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winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


Germans and Italians working together, what could go wrong? Let's find out on my 4th air cooled adventure.

After nearly two decades of mostly lurking the SA forums and tracking project threads ranging from "mildly interesting" to "dear god what have you done?" I've finally got something that may be of interest to the Automotively Insane.

Over the years I've ticked the boxes on a few of the generally agreed upon enthusiast endorsed vehicles. Multiple Hondas including the CRX Si, 'a 91 BRG Miata (sold to someone on AI), the Jeep Cherokee 2dr Sport, an old school Bronco in high school, and my truest love... the air cooled VW's crown jewel as far as I'm concerned, the Karmann Ghia.



I bought this 1967 KG six months ago and have been keeping track of everything I've done since then with photos. I've decided to go ahead and put it all down here going forward so that I can share the progress with a few interested parties. Hopefully there's enough of the air cooled cult around here to appreciate the thread.

For the interested, here's a link to the sales video I saw that made me drive nearly three hours to check it out in person.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKdZTvxoAnk

My next post will begin the story properly and have more photos from when I took delivery, until then... keep hammering.

winter.mute fucked around with this message at 22:18 on Dec 1, 2019

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joat mon
Oct 15, 2009

I am the master of my lamp;
I am the captain of my tub.


The Karmann Ghia is one of the most beautiful cars ever made, and yours looks gorgeous!

bolind
Jun 19, 2005



Pillbug

That is gorgeous, and as an added bonus, that video taught my two-year old to say "Karmann Ghia"

Genderfluent
Jul 15, 2015



Can't wait! I'm a big fan of all air cooled vw's, but the Ghia is the most beautiful of all

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


bolind posted:

That is gorgeous, and as an added bonus, that video taught my two-year old to say "Karmann Ghia"

Thatís a good start for a kid.

According to my mom, as a toddler my favorite word to say was Maserati thanks to a Hot Wheels or Matchbox car my dad gave me.

winter.mute fucked around with this message at 01:02 on Nov 13, 2019

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


Let's be honest, this is a love story so why not start with a little history and some photos from the 90's that somehow look like they were taken in the 70's.

Back in 1993, after having my Isuzu totaled by a nice old lady with good insurance... in a Cadillac the size of an aircraft carrier. I was in need of a new car.
Being the early 90's I was living in a world without the internet (2 years before ebay! and 5 years before Google!) and used car searches were done with newspaper classified sections as well as Wheeler Dealer and Auto Trader magazines picked up at the local gas station or corner store. It was in one of these that I found an ad with a 1 inch black and white photo that looked like it was taken with a potato of a 1971 Ghia for sale.

This is that car, in a pretty close match for the potato quality photo.



After a two hour trip to check it out, I bought it on the spot (a theme emerges) even though it was a bit rough around the edges.
That's the moment when a 26 year love for the German appliance in an Italian dress truly began.



It wasn't long before the '71 fat chick was joined by an older sister... I picked up a '68 just under a year later.
In most cases this might be good news but not this time. The '71 was rear ended by a big rear end truck while I was stopped at a light, and thanks to the combination of the unibody and market value of Ghias in 1994 the insurance company wrote it off as a total loss. After a bit of negotiation they deducted the scrap value from the settlement and I kept the OG KG while using the payout to buy another.



The Green Machine was surprisingly sourced from the rental car agent who helped me after the big rear end truck parked itself in my back seat. I shared my story with them and their reply was " there's a guy at one of our other locations selling one of those" so I went to see him and bought it on the spot. And that's how I ended up buying a rough around the edges '68 Ghia from a guy named Robert Smith before I even got a settlement for the last one... did I mention I'm a huge Cure fan? It was almost too perfect.



The '68 body was in bad shape so I ended up selling off the '71 so the front clip could be used to repair another that had taken some massive nose damage and bought a basket case matching green '69 (image not found) with a solid body to try and combine with the solid bits of the '68.


After three years of assorted adventures with the Green Machines (perhaps some day I'll tell you the story of how i fell out of my Ghia while driving) I ended up in the position where it made more sense to sell them than keep them and my heart was broken.

Until May of 2019.

Humbug
Dec 3, 2006
Bogus

That's a drat nice car. Looks like you have a lot of experience with Karmann Ghias. I have a '69 bug that might due for some major work soon, so I will be following. Looks like we both have some weather seals in our future, unless you've taken care of it already?

