Karmann Ghia Blog
Initial purchase: 8/14/2013 (Weds)


0816 (3) KarmannGhia.JPG 0816 (1) KarmannGhia.jpg 0816 (2) KarmannGhia.jpg

8/14 (Weds):

Uh oh... what have I done... I just plunked down 2300 bucks on a non-working 73 Karmann Ghia. It'll need lots of TLC to get working, but the guy I bought it from is someone I can trust (we work together) and the body looks in fair shape. I rented a UHaul to tow it from his house to mine on Friday (8/16) and found a nice body shop to start with some of the work that I want to be done right (like painting and welding certain areas). I'll drop it off there on Saturday after having it spend a night at my place.

Hours spent: 3 hrs.

8/16 (Fri):

Ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go right? I had every intention of dropping the car off at the body shop, but couldn't for the LIFE of me find the darn location! I drove all the way out to east Longmont with Ghia in tow only to discover that the intersection where I was expecting to see our body shoppers wasn't there. Plus, nobody was answering the phone! I jotted the intersection down on a post-it note that I left at my desk, so went by the office in Gunbarrel, and then back to the intersection... I've been driving all over Longmont and Gunbarrel all morning to no avail (with Ghia in tow, no less!).

So I had to drop off the UHaul after unloading the Ghia at my house.

Yep, complete waste of time. Later this afternoon, the owner got back in touch with me and apologized and said usually people aren't working on Saturday (but I was promised someone'd be there this morning!) Gyuh.... upon dropping it off at my house, my next door and across-the-street neighbors all pitched in to help move it into my garage. Pretty light car without an engine.

Not to let a Saturday go to waste, I started on removing the moonroof that someone carved into the top of this thing (tragic!!) and cut out a replacement piece of sheet metal. Fits like a glove. Now I just need an English Wheel to get that roof curve right...

0817 (4) KarmannGhia.JPG 0817 (5) KarmannGhia.JPG 0817 KarmannGhiaFittedSheetMetal.jpg

8/18 (Sun):

The previous owner pulled out the engine from this vehicle so that he could lower the suspension, but never bothered putting it back together again... that was about 4 or 5 years ago... so this engine has literally been installed on an engine stand in his garage for about half a decade! Well, I didn't bother putting it back in, but I did start reassembly. Gonna need a few manuals...

So, whilst hammering the flywheel back onto the crankshaft, it turns out that the table holding the engine up wasn't sufficiently stable, so the whole thing went toppling down. My friend who was there helping out reached out to 'save' the engine but unfortunately only ended up cutting his poor hand.

The engine may not have sustained too much damage though - the crank pulley took most of the impact force and one of the bolts that holds the exhaust pipe is completely bent. I can still turn the flywheel, but I suppose we'll find out when we start it up for the first time. *sigh*

0818 (2) KarmannGhia.JPG 0818 (3) KarmannGhia.JPG 0818 (4) KarmannGhia.JPG

8/23 (Fri):

I've gone on a wreckless online shopping spree! I spent about 450 bucks on chrome, a few misc door parts and a specialized tow bar! (no more rentals!) I also purchased a replacement crank pulley (this time with red marks instead of the blue ones).

My beloved nephew also came over this evening so we put together a 'parts table' cuz heaven knows I'm gonna need as much storage space as I can get as I tear down this car to nothing.

On Saturday, I spent time cutting out replacement grommets for the intake manifold.

Chris, my bro-mo-sexual life partner, helped me modify the new parts table to hold more stuff. It was a good excuse to use the new 21 gal. compressor I purchased from Harbour Freight on Friday

I guess now is a good time to discuss what color I'd like to paint it... Orange! However, I'm not happy with the classic 'gull orange' that is original to these cars... need something more eye popping, but not gawdy... no metallic sparkles either. Yecch!

0823 (4) JuliusJohnnyProject.JPG 0824 (1) IntakeGasket.JPG 0824 (5) CarPartsTable.JPG

8/25 (Sun):

'Twas indeed a day to get my weld on! I pretty much welded holding strips onto the replacement piece and found that my work is simply too darn shoddy to even consider putting onto my car... I may want to experiment a little more before doing something so irreversable. Got a nice sunburn on my legs from the welder (I was wearing shorts).

0825 (5) GhiaRoofPanel.JPG 0825 (8) GhiaRoofPanel.JPG 0825 (10) GhiaRoofPanel.JPG

9/1 (Sun):

I've been tearing out a lot of stuff off this car. All the peripheral stuff and a great deal of the internals too. Been keeping close track of where everything goes.

It's especially a pity that I have to tear out the nice interior... I've been working on using a razor blade to also get rid of that hideous tinting off of all windows except the front windshield... I think the rear defroster is going to be hard to preserve...

