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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 General
http://www.vdubber.com/m/photos/get_image/file/c92810d7d7c43554a4a39148e9504061.jpg
Regular readers of my blog will know that the Type 4 engine, and Porsche 911 gearbox that I have built for the Razoredge has been borrowed for use in my salt flat race car. Whilst pondering on how much grief it would be to get it installed in both the Oval and the Ghia, and be able to swap them over without too much of an issue, I came to the conclusion that it was simply too much hassle. Whilst I had always dreamed of the big Type 4 powered Type 34. Now, after some 15 years of building it, and having moved to a different country, I've decided that I simply would like to get it on the road. There's no point in having a fast road car here in South Australia. There are no drag strips, very few race tracks, and with cops that hide in bushes with...

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 General
Finally making some progress on the boy - have started stripping to bare metal, only finding a few small unexpected surprises. I knew about the bog in the nose from an accident and some rust in the RHF panel but was a little disappointed to find some in the LHR and LHF panels. Nothing too bad though - have stripped, cut out and will fill with a Polyurethane based filler. Now, to do an assessment of the molds and stripping - might be making the call out for parts soon! some photos posted on my gallery... ...

Posted by on in General
Finally making some progress on the boy - have started stripping to bare metal, only finding a few small unexpected surprises. I knew about the bog in the nose from an accident and some rust in the RHF panel but was a little disappointed to find some in the LHR and LHF panels. Nothing too bad though - have stripped, cut out and will fill with a Polyurethane based filler. Now, to do an assessment of the molds and stripping - might be making the call out for parts soon!some photos posted on my gallery......

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 General
looks like a lot of 'fun' work! Where in OZ are you? Mine's in the shop, undergoing resto. We had the engine running last week and it's about to get stripped to bare metal... 8O ...

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...