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


After letting the Green Machines go, every few years or so I would check out what was available in the world of Ghias and after nearly 20 years of watching prices go up, I finally decided if I didn't buy one now it wouldn't be long before I couldn't afford one anymore.

So after about a year of keeping my eye out for the right one, six months ago I bought this beauty. In a wonderful case of symmetry my current Ghia was a two hour trip to see, and I knew I would buy it on the spot the moment I saw it.





Even though it's 52 years old, after a pretty thorough examination I was pretty impressed with how solid it was. There were a few things I noticed right away that would need attention but nothing that was a deal breaker. I wasn't looking for a garage queen or show car but something I wouldn't be afraid to drive and enjoy. This car belongs on the road, I need to be behind the wheel, and the huge smile will be on my face every time.

This project thread will mostly cover quality of life repairs or upgrades and any surprise mechanical repair issues I find along the way while I put together a comfortable, reliable daily driver.
I was fortunate enough to find a Ghia that was being sold on commission for someone who does air cooled repair and restoration so it's in pretty great mechanical condition.
Apparently me buying this was helping him finance the resto of a 23 window Bus, and to be honest, that's a thread I'd love to read.


Humbug posted:

That's a drat nice car. Looks like you have a lot of experience with Karmann Ghias. I have a '69 bug that might due for some major work soon, so I will be following. Looks like we both have some weather seals in our future, unless you've taken care of it already?

Weather seals are definitely on the list... stay tuned and you''ll see.

winter.mute fucked around with this message at 02:39 on Nov 15, 2019

mobby_6kl
Aug 9, 2009

"You are the best poster... do not let anyone say otherwise."


Awesome, one of the best looking cars IMO. Are these using the regular beetle power train? I've never driven one myself but those are pretty hateful little engines from what I've heard. Are you planning on doing anything about that?

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


mobby_6kl posted:

Awesome, one of the best looking cars IMO. Are these using the regular beetle power train? I've never driven one myself but those are pretty hateful little engines from what I've heard. Are you planning on doing anything about that?

They share all the same engines, transmissions, and other mechanical bits with the Beetle. The only differences between a Ghia and Beetle of the same year is the body and interior, the Ghia has wider floorpans but otherwise shares the same chassis.

The engine in this one was rebuilt to original specs and runs incredibly well. I may replace the points and condenser with electronic ignition at some point down the road to avoid having to adjust points and timing very often.

winter.mute fucked around with this message at 18:40 on Nov 15, 2019

madeintaipei
Jul 13, 2012



winter.mute posted:

That’s a good start for a kid.

According to my mom, as a toddler my favorite word to say was Maserati thanks to a Hot Wheels or Matchbox car my dad gave me.

Beautiful car! Rated 5.

Per the folks, my first word in German was, "fau-weh". Every time my father heard or saw a Beetle he'd say that to me. One day I heard one trundling down the road and it just popped out.
Took another month to teach me, "Käfer", lol.

LloydDobler
Oct 15, 2005

You shared it with a dick.



Cybernetic Crumb

Will be following, that car looks great. Get some lube on those door hinges. That salesman should have been embarrassed about that. "Great condition, well maintained *skreeeee*"

The electronic ignition is a no brainer, just do it. I'm into 60's Volvos and yeah it's the first modern update I do without any regard for originality. Points just plain suck.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


LloydDobler posted:

Will be following, that car looks great. Get some lube on those door hinges. That salesman should have been embarrassed about that. "Great condition, well maintained *skreeeee*"

The electronic ignition is a no brainer, just do it. I'm into 60's Volvos and yeah it's the first modern update I do without any regard for originality. Points just plain suck.

I hit it with some WD 40 white lithium the minute I got it home.

As far as distributors go I'm contemplating a 123\Tune+ it's fully programmable with an app over Bluetooth to adjust the ignition curve and shows an electronic dashboard with EV-counter, antitheft system by a PIN code, real time tuning, vacuum advance, boost retard, and soft rev-limiter. It may be a little overkill but an app that controls any aspect of a 52 year old car really sounds like fun.

Humbug
Dec 3, 2006
Bogus

winter.mute posted:

As far as distributors go I'm contemplating a 123\Tune+ it's fully programmable with an app over Bluetooth to adjust the ignition curve and shows an electronic dashboard with EV-counter, antitheft system by a PIN code, real time tuning, vacuum advance, boost retard, and soft rev-limiter. It may be a little overkill but an app that controls any aspect of a 52 year old car really sounds like fun.