0902 KG (1).JPG 0902 KG (2).JPG 0902 KG (4).JPG

9/7 (Sat):

So now it's time to tear apart the doors. There's a trick I learned that you have to remove the top scraper before taking out the glass (it won't fit out the side, it can only go out the top edge of the door.

I'm also running out of space to put stuff. What I wouldn't do for a third car space in my garage!

The glass came out pretty easily too, you just push on it and the rubber gasket around it isn't glued to anything. Amazing how it just came out like that. Wonder how I'm going to reinstall?

0907 (1) KarmannGhia.JPG 0909 (1) GhiaGlassRemoval.JPG 0909 (4) GhiaGlassRemoval.JPG

9/9 (Mon):

As I was ripping out the interior, I made a few interesting discoveries... namely that the driver's size quarter panel has been removed (as evidenced by the non-factory painted crimson primer inside... not a good sign, but may indicate why the deck lid doesn't close nicely

Also, I made a nice holder for all the glass to sit in and not take up so much space in the garage lying flat.

Took forever to figure out, but I saw a guy on youtube remove a VW Beetle seat - ya just have to lift the lever at the bottom and scoot the seat all the way forward on the runners and it eventually slides right off! These seats are in great shape...

0909 KG (12) OddQtrPanel.JPG 0909 KG (6) All Glass.JPG 0909 KG (7) Seats.JPG

9/19 (Thurs):

So, I went on Craigslist and found another 1969 Karmann Ghia that someone was pretty much parting out. He was throwing it all out there for about 1000 bucks. I took a look, haggled him down to 750 (what a nice guy, eh?) and towed it away with my new tow bar (he was in Parker)

I'm on the fence as to whether I want to invest the time and energy to restore this unit... 1969 was a good year; it has those cool tail lights but the front is a 1971 (someone hacked it in two). And, can you believe it? Someone put a danged moonroof on this one too!! Gyaaah!!

Anyhoos, I made a nice chrome holder and also made a pair of LED-based turned signals... they should be more energy efficient than the orginials. I resin-casted the shape.

0919 (2) ChromeStorage.JPG 0919 (5) BlinkerProject.JPG 0919 (6) BlinkerProject.JPG

9/22 (Sun):

Started tearing out stuff from the dash. The clock seems to be non-working, even after I apply 12V... after some online research I found out that there was a special solder used to act as a fuse if there was ever a current spike through the clock... this one was blown. Time to get my watchmaker on!

Driving around Ft. Collins, I spotted a Ford GT and fell in love with the orange color... After a bit of internet searching, I discovered that this color is called "Grabber Orange" - my mind is offically set up.

0921 (3) DashWiring.JPG 0922 Clock (4).JPG 0922 GrabberOrange.JPG

9/25 (Weds):

After making a small ebay purchase for some watchmaker's oil, I got both clocks (one from the 73 and one from the 69) working. They both needed to be re-soldered and thoroughly lubed. They both seem a little slow though, even though I've got the calibration bolt locked all the way to max speed.

Well, the wires are pulled, the glass is out, the dash is stripped and the enterior is lying on a pile in my garage... time for the shop to take it from here!

0925 (11) ClockRepair.JPG 0928 (3) 73 GhiaWiring.JPG 0930 GhiaReadyForShop.JPG

10/2 (Weds):

So I towed the vehicle down to the East Longmont body shop and walked around the body, pointing out what all I wanted changed on it. They went to work by stripping off all the quarter panel's paint to discover that (oh boy) there's a TON of crud underneath! Needless to say, he needed a down payment and I wrote him a check for $1500.

On the plus side, I now have enough space in my garage to park an actual vehicle! With the weather getting colder, it's kinda nice to shelter your car overnight so that it's not such a pain to de-ice in the mornings.

Did I mention that I didn't get a title with this vehicle? The VIN matches the chassis, but the title seems to have disappeared (all I got was the folder with repair receipts pictured below). Normally this wouldn't be a problem except that the previous owner never bothered registering it in his own name... so technically it still belongs to some fellah in Arizona... my heart is starting to ache with angst...

1002 DriverAftQtrPanelStripped.png 1004 (3) Garage.JPG 1004 (5) 73KG PaperWork.JPG

10/10 (Thurs):

The Ghia continues to have the paint stripped off its body... further welding options that I've asked for (in addition to the remainder of the strip job) is going to cost about 5k!! [sticker shock!] What's happened is that pretty much every corner of this thing is rusted or bondo'ed.

Particularly, the rockers... someone bondo'd over rust and basically they turned into hard-shelled M&M's - shiny on the outside, but mud on the inside. Luckily, Amazon sold a pair or replacement rockers for $50. Expensive week... it'll be nice when all this is over.

While I was shopping around Goodwill (because I'm very poor now), I found a nice speaker box. Cutting holes into a classic car to accommodate speakers is the wrong way to do things. Speaker box is the way to go.

