More pictures of the Karmann Ghia

Here are a few more pictures taken back in the Summer of 2006.  I really appears to be in great condition for a restoration project.  We’ll see what media blasting reveals though.  The fact that the driver’s front quarter is missing the Karmann badge concerns me.

2006 Ghia 1

2006 Ghia 2

2006 Ghia 3

2006 Ghia 4

2006 Ghia 5

2006 Ghia 6

Cool Wheels

I was looking in one of my parts stores websites and saw these wheels.  The wheel selections for this car is very limited, but I actually really like these ol’ chrome 8 spokes.

8 Spoke Wheel 18 Spoke Wheel 2

Engine: To Build or Rebuild

At first, I though my best option was to rebuild the factory 1600cc engine and install a turbo on it.  Turbos are great and they can definitely make good power, but the plumbing and maintenance can be a definite downside.

After reconsidering, I believe I want to remove the factory engine completely, store it and build a new engine from scratch.

The Case:

Aluminum CaseHere’s my starting point:  an aluminum racing case.  It’s about 20 pounds heavier than the factory magnisium alloy case, but will offer more strength to handle the increased power output.

This case is machined for use with 94mm pistons.  Coupled with a mild stroke of 78mm, this should give me a displacement of 2165cc.  Add a cam with good street torque (Engle 110/120), dual 44mm Webers, custom ported big-valve heads, heavy duty single springs and a counter-weighted crank and we are off to the races.

Additionally, go with a full-flow oil system, small external oil filter and cooler and run 9:1 compression, so I can use pump gas.

We are talking dependable, near 911S performance (160HP range) and I’ll only have to change oil and adjust valves from time to time.


One of my first dilemmas was whether-or-not to change the color of the car.

At first, we were thinking red, like this candy brandywine from House of Kolors.

Candy Brandywine

The more I consider this color change, the more I can’t help but think, Grandpa wouldn’t like it.  Yellow was his color.  I fear if I changed the appearance of the car too much, it will loose it’s identity to me; it will no longer be Grandpa’s Ghia.

That having been said, I not a big fan of straight yellow paint.  I do remember one shade I’m quite found of.  I remember seeing it while looking at new cars at a Honda Dealership.

I love this color.

Awesome Yellow

This is my Ghia.

Hi.  My name is Jim and this is my 1973 Karmann Ghia.

My 1973 Ghia

Allow me to give you a little background on this car.  This beloved VW belonged to my grandfather, who passed away some years ago.  I believe this car was one of his favorites and he worked much in it in his northern Ohio garage to restore it.  In his will, he left the car to my mother.  At the time, she lived in Oregon and was unable to take possession of the car.  The Ghia sat out for a few years, exposed to the elements.  Rusting began.

Since then, mom moved back to Ohio and took possession of the VW.  Knowing I could breathe new life into this air-cooled piece of automotive history and give it a more climate stable home in Georgia, she gave it to me.

And so our journey begins.

In honor and memory of my Grandfather, I vow to completely restore this Karmann Ghia to the show car I know he would want it to be.  It’s going to be a long project for sure.  I’ll learn a lot and hope to meet many new friends along the way, within the various auto shops and car forums I’ll be frequenting.  I sincerely believe between myself and my best friend Brent (and his mad welding skills), this little car will become a gem.

Until next year, when I can trailer you down to Georgia, have a nice winter rest in Mom’s garage.  See you in 2010.

in the garage for the winter