over the last ten+ years, and they've been joined by the now-defunct PoP of Thailand (Simon Kelley has begun to pick up where PoP left off), Rudiger Huber, BerT3 and others, including my own self. But in the last year things have really picked up.The latest news is that the original "salt & pepper" wool cloth used from 1961–63 is now available for purchase from Gizmo Bob Walton. The possibility of reproducing this cloth has been talked about for many years, and it's amazing that it's finally here. I dropped in on Bob yesterday and saw one of several giant rolls. It looks fantastic.Equally exciting news: new right and left side floorpan halves for Type 3s are...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
Over the past two months I've been testing my water slide decals in harsh conditions to see how they hold up and if wax or a clear coat will provide added durability. I applied three decals to an old glovebox lid, giving one a clear coat of enamel, another several coats of wax, and the third left untreated as a control. I subjected them to weeks of full sun—at times over 80°F—and to damp 45°F nights. I dipped them in water regularly to simulate the effects of normal washing. I simulated daily wear and tear by rubbing the surface. The decals showed no ill effects after a few weeks of this treatment, so I decided it was time to pull off the gloves and give them the Extreme Humidity Test. I sealed them in an airtight bag with a few ounces of water and left them in the hot sun for...

Posted by on in restoration
As mentioned in a previous post, 1962 Type 3 rear brakes are different than those on later models. One of the most obvious differences is the presence of an oil slinger on each drum, which uses centrifugal force to direct any gear oil that gets past the axle seal away from the brake shoes and to the outside of the drum. The Type 3 slinger (part number 311 501 631) is a unique one-year-only part only used up to chassis number 0 076 299. Many have been discarded over the years during service, so if you're in need of one, as I am, you're in for a search.After looking for awhile and following a few leads to dead ends I decided to try another approach. Jason Weigel suggested I try modifying a Type 1 or Type 2 part to fit. Yes, 1950s beetles and buses also had oil slingers, and they're easy to find due...

Posted by on in restoration
I picked up the restored speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, and radio grille from North Hollywood Speedometer today. Nice job Patrick, thanks! My Ghia is not worthy....

Posted by on in NOS parts
To go along with these. ...

Posted by on in restoration
I have always dreaded brake work on older aircooled VWs because of the hassle of dealing with the rear axle nuts. Getting the nuts loose involved a breaker bar, a good length of cheater pipe and some colorful language. Getting them tight again was something I was never able to master with hand tools, so I would do the best I could and then limp over to a local shop to have them torque the nuts to spec. I can't believe it's taken me this long to finally buy a torque multiplying tool to do the job. This tool, popularly known as the Torque Meister or Torque Dude, multiplies the torque nine times, allowing the high-torque axle nuts and flywheel gland nut to be removed and installed with simple hand tools and minimal effort.Once I got the left rear drum off I found a hardened sludgy film on everything. I knew...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
I've ordered a lot of parts and some tools I need to get the Ghia on the road again. While I'm waiting for them to arrive, I thought I would do some durability tests on the water slide decals I had printed a few years ago. Andy Holmes reported recently that the edges of his Ghia's decals began to flake, so I sent him a set of replacements. I don't know what the cause was—humidity? rapid temperature changes of the metal surfaces they were applied to? offgassing from recently applied paint? or some combination thereof?—but water decals are fragile in the best of circumstances, and I want to test a few ways of making them more durable.Using a glovebox lid with original paint as a test board, I have applied three air cleaner decals. The one on the left was masked and coated with clear enamel (two mist coats and a...

Posted by on in NOS parts
Not long ago I bought a pair of NOS SWF Type 3 wiper arms. They have the part number 311 955 407A, and they'll fit 1967 and earlier Type 3s. They're not the wipers my Ghia would have come with originally, though, but rather a later part that replaced the earliest design. The original 1961–66 wiper arms, part number 311 955 407, looked like this:[image pilfered from thesamba.com]The arms that replaced them have a slightly different appearance:As far as I can tell, the 311 955 407A arms were introduced in the 1966 model year, superseding the earlier arms as replacement parts. I'm not sure what the functional difference is between these and the earlier arms; they both have the same poor design for clamping the arm to the wiper shaft: a small set screw that fights in vain to hold the wiper arm to the shaft against substantial torque. Working against the laws of physics, they would...

