Ghia Week

Just in case anyone doubted my vintage VW cred (i.e. lack of sanity)… I’ve been storing a 1965 Karmann Ghia in Texas for the past 11 years.

I think I bought it back in ’96  from the 2nd owner. It was always garaged and only driven on Sundays to church by a little old lady, has all the receipts, etc. It’s actually in need of restoration, but still almost all original. The interior has disintegrated, but the body is straight and solid – rare for a Texas VW. Otherwise there’s no particular reason I’ve been holding on to it for so long – it’s just easier to keep it.

At the time, I was on a major Karmann Ghia bender and driving a basket-case ’71 convertible Ghia.  I bought this one (with a blown engine) as the next project and future daily driver. I couldn’t help myself for only $600. I rebuilt the engine just prior to making the decision to move to California, and was only able to drive it to where it currently sits. We didn’t know how long we would be gone, so we just parked it in a safe spot (free, of course) and it still sits there today. It’s gathered quite a bit of dust, completely rotten tires and a mystery hood dent that was easily popped out. Otherwise, it’s just as I left it 11 years ago.

Over the years, I’ve made a few trips back to check on it. This time, I was requested to move it over a few feet to make more space in the garage. So, there I am rolling it over on a floor jack this weekend. Literally the first time it’s been touched in years.

If I store it once an then store it again, does that count as restoring it?

Up until a few years ago, I actually had another Karmann Ghia in storage. One of the best years – a 1958 coupe.  Most people don’t know they changed the body style in ’59. Anyway, it was beyond a basket case, but I got it for free. It was being used as a deer blind and my buddy Dave knew the guy with the land. After a few phone calls, we got permission to just go pick it up. I had some friends with a trailer (thanks again Steve and Tom) and all four of us muscled the rusting bullet-hole-filled work of art onto the trailer. It later got moved to Steve’s dad’s farm until the barn started to collapse around it – and Steve’s ’58 rag top Beetle. Not having too many options, we sold both of them as a pair to a totally stoked VW nut who is probably still telling the story of his big “barn find.”

10 thoughts on “Ghia Week

  • December 12, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    That sticker in the second photo is a real beauty!! How many of these would have survived the decades? And who in the States understands the German instructions “To close the doors please use the handles, never the windows”?

  • December 12, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    pretty fantastic 😀 reminds me of the, oh so many, too many, cars I’ve ‘stored for free’. None of them had as much potential as this beauty

  • December 13, 2010 at 8:29 AM

    hey Jason love ghias My wife Sandras is sitting back here in the shop. I just sold a real nice 68 one for $4200 . let me know if you need anything for it

  • December 13, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    very nice car!!! I used to drive a 59 in the 80s. Nice T’shirt is from Vallarta or Mazatlán?


  • December 13, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Does Texas have the same registration requirements as Calif? That is that you have to register as non driving other wise the fee’s and penalties just keep adding and adding and you have a big fee to get current sticker?

  • December 13, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    I want to say yes it absolutely counts as “restoring” it for my own selfish reasons! My ’91 Vanagon’s CV joints went out. I couldn’t drive it for a year so I stored it, but eventually got it fixed. Now the power-steering and fuel system need work and it’s parked again. Thanks to you I can now tell my wife that the Westy is officially “restored.” You’re smarter than me though, I’m still paying to register my “barn find” California.

    By the way my sticker says, “Fahern nur mit verriegeltem Dach!” Translation please Juergen??

  • December 14, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    I think that Ghia would enjoy the west coast VW scene. Plus, the Texas to Cali roadtrip in a ghia is a pretty good followup roadtrip.

  • December 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    Stephen- i actually have no idea about penalties for registration. I guess I could be royally screwed here – does anyone out there know? Also, our bus has fallen off the California registration since it’s no longer insured in the US. Any ideas here?

    Brett- I can definitely see cruising the 1 in this little guy 😉

    Ethan – “only drive with the roof locked?”

    Enrique – 25 year old shirt! Probably Cozumel 😉

  • December 14, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    “Fahren nur mit verriegeltem Dach!” Translation please Juergen??

    Alright then: “Only drive with the roof locked!” – but Google Translations can do that too:|en|Fahren%20nur%20mit%20verriegeltem%20Dach!

  • December 22, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    my heart beats faster reading about the Ghias. My dad bought me a ’69 (?) at a Bank repo..paid $750 I think in 1973. Orange convertible. Drove it 11+ years till things started going wrong and I couldn’t sink $ into it. Loved the car. Broke my heart to sell it. Ran an ad in SF Chron w/my dad’s home phone#, didn’t tell him. He started getting the calls. Drove it out there & left it for him to clean as it was too painful to part with. I left town for the weekend. Returned and he’s sold it for $3,200 cash. Best car EVER!

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