Here's the first (and easiest) stage of the restoration project... taking the "before"pictures before starting the actual work. (click on the thumbnails for the bigger photos)
In this case, I have a good product to start with. The car was built in late 1963 (it's officially a 1964 model) in Osnabruck, Germany by Wilhelm Karmann (does that name sound familiar? Check out this link for some info on the "Karmann-Ghia" Karmann-Ghia). The sedans were built in Wolfsburg, Germany - a completely seperate factory. (Map of Germany) 10,355 of these models were built. Sound like a lot? It's not. That same year, they built around 900,000 hardtops! Volkwagen had built only 331,847 of the Karmann Cabriolets (convertibles) in just over 30 years. Wow! Not many. This particular car has been painted at least once since 1963(original color was a light blue-grey - I think it was "Bahama Blue", but I haven't gotten that verified yet.), and someone has installed a non-original color interior, too...red.? You fellow VW enthusiasts know, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find "early" model cars anymore - especially convertibles! (info for you non-vw enthusiasts... for the most part we refer to the "early" models as pre-1967, and the "late" model cars as 1968 and newer.) 1967 was it's own special year, but that's another story.
At least it's hard to find them in any kind of decent condition. Most of them by now have either rusted from neglect, been left to rot in a field somewhere, wrecked, have been ruined by somebody's attempt to trick it out (lowering, chrome removed, honda seats, etc), or have already been restored like new. We've all heard of those stories. You know the ones... some fellow runs across an old bug for sale - turns out to be a old widowed woman with some early model that's been sitting indoors for the last 35-40 years with only 5,000 original miles on it and no rust or dents. Oh... and she'd be happy to sell it for $500.00 as long as you have time for some fresh apple pie before you go. Uh huh.
There's a time for the custom jobs, too. Don't get me wrong, I've done one myself (1970). But in my opinion, let's save the serious custom mods for the later models! The older cars are sacred... and worth a lot of money these days when fixed up like new! Just to give you a general idea... the early model convertibles completely restored these days are selling for up to $20,000. Sure, an item is only worth what someone is willing to pay, but we're talking supply and demand here too. There aren't that many left. And people are forking out the big bucks for these old cars - either already completed, or for a project of their own should they be lucky enough to find a decent car to start with.
This car has never been restored, tricked out, or modified in any significant way... a rarity indeed! It's not the car that the little old lady sold, but it is something in between. It would seem the the previous owners have taken good care of it over the years. There's virtually no rust at all. Except for some dings in the fenders, it's straight. The entire electrical system works (all the lights!), and it runs and drives great (which, makes it even harder for me to tear it down and get started on it). Again, even though it's not the car from that little old lady, I did feel lucky to get it. To find a car like this in late 2000, that for the most part hasn't been touched and has been cared for most of it's years... yeah, a good find indeed.
It has been in one fender-bender, however, which resulted in a slightly wrinkled front apron. It's not bad though, and will be fixed or replaced during the restoration. Apparently, someone had changed the deck lids out too, but the last owner replaced it with a good quality, original, primerred one. Cool.
Time to get started. Now... where are my tools? : )
Haven't checked out the history page yet? History