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Posted by on in accessories
A Fisher Products ad introducing the now sought-after VW 1500 Abarth exhaust from the December 1963 issue of Road & Track magazine. Adjusted for inflation, $64.50 would have been the equivalent of about $460 in today's dollars....

Posted by on in General
This is Brad & Laurie Bull's 1964 Type 343 1500S. They have owned this particular Ghia since November 2007. Here's a few words from Brad on their Ghia. My story starts on Monday, October 22, 2007 with an email sent by a member of our local VW club. It was a forward of information from a guy selling a Type 3 Ghia. Apparently he sent this info to a couple local clubs as his initial attempt to sell the car. He included two pictures. After reading the email I thought to myself, “Neat car, but I don’t have the money for it and there’s no way Laurie would let me buy another car.” I work evenings and my wife, Laurie, works during the day. Shortly after I read the email and dismissed it, she called me at home and said, “What’s up with that Ghia? Why is it so cheap?”...

Posted by on in Uncategorized
I'm going to take a break from blogging for awhile. I'm in the middle of a big book design project right now and there just aren't enough hours in the day for any car-related stuff. I'll be back at it in a few months — hoping to make it to Solvang in late September. Until then....

Posted by on in accessories
I've been keeping my eyes open for Blaupunkt radio knobs and other small parts that the radios I have are missing. What I didn't expect to find was a new Blaupunkt radio still in the box. It's a Frankfurt US model, which is nice because it has the longer American FM band (the European FM band stops at about 104 or so). According to information I found on an informative Porsche 356 Blaupunkt radio site it was probably made in 1966. It's an all-transistor radio.So let's say you bought a new Blaupunkt radio in 1966. What would you have found inside the box?This radio comes complete with the outer metal knobs that are often missing on second-hand radios.Blaupunkt radios can be switched between 6-volt and 12-volt by way of this card. This one came set up for a 12-volt system, which by 1966 would have been right for almost every new...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
Jason Weigel had a nice surprise for 1500 Club members who attended the VW Classic this year: everyone got a reproduction of the rear window sticker that was used on the Canadian VW 1500 promotional tour of 1962. Very cool. Jason has had this sticker in the rear window of his low-mileage '63 notchback for a long time. I've always liked it. [photo by Jason via The Samba]The Canadian VW 1500 tour has become somewhat legendary because it featured all the VW 1500 models, including both the 1500 cabriolet (Type 351) and the 1500 Ghia cabriolet (Type 341), models that never got beyond the prototype production stage. The cabriolet prototypes reportedly remained in North America when the tour was finished, so they may still be hiding somewhere up there in the Great White North. Now that would be amazing. [image "borrowed" from vwtype3.org]I'll put the sticker on my car when I...

Posted by on in NOS parts
I've been looking for a pair of these for a long time. Clear 6 volt 35 watt Ba20s fog light bulbs are hard enough to find, but yellow ones are really scarce. Bob Walton won an eBay auction for two pair recently and offered me a pair of them. Thanks Bob!Osram 7315 is the number for the clear bulbs, so I'm going to assume the "G" is for "gelb."Update: Aaron Britcher called my attention to a good source for vintage car bulbs in Adelaide, Australia: Classic and Vintage Bulbs. They manufacture and distribute halogen replacements for 6 volt and 12 volt bulbs. The site has a great information page on old bulb bases too....

Posted by on in engine overhaul
I owe 1500 Club head honcho Jason Weigel big time. When we met up at the West Coast Classics open house he surprised me with this super early plastic 32PHN carb linkage. This part was only used up to chassis number 0 040 116 (May 1962), and my car would have come from the factory with one. Since VW recommended they be replaced with the newer metal version during service, very few of them still exist. You'd have to be an early VW 1500 geek to really appreciate how cool this thing is. It will be the crowning detail in my effort to build an ultra-correct early VW 1500 engine. The subcontractor's logo is cast into the part. If anybody can identify the manufacturer please let me know.Here's the early link next to its metal replacement.Thanks Jason! I get the hint. Time to get the Ghia back on the road....

Posted by on in General
I got a very early plastic Solex 32PHN carb linkage from Jason Weigel. These were only used up until May 1962 and are practically nonexistent. Thanks Jason! Very, very cool.Pictures here...

