Sunday, February 4, 2007

Koni Special "D" shocks for the VW 1500

I've decided that my 1500 Ghia restoration will have a vintage performance theme, so I've been collecting performance-oriented accessories -- things the owner of a new 1500 might have bought in the first few years of ownership to enhance the car's performance. This includes a set of Koni shocks, as recommended in Auto Motor und Sport's road test of May 1962. Their damping rate can be adjusted and they're said to make a dramatic difference in handling. The ad below, which ran in the February 1963 issue of Road & Track, makes the case for Konis:

No doubt the Corvair Lakewood station wagon pictured in the ad needed all the help it could get -- it would have had all the handling problems of a swingaxle VW, only more so. The price of Konis at the time was $20 each -- a steep price for shocks in 1963. Konis for the Type 3 are still available new, but they'll set you back over $100 apiece now.

In a year or two of looking I found a few old pairs:

The four shocks on the left are all old stock Type 3 front shocks from an auto parts warehouse in the Southeast. The very clean center pair (80-2023) is for post-1968 Type 3s with IRS rear suspension; the rougher pair on the far left (80-1505) is for the early 1500s. They're NOS, believe it or not, but had been sitting in damp storage for years. Luckily Konis are rebuildable. The rear shocks (right) are used but in good condition. They're stamped with a VW logo and part number, so I suspect they're the version that was available as a factory option:

I plan to send these and the rough pair of front shocks to Koni for a rebuild.

One of the pairs came with this Koni brochure that explains the adjustment procedure.

Koni also made a steering dampner for the VW Type 3, as seen below on Paul Colbert's incredible '63 Ghia [image from Paul's restoration site]. I'm keeping my eyes open for one.

Love that old winged logo.

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