Posted by on in restoration
I got to the left rear suspension today. There was evidence of a substantial brake fluid leak, so I'll need to do a complete brake once-over before the Ghia sees the road again. The left rear drum is missing its oil thrower, so I should start tracking one of those down while I'm at it. It's a Type 3–specific part that was only used until chassis number 0 076 299, a month or two into the 1963 model year, so I'll have a search on my hands. It's probably time for me to buy one of those Torque Meister tools (a.k.a. Torque Dude), so I can get the axle nuts on and off without breaking a breaker bar.I cleaned up the wheel and found the April 1962 date code. I have all five of the original wheels, but I also have a set of NOS early Type 3 wheels that I'll probably end...

Posted by on in restoration
I spent some quality time under the Ghia today, cleaning and painting the right rear suspension area. There was a lot of surface rust that I wanted to address. It was over two years ago that I cleaned off years worth of grease that had built up, and rust began forming very quickly after that.Early Type 3 swirl brake drums. I kept the wheel mounting surface free of paint—I never want to see one of my wheels passing me by when I'm driving down the freeway.Here's a good shot of one of the early rear Type 3 axles, which featured stamped steel lower shock mounts welded directly to the axle tubes. Early in the 1963 model year these were replaced by redesigned axle tubes with separate forged shock mounts. Another example of early Type 3 weirdness.With the wheel removed there was a clear view of the transmission serial number, 35694, which...

Posted by on in engine overhaul
Today I finally finished reassembling the engine. It took awhile for me to track down all the parts, which for some reason I had stored in a number of different places. The last time I was at this point was the summer of 2007. The last time I assembled the engine I had a really hard time getting the flanges to line up where the intake manifold's heat riser connects to the tube from the muffler. This time I put some effort into bending and rotating the muffler tube so that its flange would line up better, and I got the bolts started at this connection first before securing it elsewhere, which made it a lot easier to get the manifold in. Hopefully this will put less strain on the manifold when the engine is running—broken welds between the heat riser and intake tube are common on these manifolds, probably due...

Posted by on in restoration
I took the gauges to North Hollywood Speedometer today. They tested the tach and it's in good working order, so it only needs cosmetics. They're going to make a new glass for it to replace the cracked original—either CNC etched or silkscreened scale and VDO logo—and will replace the late silver-finish escutcheons with early brass parts from donor gauges. The speedometer needs calibration but otherwise tested o.k., and it will get a cosmetic restoration along with the fuel gauge and speaker grille. I'm going to hold off on having the clock restored for now because North Hollywood Speedometer doesn't repair old Kienzle clock works, they replace them with modern quartz movements instead. I'd rather see if I can get the original clock working again myself. I'm not planning on installing it anyway since I have the tach, but I would eventually like to have it restored and ready to go.When I...

Posted by on in restoration
I've decided to try something slightly different with the blog this year, something that I hope will help motivate me to make more progress on my own 1500 Ghia's restoration. I'm only going to post when I've actually accomplished something on the car. This means there might be more variation in activity depending on how much progress I'm making—more frequent posts if all is going well, and less frequent if nothing's happening.This weekend's nice weather gave me a good opportunity to dig the Ghia out from all the junk that has collected in the garage and get the area cleaned up so I can get back to work. I cleared out all the spiderwebs and dust and whatnot from under the car, and wiped everything down. I was disappointed to see more surface rust on some of the hardware than I would have expected from a year or two of sitting,...

Posted by on in press
The VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia made the cover of Gute Fahrt magazine in January 1962. Note the funky retouching on the cover photo—the steering wheel is hilarious. I think the driver of the car must have been removed from the image.A one-page feature article inside offers a lot of praise for the Ghia, its unusual luggage accommodations in particular, and attributes the car's sporty handling to its low center of gravity. In yet another take on the clock/tach/speaker conundrum, the article says there's a place in the dash for a tach just to the left of the glove box, but it would be better to put it in the clock's position for visibility. I guess this tells us that the test car didn't have a radio and the purpose of the speaker grille wasn't clear. The one criticism is that the fog lights are too high to really be effective. It says...

Posted by on in old photos
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Posted by on in old photos
[from the February 1968 issue of Gute Fahrt magazine]...