Posted by on in coachbuilt VWs
Amidst all the over-the-top show cars on display at the DKP event was this tastefully unrestored Karmann Cabriolet. The polar silver paint and red interior mark it as a late '56 or early '57, I think. It's great to see such a well-preserved original car showing the patina of 50 years of use (but not abuse). It has an Okrasa engine with an equally nice patina, which suggests either a vintage performance engine that has been with the car for many years or an owner who has gone to a lot of effort to make it look that way. No guys, not over there. It's right in front of you.No flash, just the right balance of originality and rare performance-oriented parts. Subtle and very cool. Kudos to the owner for knowing what the car didn't need. My favorite car of the event....

Posted by on in Events
Just like last year, one of the most interesting cars at the VW Classic wasn't a VW at all. It wasn't even German. It was this 1950 Tatraplan, the postwar version the Tatra T97 of the late '30s. There is a connection to VW, though: It's said that Dr. Ferdinand Porsche "borrowed" some ideas from his friend Hans Ledwinka's design when he was given the task of designing a German people's car. The rear-mounted aircooled flat four and streamlined shape of the original VW were more or less inspired by the pre-war Tatra T97, the production of which was halted by the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938. VW even settled a lawsuit filed by Tatra after the war, essentially acknowledging the debt the beetle owed to Ledwinka's design.Only about 6,000 Tatraplan T600s were built between 1947 and 1952, and thanks to the politics of the Cold War they're a particularly...

Posted by on in Events
To me, one of the most impressive cars at the 2008 Classic was Rob Kingsbury's '64 birch green sunroof. Usually when someone buys a nice, original notchback, they'll clean it up, fix a few things here and there, add a few accessories, and just enjoy it as is. Rob, on the other hand, decided to have his notch rebuilt from the ground up. It was completely disassembled and painstakingly rebuilt piece by piece to be better than new. It's not so unusual for a beetle or bus to get this kind of treatment these days, but for a Type 3 it's pretty rare. There were lots of ups and downs in the restoration process, but the end result is really beautiful.Here are a few detail shots:The seat upholstery was done by West Coast Classics using NOS Type 3 brown cord vinyl from ISP West. Nice selection of accessories including an original...

Posted by on in reproduction parts
Type 3 owners seem to have a highly-developed appreciation for roof and luggage racks. These days it's almost become more unusual to see a Type 3 without a rack at a show than with one. There's a roofrack thread in The Samba's Type 3 forum that catalogs the different racks that have been produced for Type 3s over the years, and many of them are very rare period accessories, but some of the best racks ever offered are being produced right now by 1500 Club member Pedro Sainz.This year, in addition to the roof and decklid racks he offers for all Type 3 models, Pedro has introduced an unusual and very interesting new notchback rack to the lineup: The idea is based on the EMPI Titelock rack (also known as the Jim Dandy) that was available for beetles in the early 1960s. Here's a Titelock on the cover of the July...

Posted by on in Events
We got an early start and caravaned from the hotel over to the show, where we joined the long line of cars waiting to get in. I think this was the biggest turnout I've ever seen for a Classic, and probably more Type 3s than I've ever seen together in one place. The 1500 Club set up a couple of tents that became the place for Type 3 aficionados to hang out. The Classic has already been covered in detail on the 1500 Club website and a thread on The Samba, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.The only disappointment of the day was that Rob's amazing '64 notch didn't win 1st place in the notchback class. 1st place went to a clean but far inferior safari beige notch, 2nd went to Oscar Guevara's anthracite '62 (which was fully loaded with accessories from the collection of Robert, aka "Snotchback"), and...

Posted by on in Events
On Saturday we all met at a German restaurant in Huntington Beach. I caught a ride with Bob in his '62. Most of the usual suspects were there, and I met Eric Colla and Joel Berg.Jason gives new 1500 Club member Joel's '64 notchback the once over. It's a really clean, original car. After Dave Love and Pedro Sainz showed up we got some photos of the lineup. Then it was onto I-405 northbound, destination: ISP West. Nothing like a line of 45 year old notchbacks driving down the freeway.It was good to see Deena Reese's incredible unrestored safari beige 1964 Variant again. Original paint and upholstery, just a really nice car. If I was to own a 1500S again I think it would have to be safari beige.Corey somehow talked Rob into letting him take his showroom-fresh notch for a spin. Kir told me that even she doesn't get to...