1010 SpeakerBox (1).JPG 1102 73 Ghia chassis bolts.JPG 1102 State of Ghia.JPG

11/2 (Sat):

Having not seen my car for quite awhile (I know the body shop is swamped with other projects), I volunteered to drop by today to help out in any way I could.

I made it my mission to remove the chassis from the frame by removing all the body bolts. There are a few things that have to happen before you can take off the body in addition to removing the bolts. The steering column has to be taken off (I think I broke my left ring finger doing this) and the brake line.

Well, I didn't complete this mission, but at least I got a good head start on it. It doesn't help that someone welded parts of the body onto the chassis (a huge no-no). Fewer things are starting to surprise me...

11/3 (Sun):

I spent the bulk of the day working on making a speaker recess for my non-10" woofer that I recieved from my ever-generous sibling.

I should also mention that I've been working on a bonded title. The Arizona Dept of Transportation has already responded to my request for a VIN search by telling that the vehicle is 'not in my name' - whatever that means. They instructed me to start with Colorado's DOT's VIN inspection (the lady at the DMV told me otherwise, but oh well). I don't care what kind of title I get... just gotta have this resolved.

11/3 (Sun):

I spent the bulk of the day working on making a speaker recess for my non-10" woofer that I recieved from my ever-generous sibling.
I should also mention that I've been working on a bonded title. The Arizona Dept of Transportation has already responded to my request for a VIN search by telling that the vehicle is 'not in my name' - whatever that means. They instructed me to start with Colorado's DOT's VIN inspection (the lady at the DMV told me otherwise, but oh well). I don't care what kind of title I get... just gotta have this resolved.

11/5 (Tues):

Took apart the deck lid handle in the shop today. The glass is very cracked from years of ice freezing then melting. Hopefully my efforts will amount to a better seal from moisture.

1105 deck lid handle (1).JPG 1105 deck lid handle (2).JPG 1105 deck lid handle (3).JPG

11/15 (Fri):

Today I had to haul my vehicle all the way up to the Golden Colorado police department to get the title inspected. It was not a fun trip.

Also, note that there's some clear evidence of driver side quarter panel collision. Ugly stuff.

1115 Ghia VIN inspection (1).JPG 1115 Ghia VIN inspection (2).JPG 1115 Ghia VIN inspection (4).JPG

11/27 (Weds/Hanukkah):

This is turning into an incredible expense. I've decided to stick with the original 70's style tail lights.

There's been a ton of shoddy repairs to whatever collision happened in the driver's side quarter panel. It's gonna cost me.

1127 (4) GhiaBodyWork.JPG 1127 (5) GhiaBodyWork.JPG 1127 (6) GhiaBodyWork.JPG

12/12 (Thurs):

Repairing the wheel wells cost a small fortune.

Got the antenna hole sealed.

Also sealed up a good number of the chrome mount holes. Also, we've cannibolized parts off of my red donor Ghia for the headlight sockets.

1212 GhiaBodyWork (1).JPG 1212 GhiaBodyWork (2).JPG 1212 GhiaBodyWork (5).JPG

2/21/2014 (Fri):

The rockers are completely rusted and need to be replaced.

The moon roof replacement appears to be coming along just fine. Wish I'd purchased an english wheel of my own with the money this has cost me...

0221 PrePaintBodyWork1.png 0221 PrePaintBodyWork2.png 0221 PrePaintBodyWork5.png

3/13/2014 (Thurs):

Finally got the body off the chassis. Unfortunately, the body shop seems to have little care as to how much 'outside' time the chassis gets, exposed to the elements

Both chassis and body are in pretty bad shape. Tons of fibre glass and cheapo newspaper filler repairs... unbelievable.

Hopefully they've been leveraging my donor red ghia which I have hauled onto their lot for their use.

0313 (10) GhiaChassis.JPG 0313 (13) GhiaWheelWell.JPG 0315 (1) ScrapGhia.JPG

3/26/2014 (Fri):

I found the color I've always wanted... ignore what I said before about the Ford GT color.... my real color is in an Audi TT called Papaya Orange.... it's this or nothing!!!

The moonroof is sealed.

I also found a clump of bondo inside one of my heat exchangers... a rather large chunk I might add.

0326 (21) PapayaOrange.PNG 0328 (7) KarmannGhia.JPG 0328 (10) KarmannGhia.JPG

4/24/2014 (Thurs):

They sealed up the wheel wells pretty well and the rockers are pretty much done.

0424 (31) Ghia.JPG 0424 (32) GhiaAftRocker.JPG

5/23/2014 (Fri):

Time for a little sanding now that we have the primer coat on the body.

0523 (1) GhiaPrimer.JPG

6/15/2014 (Fri):

The day has finally come! The car is beautiful... but at what cost? AT WHAT COST??

0606 Ghia Painted (1).JPG 0606 Ghia Painted (2).JPG 0606 Ghia Painted (3).JPG