Posted by on in accessories
Though it's not very widely known, the small appliance manufacturer Braun offered a few auto accessories in the 1960s. Their T 510/580 portable radios, introduced in 1962, were available with an under-dash slide-in mount that allowed you to use your radio in the car and also take it with you, like the Blaupunkt Derby and similar radios from other manufacturers. What Braun offered that the others didn't was the international-style aesthetic of industrial designer Dieter Rams. Rams has a cult following among design fans and his work for Braun in the '60s is thought to be the inspiration for much of Apple's award-winning product design of the last few years. He's currently the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Design Museum in London. These radios come up for sale occasionally but the under-dash mounts would have to be among the rarest of the rare of auto accessories.Braun also offered an automotive...

Posted by on in accessories
In addition to VDO and Gossen, Weigand also made 85mm tachs that fit in the VW 1500 dash. The 7000 rpm Weigand tach pictured in this 1969 ad is similar to one that's advertised for sale on The Samba right now....

Posted by on in accessories
Kamei offered lots of practical and functional kitsch for the VW 1500 including accelerator pedal covers and parcel trays.According to the ad, the pedal cover keeps the accelerator mechanism clean, protects the floor mat and tunnel from wear, relaxes the foot muscles and promotes good circulation. It also makes your accelerator pedal look like it's melting!...

Posted by on in accessories
The Petri/VDM model 355 steering wheel, aka the "coach" or "carriage" wheel, was available for the VW 1500 beginning in 1965 and was a popular upgrade. Here's an early ad:This ad from 1969 lists a different version for Karmann-Ghias after 1967:...

Posted by on in accessories
A Hirschmann auto antenna to go along with your new radio....

Posted by on in accessories
Jokon accessory reverse lights, including the VW 1500 version....

Posted by on in articles
Sad news came in today from Italy: Sergio Sartorelli, the man responsible for the design of the VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia, died yesterday at the age of 81. Sartorelli joined Carrozzeria Ghia in 1956 and within a year he became the head of styling for the prototyping department, a position he held until 1963. In that time he designed and supervised the design of dozens of automotive projects. His work on the 1500 Ghia began in early 1959 and continued through 1960. Though the 1500 Ghia was designed with collaborative assistance from young American stylist Tom Tjaarda, there's no question that it was almost entirely Sartorelli's design. Sartorelli's original 1500 Ghia prototype [photo: Larry Edson]After Ghia he went on to work with Centro Stile OSI (a styling, prototyping, and production facility originally affiliated with Ghia) and later with Fiat. In addition to the 1500 Ghia his most celebrated designs include the Fiat...

Posted by on in accessories
I was lucky enough to find an original VDO 6-volt tachometer for the Type 34 Ghia. I've been trying to track one down for years. It's a very rare original accessory part—I've only seen three of them in person in 22 years of looking, and I only know of a handful of others that exist. VDO Type 3 tachs are pretty common in comparison. It needs restoration but seems to be relatively sound. It doesn't appear to have been opened for repair in the past. Cosmetically, the biggest restoration challenge will be the cracked "glass."It has a white needle and silver knob and escutcheon. That and the fact that it's 6-volt means it was intended for a late '65 or '66 Type 34. All Type 34 VDO tachs were 6000 RPM to my knowledge. I had never noticed before when looking at others that the scale is progressive—it expands at the...

Posted by on in accessories
Seeing the light of day for the first time in over 40 years.Is it just me or does it look like it's smiling? The foam seal that goes between the speaker and the grille has begun to decompose, but everything else looks o.k....

Posted by on in Uncategorized
A nice VW 1500 illustration on a package of Serflex clamps.[image borrowed from an eBay auction]...

Posted by on in VW literature
Johannes Krasenbrink, owner of a few very early VW 1500s including probably the nicest low-mileage '62 1500 Ghia on earth, sent me these photos of an amazing 1961 dealer information brochure. Titled Wir werben für den VW 1500 (We advertise the VW 1500), it shows all the different components of the Volkswagen + VW 1500 advertising campaign that could be ordered by the dealers.It includes a few of the campaign pieces I've been able to find, including an advertising stamp (21) and a postage meter ad (23). If I was able to read the dimensions I could have some facsimile wheat paste posters made at their original size. I'd love to see the rest of this rare brochure!...

