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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....

Posted by on in Events
Andy's stunning late 1961 1500 Ghia makes its debut at Volksworld:[images by turnhill, nabbed from The Samba]More photos and the complete restoration story on Andy's restoration blog. Congrats Andy!...

Posted by on in old photos
A panorama of the Sunset Strip from the corner of Sunset Plaza in early 1962 (click the image for a version you can actually see) with a mix of Detroit iron and European imports that was typical for Southern California at the time. The VW near the center, a black 1958-61 model, sports the yellow and black California license plates that would be discontinued that year, as do all the other cars that surround it. The Playboy Building is about to join the lineup of legendary jazz clubs on the south side of the street at the right, and billboards advertise Andy Williams at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas and a high-desert real estate swindle closer to home. Below the Andy Williams billboard is Ben Frank's, a Googie-style coffee shop that Frank Zappa used to frequent in the mid-'60s because they didn't turn away long-haired countercultural types. It's still there,...

Posted by on in NOS parts
I just spent too much on this NOS 1961-62 Ghia heater knob from Alex in Malta. This flying saucer-shaped heater knob was used for a short period of time in the early '60s on 1200 and 1500 Karmann-Ghias and VW 1500s. The rotary knob heater controls were discontinued in August 1963 at the beginning of the 1964 model year. Later parts books list the replacement knob as 113 711 623 A, probably because that knob was used for many years on other VW models and it would have simplified the parts inventory. The flying saucer knobs are pretty rare in any condition, so when Alex's stash of NOS ones turned up I didn't hesitate....

Posted by on in press
Along with a road test of the 1200 Karmann-Ghia and a photoessay on the Karmann factory, Car and Driver's January 1962 issue featured a preview of the three new VW 1500 models from Karmann. That's right, three -- in January of '62 the cabriolets were still very real. The photos are VW publicity shots, and you'll recognize the happy family in the top photo from the early 1500 Ghia sales brochure.This particular copy of the magazine has an interesting provenance:Yes, it once belonged to that Floyd Clymer. It was apparently his office copy and is marked up with notes about advertising....

Posted by on in reproduction parts
75 yards of reproduction 1500 Ghia upholstery fabric arrived today. I'll start shipping orders this week....

Posted by on in press
Even by the standards of Safer Motoring magazine this cover is a little bizarre. It was Safer Motoring's practice to have a glamour model pose with the latest offering from VW, in this case a 1962 1500 Ghia. More photos from the session appeared inside.Rowr! Reminds me of one of those "fast driving girls" videos on YouTube....

Posted by on in reproduction parts
I just received a swatch of the silver upholstery fabric reproduction, and it's a really good match of the original piece of 564 silver cloth I supplied to the manufacturer.This photo shows the new cloth sample next to an NOS silver beige sun visor and e-brake button, an anthracite e-brake handle, and a sample of anthracite paint. I think I've decided what color the Ghia will be!...

Posted by on in NOS parts
I recently bought an NOS early left side heater muffler (311 255 355 B). The seller has a number of them available, but only for the left side. I bought one in the hope that a right side one will eventually turn up somewhere. Hey, it worked for the sun visors, so why not roll the dice again?This insulated duct (referred to by VW as a "muffler") fits between the left heat exchanger on the engine and the left heater junction box on the body under the car. It was introduced in January 1963 (chassis no. 0 141 008) and first appears in the parts book with supplement 11, superseding a simple metal flex tube. It will fit all VW 1500s from 1961 through the first few months of the 1964 model year. Even though it's not a part that my Ghia would have originally had when new, it was introduced just a few months after my...

Posted by on in NOS parts
There's a cache of NOS VW 1500 chrome tailpipe tips currently for sale in the Samba classifieds. They're very reasonably priced, so get them while you can.This part was originally intended for the 1500 Ghia, as suggested by the 343 part number. I was able to confirm this by checking the early parts book. Later it was offered as an accessory for the other VW 1500s, and I think it may have even been standard equipment on the 1500S models....

Posted by on in reproduction parts
I just received swatches of the red and cerulean 1500 Ghia cloth reproduction, and they look great. They were able to match the original colors perfectly. It was worth the wait.This cloth will be available in the next few weeks in red, silver (gray), and cerulean (blue). It's the closest thing to the original Karmann cloth that you'll ever find....

Posted by on in NOS parts
I just picked up a left side sun visor from Lars Neuffer, giving me a complete NOS set for the restoration. Expensive but worth it. No one is reproducing 1500 Ghia sun visors, and they would be difficult parts for an upholstery shop to replicate, so NOS or good used visors are the only real options. Before I found these I had neither.While new old stock means the part was old inventory that was never installed and is essentially "new," in practical terms there can be a lot of variation in the condition of NOS parts depending on the life they have had in storage. Such is the case with the set of visors I have. The one I just got is very nice, nearly perfect. The other one had apparently been stored for years in a damp environment. The visor's packaging was very moldy and the visor was stained yellow-green...

Posted by on in articles
Another '65 1500S, a sea blue one that I owned for a brief time in the mid-'90s. It served as a kind of rolling parts car for the other Square and the 1500 Ghia. It was a little rough for the time but it would be considered a nice, clean and straight early Type 3 today. Easter egg: an original VW sea blue touch up pen in the map pocket. I sold it to a girl that lived across the street and who knows whatever became of it....