Interested in Volkswagens? I am! This page is devoted to my new love "Karmann Ghia." No, its not a girl (or a lady), but one of the most beautiful cars ever built! And, it is an air-cooled vehicle; so no radiator, antifreeze or water to worry about!
Well, maybe you want to hear about my 1972 Karmann Ghia?
See, a few trees really do grow in Brooklyn!
Why else would you be reading my page! I purchased my Ghia in October 1997, after looking for several months. Of course the car was in Brooklyn, and I'm out in Suffolk County, 50 miles away. So, after talking to the owner/seller, I decide the car is definetly worth a look. This is after six months of going to see cars that the owner says on the phone are in mint condition, but I would only think of them as rusty "parts" cars.
So off to the city I go...finally I meet the 'soon to become' beast of burden Ghia of my dreams. The car is pretty sharp from a distance, and even close up I find it deceiving of showing the many hidden needed repairs. The car's body was pretty good, with no obvious rust holes. Under the wheel wells there are some small spots, but all-in-all, it passed the magnet test in the nose, doors and other problem rust areas (this means no, or very little bondo)! Unfortunetly, the pans are homemade jobs of thick sheet metal, but solid. I am not worried about my toes dragging on the LIE (Long Island Expressway), but I won't win any shows with these pans either.
Except for some missing trim and the wrong year front bumper, the car appeared great. Oh, the color is a midnight metallic blue(BMW color), not a VW color, but some day I'd like to bring it back to its original Saturn yellow (a very bright yellow)!
Well, the brakes were shot, and I mean shot! I needed a flat bed to bring the car home. Of course I have the worst timing and almost got to use a car trailer for free, except it was in use the morning I needed it. Oh well, $130 down the drain, luckily the seller split this cost with me!
So, The car is home and I go to park it in the garage, and, I can't start it! So the tow truck driver and I push it into the garage because I really needed to run out. I later found the starting problem, I was in gear trying to start the car...I didn't know the shift pattern, the $1.00 sticker with the shift pattern wasn't on the dash, and the shifter was very, very loose.
Well, I soon found out the real reason for my troubles - the transmission mounts were mush causing the tranny to bind up and that's why I had so much trouble starting the car. Changing the tranny mounts cleared up the shifting problem, but its a job that requires dropping the engine!
Well, about 6 months later, I was finally able to say "The car is on the road"! Registered, inspected and all tuned up and ready to go! Since dropping the engine and tuning it up, I've put hundreds of miles on the odometer without major problems! Yeah, I'm shocked too!! I was never one to do much autowork, beside change the oil and top the washer fluid off. All the work on the Ghia was a true test of my mechanical skills and especially my reading comprehension, trying to figure out which part the manual(s) (yes, I had to used three sometimes) referred to, and what to do with the parts.
So, I'll list some of my big accomplishments:
1) New brakes: shoes, pads, rebuilt calipers, front rotors, master cylinder and a change of fluid,
2) I replaced the shift coupler and bushing,
3) I got the directionals to work, and replaced most bulbs. I lucked out and didn't need a new wiring harness, but I did waste a few days getting the bird's nest of wires squared away!
4) Got a new carb., installed it and tuned.
5) Droped the engine and changed the trans mounts which were shot beyond belief! Installed new clutch kit and reinstalled the engine without too much incident! This fixed my shifting problem.
6) New starter cause I managed to break the original one in trying to drop the engine. Actually, it just kinda fell apart. The plastic housing broke as I loosened the bolts.
7) At the Norwalk VW show I got a gas flap mechanism for $10, a handle for $5, so for $15 I was able to fix the release unit. A Catalog lists this item for about $80, used!
8) Fixed wipers, they were staying in the up /_/ position. Found a loose nut on the mechanism that was to blame! No charge for once!
Picked up a very good used rear bumper for $45, so I will replace this. Also found a rear lid release cable and assembly for $5 at the Norwalk show! Other finds - jack $5, lug wrench kit in vinyl bag, $5, badge $2 not the best but usable.
This fall ('98) I was able to get a correct ('72-74)front bumper that was in usable shape for around $75, its okay...for now.
I also got some heat going to the back vents...now I just need to cut the carpet to allow the heat into the car! The front will need to wait till new heater channels can be installed! The car is not really a daily driver, so heat hasn't been a problem for me. Changing the heater box control cables is really easy if you have the manual!
Hey, I managed to win 3rd place at a local VW show (Long Island Octoberfest '98) in the Ghia catergory! Okay, okay . . . you caught me . . . there were only four Ghias entered! LOL
Get the pans and heater channels fixed - Maybe have the car media blasted and painted its origional yellow color. Of course winning the lottery will enable me to do all this much more quickly.
Well, hope I didn't bore you too much!
Wait, don't leave yet...There's more very important Ghia specific info below!
Got a question about Ghias? Need help in restoring one, looking for a Ghia for sale in your area, facts on their production or just about anything else on Ghias, ask the Karmann Ghia Mailing List! The list exists for the exchange of information and questions on VW Karmann Ghias. The list fowards to all subscribers a copy of any post submitted to it.
To subscribe, go to www.onelist.com and search for Karmann Ghia. There are also other lists dealing with other air cooled VW's, so you can join two or three for the price of one (its free!)
Remember - Always try to check the repair manuals first before posting a question!
So, you want to know all the details Volkswagen has on the Ghia you own? Well its possible to find out! That's right, just send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org In your request list: Type of VW (Ghia, Beetle, etc.), year, and the VIN which is the number on the dash pad (among other locations on the car and is the number Motor Vehicles has on your registration). The e-mail is going to Germany, but you can write your request in English (please spell check first and be polite). In about two weeks VW of Germany will snail mail (regular mail) you a letter (on official VW letterhead) with the model of your car, engine number, color (not always available, they stopped keeping this info during the later years), the production date, delivery date and destination of your car! Its like having the birth certificate of your car!
Please take a few moments and sign my guestbook! If you own a Ghia please tell me a little about it. I try to answer questions posted, but don't always have time to. Ask the Ghia mailing list (see above), thats why its there! Thanks for signing the guestbook! My Guestbook
Well, this is the original color and style of my present car. The previous owner painted it the blue color.
How's the weather?
Just some of my favorite Ghia links to follow:
Go here for Karmann Ghia's and parts for sale/wanted
Faye's Ghia Stories from hell! Excellent Page and story line...don't miss it!
Ghia mailing list to post questions about our Ghias!
Market Place VW
House of Ghia - Ghia Parts Supplier
Karmann Ghia World
Misc. Ghia Page
Karmann Ghia Parts and Restoration
Karmann Ghia Club of North America
Misc. Ghia Page
Ghia models for sale
Hot VW's Magazine site
Erik's VW Page
Search auctions for Ghia items!
Want a free home page like mine?
A new page that covers classic to new VW's
Gilbert's Ghia Page
Future things I want to cover include: