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So, some of you know that I added another car to my mini-fleet. If you haven’t heard, it is a very solid KG coupe that I picked up via Bring a Trailer back in September. Here is the listing:

Plenty of photos and a nice little video within. As you’ll see, it’s a pretty nifty and solid car. The seller had only recently acquired it from the previous owner of 27 years. Supposedly, the clutch pedal and the new owner’s arthritis did not see eye to eye.B2923C9A-2D5D-44F4-B16B-C22921FA3767

Crash Test Dummy Guy


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But wait you say! Why are you babbling on about a Karmann Ghia project here?

Well, I am a past owner of a Beck Speedster, met many of you wonderful guys and gals over the course of 7-8 years. I’ve attended Carlisle 6 out of the past 7 years and sell you all the t-shirts year after year.

So I’ve been around and thought you’d enjoy following along on this project.9B8B367C-2F2C-40A9-88C0-4752A26F009689CA3640-92E7-47D8-B7A3-579AE359D3FB


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The Beetle above has something to do with the project. A couple of years back, I took it down to Carey and the Special Edition bidy shop for a little repair work caused by one of the many suicidal deers roaming our great country. Omce down there, it’s about a 200 mile trip from my home, the Beetle had developed an oil cooler leak. In my case, the oil cooler is within the fan shroud and had spread a wonderful mist of oil all over the engine bay.

That said, the Bug needed a liitle attention and that’s where my friend Scott Hansen stepped up to the plate. I am really not a wrench as many of you know. I met Scott at our local, annual VW Club show. I had my Beck Speedster on display and Scott stopped to talk Speedsters. He told me he was in the middle of a long build on his CMC. He lived out near my general area and we would bump into each other over the years at other shows etc.

Finally last June, Stan Galat had a reason to come up to visit me and fortunately it was the same day as the annual VW Show again. Stan has been following Scott’s build here since he finally started showing some of his progress here and on the Facebook page.

So Stan and I made it to the show and as luck would have, Scott was finally able to drive his creation and there it was. And what a beautiful job he has done so far. It’s not finished yet, but what is there is a masterpiece. Scott is a great craftsman and his Speedster  shows off his skills.

Here’s a few shots from that meeting. Stan and Scott enjoyed the brief encounter and we also got to meet Scott’s brother who has his own dune buggy and Beetle, also very nicely put together.  Mike is a cabinet maker by trade and rebuilt the 356 wheel on Scott’s Speedster.DEEC8794-7D44-4EAA-AADF-C5C119D71F750DA3C5D0-FCC6-4FF6-9FB4-7091EDBFD8BEC7A8E07B-37C5-464E-A61F-3F602F40EBEBA26EC658-7593-4BB4-8FFF-C8361AD3AFC73CC582AD-4554-476D-8FB2-78FA2FCFD4F3


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Bob: IM S6 posted:

Rich.  If Marty can post about his Alfa restoration, there is no issue with you doing the same about a Ghia (which is, of course, rear engined and air cooled).  We all love cars, and love to hear about someone's current project.  By the way, that is a beautiful Ghia - reminds me of the two I have owned.

And if whats'is face, trolling for work (and asking questions but never actually contributing anything), can show us all the wonderful projects he works on, your Ghia is more than welcome here, Rich, and much appreciated. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do.

5FF86830-2B73-4032-984A-ADD7576CCF5161AF5050-DB8A-41C1-9BF9-A7CC203D27DD33F8CFA5-032E-4BE8-ADF4-5F0B81DEFAF98899B138-AF6D-4B3D-80CA-B5C10EDE96C140DAFDCD-73C7-42C6-87B7-663F61BC2A9DIt was at this VW Show that Scott had learned about my Beetle oil cooler leak. Sure enough, around early October, Scott got in touch and said he’d like to help me out. I  I had just had the Ghia delivered and I said c’mon over and we can talk. That weekend he stopped by on a Saturday mornig, quickly ascertained that the oil cooler was probably leaking. Scott mentioned it would be just as easy to remove the engine of the Beetle to get at the shroud.

At this point, the conversation got interesting. We moved over to the Ghia to take a closer look and Scott agreed that it looked very nice and straight and solid. He took a quick peek at the pan and thought it looked really good.

As the other Scott (Mendeola suspension on Speedster post) mentioned how he became enamored with Kevin Zagar’s Mendeola kits, so had I. And I had strarted to imagine how these kits could transform my new Ghia. It was money and the skills to do it. I hinted to Scott that maybe he could be my savior for such a project and he hardly flinched. “Yes,” he said, “I’d be willing if I can convince my wife.”

Within a week or so we were off to the races. I contacted Kevin to question him on the scope and availability of his kits. He was positive about the project and soon kevin, Scott and I had nice conversation. Kevin and Scott talked the same language while I was thinking about financing (my function).

Long story short, The engine came out of the Ghia and installed into my bug in about 4 hours a week or so later.This was done in hopes of attracting a quick sale of my Beetle that would help in the financing department. Regardless, no quick sale emerged, it’s still in there for now.

The engineless Ghia was tralered over to Scott’s shopfor the preliminary work. The engine bay was one of the shortcomings of the Ghia. It just hadn’t been cleaned up properly compared to the rest of the car.