Posted by on in articles
This week marks the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which has me thinking about where and when the VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia got its start and about its historical significance.The are many different reasons that people are drawn to the 1500 Ghia. Some appreciate it for its relative rarity. Others see in it an opportunity to own an affordable and reliable coachbuilt classic. Some just like the unique lines. For me it's all of the above, but I'm also interested in what the Ghia meant in its historical context. In a symbolic way, its design is an interesting automotive example of the so-called "German economic miracle," or Wirtschaftswunder. ["People's Dream Car," Hobby magazine, December 1961]Nearly fifty years on it's easy to lose sight of the context in which the 1500 Ghia was developed. Germany was still a recently defeated, divided country that was the front line of the...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
As a followup to a recent discussion among Type 34 Ghia owners about how to reproduce the "auf/zu" graphics that appear on every Type 3 engine lid, I've created high resolution vector pdf artwork based on direct scans of an original 1963 lid that Everett Barnes supplied. This version of the graphics was used from 1963 until sometime after 1966, when the letters O and C were replaced by the words Open and Closed. The pdfs can be downloaded and used in a number of ways to recreate the graphics. [Everett's engine lid scans]The easiest way to do it would probably be to have a sign shop use their plotter to cut a graphic in black vinyl (matte black vinyl would probably look best). As a reference for position, the dashed line triangular shapes on the graphics correspond to the recesses for the handles, though placement was probably a little different...

Posted by on in restoration
Jason Weigel (a.k.a. Notchboy) is embarking on a comprehensive detailing project on his low-mileage, all-original and already nearly perfect '63 sunroof Notchback. He started a video blog thread on thesamba.com so we can follow along on his progress.You can follow the thread here....

Posted by on in Uncategorized
Similar to another scale model that I wrote about a couple of years ago, this bus model carries an ad for the VW 1500. I'd like to think that ads like this were all over the streets in West Germany in the early '60s. Are models like this based on documentary photos of street scenes?[image swiped from an eBay auction]...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
Jeff Grant (a.k.a. "Anchovy" on thesamba.com) has started offering these cool reproduction aluminum key tags stamped to order with your VIN for just $12. When VWs were originally delivered the keys came with an identifying tag like this. Our '65 Squareback's keys still had their original tag—lucky for us, as most were discarded by the original owners. Though the tags became increasingly thin and more crudely stamped as the years went on, the '58 tag Jeff modeled his reproduction on was cut in a nicely rounded shape from heavy-gauge aluminum. It's the perfect key fob for your set of original keys. Go here to order yours....

Posted by on in Uncategorized
A couple of weeks ago Jonny Lieberman sent me a text message from the back seat of a Tatra T87. He had gone to a meeting of the local Citroen club and met Paul Greenstein, owner of many interesting and unusual cars including the T87, and he said I needed to drop everything and head over to Echo Park right away to see it. About 10 minutes later I was standing in front of Paul's immaculately restored 1941 Tatra, which recently returned to Los Angeles from the Czech Republic, where it was on display in the Tatra Museum. Incredible car—larger than you might think from photographs, the black teardrop coachwork with its central fin and three headlights suggesting some sort of art deco Batmobile from an alternate future. Paul asked if we wanted to go for a ride, and we were like...yeah! Here's Jonny's cameraphone shot from the back seat as...

Posted by on in press
How did so many VW Type 3s find their way to the United States before the VW 1600s were officially introduced to the American market in the fall of 1965? Conventional wisdom says that the cars were brought over individually from Germany by servicemen and tourists, or brought over the border from Canada, where the 1500s were available from their introduction in 1961. While there's no doubt that many 1500s found their way here through those channels, there was also a more formalized gray market supplying 1500s to the U.S. market in the early '60s. There were companies that acted as semi-official importers, supplying dealers with nearly new "used" Type 3s outfitted with sealed-beam headlights, MPH speedometers, etc. This allowed even authorized VW dealers to sell Type 3s years before they were officially imported (as seen here and here). VWoA tolerated the gray market, though when speaking on the record they were...