Let me know how it goes if you go for it. 123 ignition is the preferred brand of my local ACVW shop. If nothing else, having wireless engine bay temperature and voltage readings without physical gauges would be nice. I'm not sure if you can set it up to pull timing over a set temperature, but that would have been great for me. I'm a bit jealous of your nice rebuilt engine.

I don't know where you stand on the great fuel filter location debate, but a lot of people suggest it shouldn't be on top of the distributor as it is in the video on yours. I can buy the argument that it gives extra failure/leak points right on top of a ignition source. Just a heads up if you weren't aware

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


Humbug posted:

Let me know how it goes if you go for it. 123 ignition is the preferred brand of my local ACVW shop....

...I don't know where you stand on the great fuel filter location debate, but a lot of people suggest it shouldn't be on top of the distributor as it is in the video on yours...

I wasn't familiar with the 123 until a visit to German Performance Options, the ACVW/Porsche shop here in Nashville and their air cooled guy swears it's the way to go. The engine is in such great shape it may be the last thing I touch on this adventure. I know that's very AI of me but who knows where the unexpected fun of a thread like this will pop up.


The last three Ghias I had actually had the fuel filter located to the left of, and below the coil a little behind the distributor. Not sure how much better that was but I may relocate it before too long.

Dagen H
Mar 19, 2009

Hogertrafikomlaggningen


Also, replace that filter with one that has a metal housing.

chrisgt
Sep 6, 2011



drat that car looks amazing. I've loved ACVWs ever since I worked for a run down old mechanic shop that used to specialize in them. About half the customers were the most miserable old cars on the road trying to make it one more year, and the other half were mint condition ACVWs. I grew to really enjoy those cars. I obviously have an italian car problem since I bought a biturbo, so this thing is the culmination of my (not so secret anymore) guilty pleasures.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


Continuing the story...

After making the trip to check it out (on a Thursday), I made a deposit to hold it and a bank transfer to complete the payment the next day, and It was delivered to me at work a few days later on a Tuesday.

Best. Day. Ever.

If you watched the video you have a pretty good idea of the condition but here's a few highlights on the things I noticed when checking it out and could address once I got it home.




The color is awesome (photos don't capture it) but the paint job isn't exactly perfect. That is actually a bonus as far as I'm concerned since I don't need to worry about getting my first scratch or ding in a parking lot.

The immediate things I noticed on inspection was the fact that a lot of the original items were very cool but would need to be replaced for reliability and there were some missing or altered finishing bits I would need to take care of to make it the daily driver I'm going for.

Things like the original 52 year old German spare tire...


Possibly the original fuel filler cap rubber...


The missing clutch pad, and door lock knobs...


The "unique" decision made with the fuses (they shouldn't all be 16 amp) that also began the search to discover the purpose of the mystery switch...



chrisgt posted:

drat that car looks amazing. I've loved ACVWs ever since I worked for a run down old mechanic shop that used to specialize in them. About half the customers were the most miserable old cars on the road trying to make it one more year, and the other half were mint condition ACVWs. I grew to really enjoy those cars. I obviously have an italian car problem since I bought a biturbo, so this thing is the culmination of my (not so secret anymore) guilty pleasures.

Fortunately I'm starting right where I want to be, in the middle ground... and my ultimate goal is to remain here where you can actually enjoy an old car.

Charles
May 9, 2004

zoom-zoom


Toilet Rascal

The speedometer goes to 90! That seems optimistic (or can they go that fast?). It's weird how the numbers on the speedo flip. Also I spot a kitty.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


Charles posted:

The speedometer goes to 90! That seems optimistic (or can they go that fast?). It's weird how the numbers on the speedo flip. Also I spot a kitty.

90 is a bit optimistic for the current drivetrain. I've had it on the highway and between 65-70 is a comfortable cruise. Getting over 70 it starts to get a little lift and starts to drift a bit and I think 75-80 would be pushing that 1500cc to its limit.

You'll probably catch sight of a few current cats in upcoming photos but that particular kitty was Paganini, named for the Italian composer.

IOwnCalculus
Apr 2, 2003





winter.mute posted:

As far as distributors go I'm contemplating a 123\Tune+ it's fully programmable with an app over Bluetooth to adjust the ignition curve and shows an electronic dashboard with EV-counter, antitheft system by a PIN code, real time tuning, vacuum advance, boost retard, and soft rev-limiter. It may be a little overkill but an app that controls any aspect of a 52 year old car really sounds like fun.

