This is a complete, nuts and bolts restoration of a beautiful German icon, brought back from America, this left hand drive example of the marque has been completely stripped, sandblasted and painted; the chassis has been stripped, all rot removed, new panelwork welded in, then re-sandblasted and painted.
All suspension elements have been shotblasted and powdercoated, or replaced with new where necessary, including new shocks, seals and bushes. New interior, an upgrade to the engine and a swathe of shiny bits make this a truly rare and wonderful example of an amazing car.
When this project was taken on, the car didn't look to be in too bad a condition, however, upon removing the shell, the chassis showed that it needed significant work.
Shotblasting revealed the true condition, but thankfully it wasn't as bad as some poor examples, the floor pan was replaced, but the main structual members was solid and simply needed tidying up.
The main chassis was then re-blasted and painted gloss black to both protect it and look pretty whilst doing so.
All suspension metalwork was powdercoated, with a few pieces being replaced where necessary; connecting these to the chassis are all new shocks, bushes and seals, with a reconditioned steering box and new hoses throughout.
The gearbox was stripped and reconditioned, although thankfully most of the gears had little wear on them and only a couple needed to be replaced. The whole assembly was then rebuilt with new seals and thrust bearing.
5 Stud hubs were fitted to allow for the custom wheels, which, when combined with the lowered 8" stance really set off the side profile and make for an improved and more exciting ride.
The shell was in a similar condition to the chassis, pretty good, but in need of a little TLC. Once clean, some welding was required around the lower regions, which was done seamlessly, providing beautifully clean lines.
The dash on this model is usually covered with a less than aesthetically pleasing cap, so to improve the look, the backing plate was welded up to provide a contiguous piece, which, after paint makes for a much nicer look and feel.
The shell was then placed on a rotisserie and painted inside and out; the Karmann Ghia doesn't use a complete interior, the shell is visible in numerous places, so perfect bodywork is a must in order to ensure the overall look isn't compromised.
All new brightwork, lamps and lenses adds the finishing touch to the look, with new bumpers and re-chromed trim, an absolute must for an icon of the 60s.
The original seats were in remarkably good condition, which, once cleaned, didn't need any further restoration, however, that is where the good news ended.
The door cards, carpets and coverings were sadly beyond repair and had to be replaced, however, the new items bring the interior up to the standard becoming of the exterior.
All interior surfaces were covered with Dynamat to reduce the reverberation, this is, after all, a 1960's car and they weren't made with the best acoustics; on top of that, the floor and ceiling was covered with Dynaliner, a foam second layer to improve insulation and further reduce road noise. Together, with the carpet and roof liner completing the surfaces, it's a much nicer place to be that it was when it came out of the factory.
New gauges were fitted to the modified dash, along with an entirely new loom; while the old loom wasn't too bad, it is 50 years old and any number of breaks, damage or corrosion could be lurking within the casings, so, as we do with all out complete restorations, new wiring was installed to make sure everything works as it should.
The Karmann engine, which for 1969 was the widely used 1493cc flat four in single port configuration, not the most exciting of units, despite the cars mere 850KG. In order to freshen up the performance, to match the lowered and updated look, a 1808cc long block option was used.
This involved a new 74mm crank, new pistons, barrels, bearings, a deeper 1.5L sump, upgraded oil pump to take advantage of an external oil cooler, vapour blasted heads, powdercoated tinware and a light dusting of chrome accessories to set it off. To ensure reliability, a new distributor, alternator and leads etc. we're used.
This engine makes the Karmann sound and go much more like it was intended to and enhances the whole package, which, is truly beautiful example, one that would hold its own in any show.
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