Posted by on in coachbuilt VWs
Better late than never, here are some of the coachbuilts at the 2nd International Southern California Vintage VW Treffen last Sunday at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, California. Some nice coachbuilt VWs and Porsches turned out, among them Jesse James' newly restored '50 convertible, a nice unrestored '52 Porsche convertible, a pair of '57 Rometsch Beeskows, and a '58 Binz double cab.One of the highlights of the day was caravaning behind Ivan Pang's nice unrestored '53 sedan. Great to see such a well-preserved piece of history holding its own on the Los Angeles freeways....

Posted by on in reproduction parts
After much discussion and debate it looks like Gerson of Klassic Fab is getting started on making dies for reproduction Type 3 floor pans. They should be available for purchase by the beginning of next year—$500 + shipping for a pair of complete pan halves. This is great news for Type 3 restorers. Until now our options have been to track down a donor pan or pan sections that are hopefully less rusty than what we already have, to adapt sections of Type 1 Karmann-Ghia pan sheet metal, or to use pan repair stampings of somewhat questionable quality that are sporadically available. Labor-intensive and/or costly endeavors all. Gerson's shop hand-fabricated the pan half pictured above for his own notchback project. Klassic Fab has become famous for producing high-quality sheet metal stampings for VW Buses. The quality and accuracy of their products are regarded as second to none. I'll be buying a...

Posted by on in articles
In the early 1990s, after a few years of owning my first 1500 Ghia, I was becoming increasingly aware of that car's shortcomings. At the same time I began developing an interest in the earliest 1500 Ghias — the 1962 models, with their unique badging, cat-eye mirrors and other one-year-only quirks. It was around then that an early Ghia from Santa Barbara, California began showing up at Type 34 Registry events. It was the first '62 that many Registry members had seen up close, and it provided a crash course in early 1500 Ghia for us all.Here's a photo from a Registry cruise along the Southern California coast in 1990. That's me standing next my '63 looking back at this '62. Little did I know that I was actually looking into the future. In 1994 the owner of the car decided it was time to sell, so I thought it would...

Posted by on in advertisements
This small ad from the travel section of a 1965 issue of Sunset magazine was of one of the ways the tourist delivery program was publicized. The ad was placed by Volkswagen Pacific, the West Coast regional VW distributor at the time. The tourist delivery program allowed buyers to take delivery of U.S.-spec 1500S Squarebacks in advance of the official introduction of the 1600 model by VW of America in late 1965....

Posted by on in engine overhaul
When I decided to start getting my 1500 Ghia roadworthy again about three years ago – the first step in starting a proper restoration – I had no idea I would still be working on the engine rebuild at this point, but here I am. When I had to tear the engine down again to address a piston clearance problem in the summer of 2007, I decided to take care of a few things that I had neglected the first time around, among them clearing the intake manifold's blocked heat riser. I took the piston clearance problem that thwarted the initial rebuild as a sign, and this time I would do everything right. No shortcuts.If you want to lose momentum on a restoration project this is the way to do it. Since the manifold is a one-year-only rarity finding a good unblocked one wasn't going to be easy, so I spent...

Posted by on in old photos
A 1500N, a 1500S, and a 1500S Variant sunroof from the 1964 edition of Auto-Universum, a.k.a. International Auto Parade....

Posted by on in press
A 1500S Ghia made the cover of the February 1965 issue of Australia's Wheels magazine. The article inside claims that the featured car was the first 1500 Ghia to make its way to Oz.From a blurb on the contents page:"Unusual cars are two-a-penny in Australia these days, but we thought the Volkswagen 1500S Karmann-Ghia worth more than a passing glance. Ian Elliott's crisp cover catches all the glamour of this desirable personal car, with the Sydney Harbor Bridge as a background."Thanks to Lee Hedges for the auction tip....

Posted by on in coachbuilt VWs
One of only a handful of Rometsch Lawrence sunroof coupes ever built was pictured in the December 1960 issue of Mechanix Illustrated.It's hard to be sure, but it appears to be a 1958 model.Patrick Baptist of the Karmann-Ghia Lowlight Registry has recently taken it upon himself to compile a list of all remaining Lawrence coupes. From his research I've already been able to determine that the Lawrence coupe that I once considered buying still exists, probably somewhere in Japan. You can follow his progress here and here. I wonder if this sunroof coupe is still out there anywhere?...