Holy poo poo that's cool. Expensive, but cool. Slightly bummed they only sell it as whole distributors though since my Opel has that same Bosch setup.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


IOwnCalculus posted:

Holy poo poo that's cool. Expensive, but cool. Slightly bummed they only sell it as whole distributors though since my Opel has that same Bosch setup.

Yeah, I'll be saving my pennies for a while before it's an option.


More of the story...

So after a little online shopping I replaced a few of the quick fix bits, clutch pad, lock knobs, gas cap seal and picked up some essentials like the jack plate which allows the use of something other than the somewhat questionable original VW jack.




and if your going to join the Air Cooled Cult, it's important that you get the sacred texts...


With that, and a few days driving under my belt I decided getting a working radio would be my starting point... You know, knock out something easy first.
The tape deck in the dash didn't power on (also, I have no tapes) and there were no speakers to be found in the car, although it looked like there had been something installed under the dash at some point.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


At this point I wasn't really planning a project thread but was taking the occasional photo so this process isn't fully documented.

So I started looking for a head unit that would fit in the stock opening without cutting the dash and quickly realized the only option was a retrosound and I wasn't interested in going that route. So an under dash mount was the second best option, but what about the opening in the dash?

well... there's this.

I found this in the storage area behind the rear seat. It was in a box for a swivel bracket mounted, all weather marine speaker from the 80's. I'm assuming that's what was previously mounted under the dash.

The plan at this point is to put the old Sapphire in the dash opening, a new head unit in an enclosure under the dash, a set of speakers up front and a small sub and amp in the storage area behind the back seat.

I ordered some Glass Action fiberglass speaker panels, picked up some JBL 6.5 speakers, an 8" JBL subwoofer, a power matched amp to run all of it , and a Kenwood cd player.



Once everything was installed and wired up I ran into my first problem.

Everything worked great unless the engine was running. There was a loud clicking and popping from the speakers that increased with engine rev.
So the troubleshooting begins.

First, check all the grounds and connections. Anyone who's ever had an old VW knows that ground wires are usually just screwed to the body from the factory and who knows what has been done over the years.



I went through and cleaned up all the connections, made sure everything was crimped and shrink tubed and consolidated the grounds with a neat, simple little item VW started putting in the Vanagon in the 80's to take care of all the accessories. I ordered a grounding tree from GoWesty. I highly recommend one of these for anyone with an old VW that has a number of grounds to the body behind the dash. It's only and helps clean up the wiring nicely. I replaced the small screw that comes with it with a small bolt and locking nut.




I also added an inline noise filter to the main power for the stereo. None of it worked, the popping was still there.
Not being a grounding or connection issue I figured it must be a voltage issue... so lets regulate.




Pulled what I'm assuming might actually be the original 52 year old Bosch and replaced it with a new solid state unit.
Success, I now have a properly working stereo.

While running wire I noticed a bit of surface rust on the floor pans peeking out from under the tar boards.
Since the carpet was original and mostly just dry rot, I figured cleaning up the floor pans and putting down a new carpet kit would be next on the list.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


After deciding carpet would be my next project, this happens.




I'm on my way to work, and less than a mile from arriving, I see a deer come out of the trees along the right side of the road in front of me. There's no other cars around so I get on the brakes and move into the oncoming lane just as it puts its head down and bolts. It hits with a double thud and I see it in my rear view roll on the pavement, get up and run back in to the trees.

Unable to see the damage from the driver position I finish the trip to work expecting the worst. I got out, checked the front end and was shocked by the relatively limited amount of damage to the fender, but still it's not good.

When I go in the shop and they hear what happened, my bosses tell me to take a personal day call my insurance company and get it sorted out. The first part of my day is spent visiting my insurance agent, several body shops for estimates, and GPO my local air cooled shop to see if they have any recommendations for a body shop.

That deer's timing was impeccable.

GPO had just begun a partnership with a shop about an hour away to be their official paint, restoration, and body shop. I took the drive out there so they could examine the damage and write up a quote while I checked out their work. There was a '63 and '65 Ghia, a Porsche 914, a VW Bus, some motorcycle tins, and several newer German vehicles in various states of paint and repair that convinced me they were the right choice. I drop it off a few days later and they get to work.



