Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fram K-96 bypass oil filter kit for VW 1500/1600

Here's an NOS accessory Fram oil filter kit for the VW Type 3 that was recently auctioned on eBay. It's an aftermarket version of the official VW accessory bypass filter that I blogged about recently. The main difference is in the flexible lines, which in the VW version were metal braided hoses, and the hose fittings, which in this version appear to be threaded compression fittings — probably an improvement over the original VW design. Other than that it's very similar to the VW kit.

The filter itself wasn't included. The kit calls for Fram P2814, which was apparently the same as the VW filter 000 091 511A, the one specified for the Type 1 and 2 version of the VW bypass filter. The seller helpfully pointed out that Fram P2814 has been superseded by the widely available Fram PH3682 — good information to have.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

VW 1500S commercial, c. 1964

A squadron of VW 1500S notchbacks fearlessly takes on an alpine highway.

I get it: The new dual carburetor engine provides enough power to pass other cars while climbing a grade.

Nice choreography.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hazet 2568-1 valve adjustment tool

To adjust the valves on an aircooled VW engine you need one hand to loosen the lock nuts with a 13mm wrench, another hand to turn the adjusting screws with a screwdriver, another hand to hold a feeler gauge to measure the valve clearance, and ideally yet another hand to apply pressure to the rocker arms to eliminate any slack, all at the same time. This valve adjustment tool is designed to take at least one hand out of the equation.

It combines the wrench and screwdriver functions into a single tool, and was thoughtfully designed with the limited working space around the valve adjusters in mind. The handle of the wrench is mercifully offset — I've never been able to adjust my valves without skinning at least one knuckle when using an ordinary combination wrench.

Some VW and Porsche accessory tool kits came equipped with one of these. This particular one, 2568-1, is supposed to be the recommended model for the VW Type 3. I've been trying to get one for a while now, but I keep getting overbid on eBay, so I'm glad to have found this NOS example for about what the used ones usually go for. Can't wait to try it out. That's right: this isn't going into some climate-controlled display case, I intend to actually use it.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Corgi VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia illustration

A nice illustration of Corgi #239 from an old advertisement. It's detailed even down to the toy's erroneous Karmann and Ghia badges on the left side of the car. On real '62s the badges only appeared on the right side.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Four Cylinder Club, Glendale, California, 1956

Thanks once again to Charles Phoenix, who sent in these slides of a 1956 car show held by the Four Cylinder Club at the Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, California. The Four Cylinder Club was based in Glendale but had chapters all across the U.S. It was a general foreign and sports car club that, despite its name, didn't limit membership to owners of 4-cylinder cars, as some of the following photos will show.

Here's a proud owner polishing his brand-new pelican red and black 1956 Karmann-Ghia. It's so clean it's hard to believe it just made the trip from New Mexico. Karmann-Ghia production began in late 1955, so they were a pretty rare sight in the U.S. in 1956.

Next to the Ghia is a Simca Coupé-de-Ville, a Facel-bodied special based on the Simca Aronde. The better known convertible version was called the Weekend, a car I'd like to think Jean-Luc Godard was familiar with. Apparently some sports car owners felt the need to dress sporty too.

Next, after an Austin-Healey 100, is a beautiful Mercedes-Benz 300S Roadster, one of just a handful built between 1952 and 1954.

And then, after a few Jaguar XK140s, there's a 1935 Packard Convertible Coupe (definitely more than four cylinders there), complete with a family dressed in 1930s style, and an impossibly clean MG TD.

Yet another departure from the subject of VW 1500s, but these photos are just too cool not to post.

Solex 32 PHN sidedraft carburetors

I picked up this NOS 32 PHN carb body and used 32 PHN carb from Everett Barnes. Between the two I think I have the basis for a successful 32 PHN rebuild.

The 32 PHN was the earliest version of the Type 3 sidedraft carb and is what my Ghia originally left the factory with. As with most early Type 3s, my car's original carb was replaced at some point by a 32 PHN-1, the improved version introduced in late 1963. Everett also had a used first-year-only intake manifold, which I'll use to replace my manifold with its hopelessly blocked heat riser. That's what's been keeping the Ghia off the road — while the engine will run just fine with a blocked heat riser in a warm climate, my goal in rebuilding my engine was to undo the previous owners' compromises and improvisations, so I feel obliged to do it right and not take any shortcuts.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Maico disc brake conversion for the VW 1500

Aaron Britcher sent some photos of his very rare Maico disc brakes. Maico disc brake conversion kits for the VW 1500 were available for only a short time in the mid-1960s. Aaron is lucky enough to have two sets, one NOS and one completely restored. Some guys have all the luck!

NOS Maico VW 1500 brakes:

Restored Maico VW 1500 brakes:

There's not much information available on Maico brakes in English, but I found an article by Frank O. Hrachowy in the June 2005 issue of Automobilhistorische Nachrichten (Historic Automobile News, the newsletter of the Automobilhistorische Gesellschaft e.V., the Automobile Historical Society of Germany) which provides some enlightening information on the Maico story.

Better known as a motorcycle manufacturer, Maico realized they needed to develop other products to keep their facilities running during the seasonal downtime in motorcycle production. In 1962 the company acquired rights to a patent for a new disc brake system developed by OJR (Oswald Josef Rosamowski). This design, known as the "ring-type" disc brake, employed a flat ring at outer edge of the hub as the friction surface for the brake pads, in contrast to the now-common central brake rotor configuration. They were easy to assemble, lightweight, and inexpensive, potentially bringing the benefits of disc brakes, previously only seen on expensive sports and luxury cars, to a much wider audience. Sensing an opportunity, Maico made their VW 1200 conversion available to the public beginning in 1963.

In 1963 a VW 1200 with Maico disc brakes was tested by Auto, Motor und Sport, who, while impressed by the braking performance, wondered whether they were enough of an improvement over the standard VW drum brakes to be worthwhile. This opinion seemed to be shared by others who tested Maico brakes at the time as well.

[image courtesy of Automobilhistorische Gesellschaft e.V.]

By 1964 Maico brake conversions were available for the VW 1200 and 1500 (and respective Karmann-Ghias), the Porsche 356, and the Peugeot 404. Time was working against Maico, though, as disc brakes were fast becoming standard equipment on more and more cars, including the VW 1600 beginning in the fall of 1965. Ultimately Maico's disc brakes were a failure as a business venture, making them that much rarer and more desirable to vintage performance enthusiasts today.

Maico brakes were imported to the United States for a few years by Poly Pad Imports (seen here in Poly Pad's 1967 catalog, and in a press announcement here), and were also apparently distributed for a short time by EMPI. They seem to have been popular in Australia, maybe because the introduction of disc brakes to the VW line occurred later there than in Europe and the U.S.

In addition to Hrachowy's article in Automobilhistorische Nachrichten (a pdf of which can be downloaded here), information on Maico brakes can also be found in Auto, Motor und Sport (August 1963, viewable here), Gute Fahrt (July 1964), Foreign Car Guide (March 1964), and Hobby (June 19, 1963, the first part of which can be seen here).

Thanks again to Aaron for the photos.

Hong Kong, c. 1962

No Type 3 content here, just a couple of buses looking very much at home on Jordan Road in Hong Kong in the early 1960s.