Posted by on in VW literature
This nice cutaway illustration of a 1500S appeared in the 1964 owner's manual....

Posted by on in Uncategorized
I got this used Hella interior light (343 947 111) from BerT3 recently. It's in nice shape with only the slightest indication of age. This part was used in all Type 34 Ghias except 1969 models, which for some reason got a one-year-only Type 34-specific light. '69 owners have some unique challenges.Franck Boutier and Lee Hedges have found that Stoddard, a Porsche parts supplier, offers a very nice reproduction of this light for a reasonable price. Apparently it was also used in certain 356s.My early VW 1500 parts book says that this same light, 343 947 111, was used in the trunk of the 1500 Ghia, but my later parts book calls for a Type 1 part, 151 947 111 A. My Ghia's apparently original trunk light doesn't have a switch, so they must have started using the Type 1 light earlier than the parts book indicates....

Posted by on in old photos
Here's a photo of an early '60s Karmann-Ghia (polar blue?) parked on a Haight-Ashbury street in the summer of 1967, found in a box of old vacation slides from a thrift store. It was common practice at the time for tourists in San Francisco to go to the Haight and take pictures of this new and exotic tribe known as the hippies.One of the subjects registers his disapproval with a one-finger salute....

Posted by on in NOS parts
Thanks to BerT3 I now have the right side heater muffler I'd been searching for. This completes an NOS pair of these one-year-only mufflers. Looks like I have no excuses anymore, I need to get the engine completed and back into the Ghia.Left and right are definitely not interchangeable!...

Posted by on in old photos
A VW 1500 S opens wide and says "aaaaahhh" at the Pacific National Exposition in Vancouver. ...

Posted by on in accessories
I found this Bosch reverse light at the VW Classic swap meet a few years ago.It's not specific to the VW 1500 or even to VW, but it does have an interesting connection to the Type 34 Ghia: it's the same reverse light that's mounted on the VW 1600 Karmann-Ghia TC fastback prototype, which is on display at the Karmann Museum. [photo borrowed from type34.com]...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
My entire stock of 559 cerulean 1500 Ghia upholstery fabric has sold....

Posted by on in old photos
A VW 1500 makes its way down an Innsbruck street in the summer of 1967....

Posted by on in Uncategorized
Congratulations to Rick Christensen and his son Alex, the new owners of the '68 Type 345 that I spotted in the neighborhood. Rick and Alex have already started in on getting it ready for next year's VW Classic. Rick's beautiful '66 Type 34 took first in its class at this year's VW Classic, and he might just have a lock on it again next year with this car. I'm glad it's going to a good home.It turns out it is the same car I had remembered seeing about 15 years ago. The previous owner, Dean Naleway, is a super nice guy who bought the car in 1981 from the original owner and only put about 2,000 miles on it each year over the 28 years he owned it! Now that's the kind of previous owner you want your car to have had....

Posted by on in reproduction parts
I decided to try making an original-style tool roll with the reproduction Type 34 fabric....

Posted by on in Events
...from a Type 3 point of view of course.Thanks to the 1500 Club, the Type 34 Registry, West Coast Classics, DKP and Nick's Burgers, ISP West, the VW Classic, and old and new friends for another great one....

Posted by on in VW literature
VW used the same sales brochure to promote the 1500 Karmann-Ghia from 1961–64, updating its written content and changing and/or retouching some images to keep things up to date. It's interesting to see what they thought needed to be updated (obvious improvements like the 1500S engine, of course, but some minor details too) and what they left alone. And it wasn't just the car that got updated: sometime in 1963 the owner lost his hat. Why would VW go to the trouble and expense of removing his hat of all things?The first few years of 1500 Ghia production coincided with the time when custom no longer required men to wear hats. An old urban legend blamed/credited President John F. Kennedy for the decline in hat wearing, but it's more likely that he just helped to popularize a trend that had already started years before. But if you're VW and you have...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
Due to popular demand Bob Walton and I are getting started on a reproduction of the 1961–63 "salt and pepper" upholstery fabric. Like the 1500 Karmann-Ghia fabric, this will be a high-quality woven reproduction of the original cloth used in VW 1500 sedans and Variants in the first few years of production. It will take about 4 yards to reupholster the complete interior of a notchback with a rear seat armrest, or 3.5 yards for a notch without an armrest or a Variant.[images borrowed from the 1500 Club website]At this point we're trying to gauge interest. I've started a forum thread about the project on the samba, so if you're interested in buying some of this fabric please post in that thread.To see original VW literature showing salt and pepper fabric go here.Many thanks to Jason Weigel and Bob Walton for their advice and encouragement and to everyone who has already...