Posted by on in Events
I finally made it to one of West Coast Classics' pre-VW Classic open houses. We had a little caravan going on the way there after meeting at Bob Walton's, with Bob in his late '62 notchback, Corey Bloom towing a '62 Kombi, Everett and Jennepher Barnes in their '63 15-window bus, and me bringing up the rear driving Bob's "Pepto Gizmo" '62 sunroof notch. As you might expect Pepto gets a lot of attention. Maybe a little too much. The car's return to its original anthracite gray can't come too soon for me, but as it is it's a real crowd pleaser. Nice to have a chance to drive an aircooled VW again after so long. Jason Weigel, Russell Canales, and Rick and Alex Christensen were already there when we arrived.Bob has added a vintage accesssory Nardi wood steering wheel that looks good with the roof and decklid racks. Nice detail...

Posted by on in NOS parts
Here's an NOS Solex 32PHN-1 carb rebuild kit. More visual reference of the original parts that early VW 1500s left the factory with.Float needle valve, idle mixture control screw and spring. The needle valve is still in a protective cardboard tube. The needle valves and idle screws that come in aftermarket rebuild kits are usually not up to the quality standards of the Solex originals and it's usually better to reuse the old ones, but these are the real deal.Original Solex gaskets and seals.New aftermarket 32PHN-1 rebuild kits often come with new accelerator pump diaphragms. I'm not sure if that's just something that's missing from this kit or if newer kits started to add them as the carbs to be rebuilt were older and the accelerator pump diaphragms more prone to failure....

Posted by on in old photos
An early 1500 Ghia with German plates parked on a London street. The date "March 1962" and "Volkswagen 1500cc Karmann Ghia Coupé" are written on the back of each print.This car is unusual in that it's a solid color instead of the standard two-tone, and it's accessorized with a radio and whitewall tires. I guess a standard issue 1500 Ghia just wasn't special enough....

Posted by on in VW literature
Early VW 1500 brochures had dramatic layouts that employed panoramic photography. The photography and minimal modern typography gave the brochures a clean, smart, and contemporary feel, possibly taking a lead from Volkswagen of America's famous ad campaign by Doyle Dane Bernbach. Here are a few panoramic spreads from the 1962 VW 1500 full line brochure (click to enlarge):The VW 1500 cabriolet was included too. VW didn't officially pull the plug on it until the middle of the 1962 model year....

Posted by on in reproduction parts
After years of thinking about it and months of planning and research I finally have a manufacturer starting work on a reproduction of early 1500 Ghia upholstery fabric — the woven fabric used for the front and back seat inserts and door panels from 1961–63 and the seat inserts only from 1963–64. I asked 1500 Ghia owners which colors they would most like to see reproduced and the three most requested colors were red (554), silver (564), and cerulean (559), so that's what I'm having made. 3 yards will be needed for seats and door panels and 2 yards for seats only.Here are some samples of the original fabric (shown larger than actual size):554 red, originally used in black and pearl white cars from 1961–64 and anthracite cars from 1963–64.564 silver, originally used in anthracite and ruby red cars from 1961–64 and emerald green cars from 1963–64.559 cerulean, originally used in...

Posted by on in accessories
I found this NOS Blaupunkt installation kit a while back:It includes a speaker, mounting hardware, knobs, escutcheon, trim plate and complete installation instructions — everything you need except the antenna and the radio itself. The trim plate in particular is a sought-after part in the Type 34 community. Brand new ones almost never come up for sale. The speaker has never been unwrapped. It's been that way for 40 years so it can wait a little longer until the Ghia's finished.Here are the installation instructions in case they're of use to anyone (click to enlarge):Antenna template (the full size image is actual size so download with confidence):Noise suppression instructions for AM radios:Noise suppression instructions for FM radios:I have a very clean used Blaupunkt Frankfurt AM/FM/SW radio that I'll install in the Ghia using this kit. Since it's a universal kit for fitting any Blaupunkt model to a Type 34 Ghia it...