Trying to keep himself on task, Scott started to attack that project while he waited for me to get the big parts ordered from Zagar. That stuff is now on order, should be here within a week I hope. 

Meanwhile, Scott sends me these photos yesterday to show me his excellent progress. He had already discovered a rust patch under where the battery used to sit. I got him a new replacement and new sheet metal for the rear fender void that was covered in a stock cardboard material. You can see some of Scott’s metal work already now that it is all shined up. I am impressed!


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There was one small rust spot under where the battery was normally placed on the Ghia. Both sides had been patched with a couple of small aluminum panels.. As you can see, Scott has already attended to these.

once the body comes off we’ll be able to see what’s going on with the pan. Our hopes are there will be little to know work other than a good clean up and maybe a good paint job. Finders crossed until that happens.

This is what it looked like before the engine came out and where the 2016 cc  sits in my Beetle for now.240C6D5C-BDE5-42C3-9A2C-9505DE8DB7887DDD27DF-6E27-46B0-A198-D5120CB32C19


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As things progress along this winter, I am finding my own parts of this project that I can actually do or arrange. Consider me the “Mike of Wheeler Dealers.” 

Throughout this early portion of the project I have been scouring the internet for other ideas etc. I cameacross this Australin mad max guy, bulder of monsters and racing of same. He also has a daily driver KG that he has installed some 911 SC seats into. It immediattely got me thinking that I neededto do the same since it looks like they fit nicely with very little work.

I found a decent set in eBay and have them in my possesion now. I’ll need to get them resurfaced etc., probably in black leater and maybe Alcantra inserts...Kevin Zagar suggests seats that hold you in place once you make the move to the Mendeola suspension.

Here is Wayne Penrose’s Ghia (he can be found on Facebook and other sites via Google) with his 911 seats installed. My Ghia currently has a very nicely done cloth interior that I don’t want to redo right now, but figure I can get these 911 seats to work well within.

My 911 seats are all analog adjustments so there is not electric controls to concern myself with. I believe a slight adjustment tothe existing Ghia seat supports to accept the sliders that is all needed.


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Oh, ya, I have decided to go with covering my 911 seats in grey leather rather than black. I stumbled onto a supplier from MA, The price and quality seems right for this project. Not everything has to be top shelf, though I do have a friend in DC thay put these into his 250k mile ‘80 Targa and he sent me photos.

The medium grey seems to work better with all the grey cloth in there now and the better comfort of the 911 seats should be a welcome addition once I get back inside of this thing.F9E5CF89-7642-4D58-B158-1E49408318FDCF92FC70-9534-4B5E-A9D5-B323D80E9B5E9BB09843-711A-45A8-BE53-F7AA5EA64162


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A bubch of us faced off on the SOC FB page last night and today. Most of you here were threre. The fact that I fell in love with these wheels had a lot to do with the fact that they actually fit the guidelines set by Kevin Zagar. Of course there are plenty of other wheels that I like and may have looked cool. The problem was that most didn’t fit. Now, I have to keep my fingers crossed that Tire Rack doesn’t sell the last set in America by the time I call on Monday when my charge card billing cycle starts again. I need a good tax refund to help me out of this problem.

In the spirit of other cars we have or have had. I was thinking of a VW Beetle I had that we installed a Corvair flat 6 air cooled engine into. The engine was built to run in reverse of it's normal direction to work with the VW transaxle. We had other conversions like this that we flipped the ring and pinion in the transaxle instead. I remember the stock VW gearing  wasn't the best match for the Corvair engine. This engine shown in the VW pictured put out about 160 HP and 140 ft/lbs of torque. The reverse rotating engine caused oil to be thrown out the crank case vent tube. This was something of a problem if I remember correctly.

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That's similar to the engine I had in a Deserter Dune Buggy, back in the day.  I flipped the R&P on mine so I never had the oil belching issues but it was a lot of engine for stock transaxles back then.  Used it mostly for Autocross and had to do a bit to the pan suspension to get it to handle, but eventually it became a terror on the track.  The Northeast SCCA got too many complaints from people that got beat so they created a "Kit Car/Modified" class for it (E modified, IIRC - I think Piperato runs his Spyder in that class)  so I ended up racing against myself or for FTD.  Not a lot of fun after that so I sold it to a kid in Connecticut.  That was around 1972.

E mod is basically a tube frame car/race car. Non-production. SCCA doesn't care if it's a replica or not, only that it is non-production and tube frame. Where we differ on the Spyder from original is fiberglass rather than aluminum but that would probably still run the same class.

I believe that is how Carey and Co. does vintage racing with the 904: tube frame/fiberglass body(as original) and the original 904 had a 4, 6, and 8 in it originally.

All I remember was a lady Veterinarian from a couple towns over who would complain to the officials as soon as I showed up.  Before my Deserter came along she always used to win her class (Under 2.5 liters) and was more than a little upset when she started losing (wicked pissed doesn't begin to describe it.....Vocal, too).  She was good, but in a Dune Buggy, I had a driving brake and a lotta torque!  

After they put me in that other class (all by myself, back then) all I could shoot for was fastest time of the day and then I was competing against someone with a Lotus Seven - My God, but that thing could handle an Autocross track...  That's when it wasn't as much fun so I quit.

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