Insurance paid out without any issues and just under two weeks later I got the car back looking amazing like nothing ever happened.


winter.mute fucked around with this message at 22:34 on Dec 1, 2019

joat mon
Oct 15, 2009

I am the master of my lamp;
I am the captain of my tub.


FUUUUDDDGGGE

...

...

Whew!

Minnesota Mixup
Apr 27, 2003

Just a bit further



Plaster Town Cop

joat mon posted:

FUUUUDDDGGGE

...

...

Whew!

This was me exactly. Cool thread and gorgeous car. Thanks for putting in the time to share this.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


Minnesota Mixup posted:

This was me exactly. Cool thread and gorgeous car. Thanks for putting in the time to share this.

Thanks, the fun really begins with the next few updates.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


With the deer damage detour dealt with it was time to put the alliteration behind us get back on track.

Prior to being sidetracked I had planned to work on the interior. I didn't want to do a stock restoration and couldn't really afford to do a full custom job so I ordered some swatch samples from TMI to do a mid-tier semi custom job.



After a bit of time to decide I landed on the combo of a charcoal carpet (bottom right) and a two tone charcoal grey vinyl (center left) and sapphire tweed (bottom middle) for the door panels and seat upholstery.

The carpet and door panels were ordered before the deer incident but the insurance deductible put the seat upholstery on hold.
Once the carpet arrived I made sure to lay it out and let the experts examine it



Once Syd and Jupiter gave it their seal of approval it was time to get started, so pitter patter, let's get at 'er.
The first weekend was spent removing the seats, carpet, and bits of padding.




It wasn't until the tar boards came out that I got a good idea of what was ahead of me... there was a bit of surface rust on the floorboards that would need to be dealt with.




and so it begins...

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


After a quick trip to the hardware store to pick up some wire brushes, loctite naval jelly, rust-oleum spray, and corroseal rust converter I was feeling pretty prepared for the next stage.






I spent the next weekend with wire brushes, a shop vac, and some degreaser cleaning off as much loose rust, dirt, and other funk from the floorboards and rear storage area. It was pretty impressive how solid the pans were under the surface rust, there were no holes to be found. The driver side had a couple of dents from below like it had bottomed out on something at some point and a rough texture after the rust removal. Over all I was pretty happy with the results.

Minnesota Mixup
Apr 27, 2003

Just a bit further



Plaster Town Cop

Wow, looks like you got pretty lucky with that.

Seat Safety Switch
May 27, 2008

MY RELIGION IS THE SMALL BLOCK V8 AND COMMANDMENTS ONE THROUGH TEN ARE NEVER LIFT.



Pillbug

Yeah, I expected you'd have a few more holes than that.

slothrop
Dec 7, 2006

consider your chops: busted




Soiled Meat



Nice work! that looks great. I bet that was a long and boring job

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


Minnesota Mixup posted:

Wow, looks like you got pretty lucky with that.

I was told the pans were solid but I was still a little surprised at how well they held up for the past 52 years.


Seat Safety Switch posted:

Yeah, I expected you'd have a few more holes than that.

Only holes found were 4 under the rear seat made from having something screwed down to the floor pan.


slothrop posted:



Nice work! that looks great. I bet that was a long and boring job

I probably put 10-12 hours into it over the course of weekend, the worst part was cleaning up all the dust generated. After all the vacuuming I went through a ridiculous number of shop towels wiping it off of every surface and when I showered afterward there was so much in my hair it felt like it was water resistant.

winter.mute
Jan 5, 2010


After all the cleaning, the next weekend was set aside for adding a little protection.

I started in the rear storage area with some rust-oleum rust converter spray and put some sound deadening on the rear deck and once the rust-oleum dried I put some sound deadening in the storage area to help cut down on noise later.



The next layer was this foil backed rear luggage compartment carpet pad and sound deadener



With the rear deck and storage area mostly sorted, I started on the pans. I gave everything another quick clean and got to work with the corroseal.





It went on easy and then it was just a matter of waiting 24 hours for it to cure

winter.mute fucked around with this message at 21:18 on Dec 24, 2019

taqueso
Mar 8, 2004









Fun Shoe

oooh ahhhh

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Seat Safety Switch
May 27, 2008

MY RELIGION IS THE SMALL BLOCK V8 AND COMMANDMENTS ONE THROUGH TEN ARE NEVER LIFT.



Pillbug

Corroseal is one of those surprisingly good things. I donít think itís magic but it works.

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