This is Phillip Rogers 1965 Arcona White & Black 1965 1500S Type 34.
Phillip completely restored the Ghia in 1991 since then he has covered over 230,000 Miles! With two First place trophies at Kelly Park and a car that still looks fantastic 200,000 miles after the restoration, it really is an inspiration. Phillip has been kind enough to write a few words about his car.
It was late November of 1981, a few weeks after my first car, a 1970 VW Fastback, was rear-ended, that I got my introduction to this French 1500S while it was parked on Lombard Street in San Francisco.
At first, I didn't know what make of car this was until I looked on the rear of the car and it said VW 1500S with the Karmann Ghia script on the rear trunk lid. Then I noticed a sun faded “FOR SALE” sign with a asking price of $4000 crossed out with a phone number. I then took a closer more detailed look at the interior, the body, the underside of the engine and said to myself “it looks like it has a lot of Type 3 parts and has very unique body lines and window glass.”
While walking around the car six or seven times I'm also wondering what am I getting into here with this unique looking VW and a sun faded for sale sign with a pretty rich asking price for a 22 year old.
I called the owner and he said another party has a interest in purchasing the car as a first car for their daughter and was willing to pay the $4000. He then proceeded to ask if I would be interested in being the contingent buyer in case the first buyer decides to pass on the sale and I said “yes.” Four days later the owner calls to ask if I'm still interested and of course now I'm still wondering how am I going to deal with the asking price.
I met with the owner and he said he purchased the car from the original owner while he was on a skiing vacation in France and decided it would be cheaper to buy the 1500S than to rent a car for three months (smart ski bum). At the end of his vacation he shipped the car from Deauville, France to New York and then drove the car to his home state of Ohio and then to Stanford, California.
The car sat in a garage for three years with one French plate, French ownership papers, shipping documentation, one set of keys and two black and white 8x10 photos while still not registered in the United States.
We took the car for a test drive and it drove beautifully. I offered $2000 and he excepted my offer and deposit of $100. I then had to figure out how am I going to get the other $1900. That week I was busy fixing up my rear-ended Fastback for sale and to see if I could get a short term loan from my brother Craig.
After showing Craig the 8x10 pictures and going over the condition of the car he decided to loan me the $1900. I purchased the 1500S the next day and the following day I sold the Fastback for $1500. The following week I payed Craig back on his short term loan.
While I was going to film school in Hollywood in 1982, I had the pleasure of meeting the late Minnie Crutcher with her French 1965 Type 34 Ghia in the parking lot of the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. She parked her car next to mine and we compared notes about our cars and all the miles we drive and that both of our cars were from Paris. I remember her saying “I like to drive my car everywhere, and especially Mexico.” Just before she drove away she said “I think our cars are twins.”
I also had a chance to speak with Scott Perry over the telephone a few years after he had purchased Minnie's car when he was active in the Type 34 Registry and during our conversation he said “Phillip, I have had a picture of your car on my refrigerator for years and I'm going to use it as an inspiration for the restoration of my car.” Scott did a magnificent job of restoring Minnie's car and I'm sure in spirit she is extremely pleased.
Over the past 25 years, I have managed to drive my car more than 230,000 miles in the first nine years and another 200,000 miles after the restoration which was done 16 years ago (1991).
I have seen the KM odometer trip to zero several times. At the same time I have also managed to keep this car in it's original luster through restoration and good maintenance. The interest and enthusiasm I have for my car and the hobby can not go without thanking:
1. My brother Craig for loaning me $1900 to purchase this car.
2. My brother Glenn with helping do the first engine rebuild on the car.
3. My Dad for showing me how to keep a car looking new and to keep it alive.
4. Lee Hedges and Scott Perry for all the information and history they have supplied over the years to the Registry.
5. Tim Dapper for misc. parts and his vast knowledge of the Type 34 over the years.
6. Paul Colbert for setting the bar on Type 34 restoration about as high as it can ever go.
7. My wife Marguerite for naming the car Princess Ghia and making her outstanding potato salad for the car shows at Kelly Park.
8. My daughter Marie Isabella and my son Nathan who love to go for a ride in the back seat on the weekends.
9. And of course the Type 34 Registry for helping me tell my story.