Posted by on in Uncategorized
Los Angeles has a relatively high number of Type 3s and Type 34s, but it's still quite a surprise for me to see an unfamiliar one, especially within walking distance from home. This rare Type 345 sunroof 1600 Ghia is in the lot of a local repair shop. I'm not exactly sure what year it is -- the taillights say '67 but the steering column says '68. I remember meeting a local guy many years ago who had a white late model 345 with a red interior, and it's possible this is that car. It shows signs of neglect but looks straight, solid, and relatively complete. It's currently registered. The shop was closed, so I did my best to get some shots through the fence.I'll see if I can speak to someone at the shop to see if I can find out who the owner is and if it might be...

Posted by on in Events
Cathy and I took advantage of the nice weather and spent the weekend in San Diego, and since we were there we decided to make a pilgrimage to Jack Fisher's backyard, which has suddenly become Type 34 central. Jack is busy getting Gizmo Bob Walton's recently purchased Pacific blue '64 1500 Ghia back on the road, and he has also rescued a '64 of his own. Not long after I arrived with a Type 34 Blaupunkt radio faceplate for Bob's car Bob himself showed up with lots of parts straight from the chrome shop.Bob's chrome guy does some nice work! The early "pointy" alloy bumper guards came out great, and a rearview mirror arm that was heavily oxidized now looks as good as new. He's good at holding fine detail too — check out the sharp stamping on that Hella headlight ring. Bob's car is starting to come together and it's...

Posted by on in styling
I think it's safe to say that the designers of the VW 1500 were familiar with the Ferrari 250 GT.Most obviously seen in the taillight design, but in lots of other details too. John von Neumann of Competition Motors Hollywood fame had a hand in the development of the 250 GT California in the late '50s. Coincidence?And the Abarth exhaust on Freddy's 1500S takes the similarity one step further.[images borrowed from qv500.com and Freddy's VW1500s blog]...

Posted by on in accessories
A number of people have asked where they can find Blaupunkt speaker connectors recently. While Blaupunkt's own dual plugs are hard to find, the good news is that the individual connectors themselves are a standard item that is available from any electronics supply source. Known as the "banana plug" or "banana connector" (in German, bananenstecker), this standard audio jack system was designed by Richard Hirschmann in 1924. He was the founder of the Hirschmann company that has for many years been a primary producer of audio antennas for VWs and other cars.Blaupunkt's version of the the banana connector was a closely spaced dual plug (12mm or 15/32 in. on center), as seen here on an old Blaupunkt speaker I salvaged from a junkyard Squareback.Modern dual banana plugs are available, but they all seem to be more widely spaced than the Blaupunkt plugs. The 12mm spacing may have been Blaupunkt's proprietary version...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
All 35 yards of the reproduction 564 silver 1500 Ghia upholstery fabric have sold! I still have a few yards of 554 (red) and 559 (cerulean) in stock....

Posted by on in VW literature
I've been waiting to post until something blogworthy presented itself. Fortunately this brochure just arrived in the mail.Sadly the VW 1500 Convertible — aka Cabriolet, aka Type 351 — never made it into production, but lucky for us the brochure did....

Posted by on in old photos
A postcard showing the Hollywood Freeway looking north toward Hollywood from the Rosemont Avenue overpass, just north of downtown Los Angeles, on a nice day in 1962. The location is very close to where I live and it looks almost the same today except for the cars. There are a few European imports mixed in with all the American cars — a Volvo P444, an Alfa Giulietta Spider, a Mercedes Ponton and a VW 1200 – and a couple of Detroit compacts – the Big Three's attempt to reckon with the success of the foreign newcomers – but not a Japanese car to be seen. That would begin to change a few years later. As with the Sunset Boulevard photo I posted recently, the goal of my Ghia's restoration will be for it to look like it could be dropped right into this scene....