Build Threads

Type 34 Registry member blogs and build threads

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Recent blog posts

Posted by on in articles
In about 1990 Cathy's '71 Beetle was getting tired, and we started looking for a replacement. Since I'd learned quite a bit about Type 3s in the preceding three years I thought a Squareback would be a practical choice, so we set about looking for one. We thought we'd found one good candidate, a clean red '66, but we were scared off by the fact that the seller was a Gypsy fortune teller on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood — I kid you not. It's just as well, because a few weeks later we found a faded but very original '65 1500S. It was being sold by the buyer of the house of the car's original owner. The car came with the house. It had been parked outdoors for many years and showed the effects of prolonged weather exposure, but it was virtually rust-free and had only 55,000 miles on the odometer....

Posted by on in VW literature
There's a great large-format Karmann brochure for sale on eBay right now. It has a lot of documentary photos of the Karmann assembly line, and of course the VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia makes an appearance.Someone should seize the opportunity to claim this rare document of Karmann's history. Thanks to Lee Hedges for the tip.[images liberated from eBay]...

Posted by on in VW literature
European Bug-In impresario and 1500 Club member Freddy Peeters sent a nice scan of this 32 PHN chart from the very early days of VW 1500 service training. As you can see, the drawing features the early round cutoff valve. Thanks Ffred!...

Posted by on in VW literature
I bought myself a Christmas present this year: a 1961 VW 1500 parts book. I've had later copies of both the Type 3 and Type 34 parts books for years now, but they're not as useful to the owner of an early car, since when early parts were discontinued or superseded they were often deleted from the later books entirely. This is a 1961 book with supplements through 1963, so there's a lot of information in it that's missing from the later books. The supplements are useful in determining roughly when certain design changes were made during early production, although they were only dated up through Supplement 6 (May 1962). (Bob Walton has posted downloadable pdfs of the early supplements in the technical section of the 1500 Club website, and has provided estimates of the dates of Supplements 7 though 15 based on the idea that they were likely released one...

Posted by on in restoration
That's right, I said early electromagnetic cutoff valves. Jason Weigel recently identified a stash of these valves (the large round device at the right in the photo above) that were used on the VW 1500's Solex 32 PHN carburetor in the first few months of production. They are among the rarest of early engine parts for a 1500.The 1500 seems to have been the first VW model to come standard with an electromagnetic cutoff valve (a.k.a. pilot jet) fitted to the carb. The 32 PHN carb had one from the beginning of production in 1961. VW buses first got a cutoff valve on the 28 PICT in 1963, and the Type 1 followed suit in 1966 with the introduction of the 30 PICT-1 carb. Since they were first seen on the VW 1500, what's unusual is that this particular valve has a Type 1 part number: 111 129 413. It's possible...

Posted by on in press
The first issue of Style Auto, an Italian journal of automotive styling (subtitled "Automotive Architecture"), featured the recent work of 13 prominent coachbuilders working in Italy at the time. The profile on Carrozzeria Ghia featured Luigi Segre's forecast for the future of automotive styling and included a glamour shot of the VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia. Segre, the head of Ghia beginning in 1953, was the key figure in developing Ghia's relationship with Virgil Exner and Chrysler in the 1950s and is credited with the design of the original Karmann-Ghia. He was head of Ghia during the development of the 1500 Ghia. Tragically, he died in surgery soon after the publication of the Style Auto feature. Ghia then went through a series of owners, ultimately becoming a subsidiary of Ford in 1970. A sad end for one of the great Italian styling houses of the 20th century.Ciao bella!...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
A nice first-year-only 1500 Ghia badge scored on eBay Germany, seen here installed on my currently unworthy '62 with a PoP reproduction seal. These badges were only used through chassis number 0 058 489 (July 1962).Many thanks to Gizmobob for his help....

Posted by on in video
A nice red and black '62 1500 Ghia is featured in an Aral gasoline commercial that's currently running on German television.I've always wondered how well early Sprint Stars would work on a 1500 Ghia, and those do look very nice...[Thanks to Thomas on the Type 34 Registry site for the tip.]...

Posted by on in VW literature
A nice clear exploded view and parts list....

Posted by on in articles
My first VW Type 3 was a 1963 1500 Ghia I found in the Recycler free classifieds, Southern California's print equivalent of Craigslist back in the pre-Internet days of 1987. The previous owner had it set up in road-racer style with Western wheels, a Hurst trigger shifter, a cheesy small-diameter foam-rim steering wheel, and, wonder of wonders, an early Abarth exhaust. It was barely roadworthy, but I happily drove it the 70 freeway miles home with my hand on the shifter to keep it from popping out of 4th. Love is blind that way. I took it to all the shows of the day, and it even managed to turn up in Hot VWs magazine's coverage of Type 3 Day in 1988 (in the photo at the top left, being swallowed by a notchback):I drove it as it was for a few years while slowly reworking it mechanically. As I learned...

Posted by on in coachbuilt VWs
Foreign Car Guide was kind of the American equivalent of the UK's Safer Motoring—it pretended to be interested in all small cars but it was really all about Volkswagen. Like most other auto magazines of the time, Foreign Car Guide reported on the early official news leak from VW about the new 1500. The article goes into a thoughtful analysis of the market forces and strategic thinking that led VW to provide information about the 1500 to the press so far in advance of its official debut in September 1961, and speculates accurately about VW's reasons for not bringing the 1500 to the U.S.Most of the article's speculation about the 1500 is right on the money, except for the guesstimate of a wheelbase 6 inches longer than the beetle. It compares the 1500 to the Corvair in a way that was typical of the U.S. auto press at the time, suggesting...

Posted by on in press
Photos of the new VW 1500S models from Safer Motoring's coverage of the 1963 Frankfurt auto show, including some shots of what appears to be the Karmann display.This rear window sticker is pretty cool....

Posted by on in VW literature
An English-language copy of the first VW 1500 Variant brochure.The name "Squareback Sedan" hadn't been coined yet, but with copy describing it as a "smart-looking sedan and handy commercial in one" you can tell they were already heading in that direction in 1961....

Posted by on in General
Took the seats and door panels in to the trimmers this week. Going to get the seats trimmed in leather and the door panels done in a matching vinyl.The guy there can put in the heat welded seams in the door panels too.I will likely take the car down to him when he has covered the seats so that he can fit the headliner and rear parcel covering as well.Now I just need to get the suspension finished :)...

Posted by on in press
One of the most positive reviews ever written about the 1500 Karmann-Ghia appeared in the January 1963 issue of the British auto magazine Cars Illustrated. The license plate suggests it might be the same car that was tested by Auto Motor und Sport eight months earlier.The writer was impressed with the performance and wondered if the often heard rumor that VW saved the best engines for the Ghias might be true. He also liked the high level of finish and the styling (with the exception of the fog lights). There's also a photo of the same Ghia in another article in the magazine on Italian coachbuilding. "Road-tested elsewhere in this issue the handsome Karmann-Ghia coupé on the VW 1500 base-plate is difficult to distinguish as a rear-engined car. The bodywork was designed in Italy by Ghia, but is produced in Germany by Karmann."...

Posted by on in press
A left hand drive VW 1500 Ghia with Japanese license plates and fender-mounted mirror, from '67 Auto Salon, the program from the 1967 Tokyo Auto Salon. The accompanying text refers to the 1600, but the car pictured is a 1500 from 1965 or earlier....

Posted by on in accessories
A followup to my previous post about Maico disc brakes: Safer Motoring's coverage of the 1963 Frankfurt international auto show included some photos and an informal test of the OJR disc brake system for VWs and Porsches.The cutaway demonstration display of a VW 1200 disc brake is very cool....

Posted by on in VW literature
An eBay auction last week presented a rare opportunity to own an interesting piece of VW 1500 history: a complete VW press kit from the 1961 Frankfurt international auto show, the event where the VW 1500 made its public debut. Congratulations to the auction winner, waehler.[images swiped from eBay]...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
Lee Hedges shared some pictures of this late 1963 1500 Ghia owned by Antonino Magnano of Udine, Italy. The car has only 70,000 miles and has been in Antonino's family since it was new. It's very rare to find such an original, unmodified example.This photo of the rear trunk reveals something unexpected: the air intake warning decal that was used on earlier Ghias without the protective grilles. The grilles were introduced in May 1963 (0 183 839), and I've never been able to confirm that the decal was used after that date, until now. It's too insignificant a thing to have appeared in a parts book or production survey. This car has the decal positioned just above the grille on the far left side, while on earlier cars without the grilles the decals were positioned as shown below:Antonio's car was produced in late June of 1963, very late in the 1963...

Posted by on in General
Not anything to report on the Ghia, but I have managed to pick up something else interesting. Not VW related, but I Just bought a Short Wheel Base Series 3 Land Rover Ute. I needed a parts hauler as the little hatchback I inherited from my partner when I handed back my company 4WD did not really come up to scratch - couldn't really put bags of cement in the back and definitely couldn't tow a trailer. ...