I bought myself a Christmas present this year: a 1961 VW 1500 parts book.
I've had later copies of both the Type 3 and Type 34 parts books for years now, but they're not as useful to the owner of an early car, since when early parts were discontinued or superseded they were often deleted from the later books entirely. This is a 1961 book with supplements through 1963, so there's a lot of information in it that's missing from the later books. The supplements are useful in determining roughly when certain design changes were made during early production, although they were only dated up through Supplement 6 (May 1962). (Bob Walton has posted downloadable pdfs of the early supplements in the technical section of the 1500 Club website, and has provided estimates of the dates of Supplements 7 though 15 based on the idea that they were likely released one to two months after the changes in production occurred.) These supplements are a great resource to anyone researching the early VW 1500s.
For example, beginning with Supplement 10 (early '63) the parts book lists all the parts specific to the Type 341 1500 Ghia Cabriolet, of which it's said only 10–20 examples were built before the model was dropped. This underscores what a last minute decision dropping the 341 must have been. In addition, some pages in Supplements 9–11 refer to models 351 and 352, the left- and right-hand-drive VW 1500 Cabriolet. While it's clear that the 341 Ghia came much closer to a real production run than the 351/352, this does suggest that a "convertible notchback" was still not completely ruled out until early in 1963.
The '61 parts book and supplements have already answered some longstanding questions I've had about when a few changes to the 1500 Ghia took place:
• The original Lemmerz wheel trim rings that were used on 1500 Ghias beginning in late 1961 (241 601 155 A, also seen on deluxe microbuses and Type 1 Cabriolets and Karmann-Ghias) were discontinued at chassis number 0 050 173, around July 1962, and replaced by the familiar thin-slotted Type 3 beauty rings on 1500 Ghias (and, according to the book, on the 341, 351, and 352!) beginning with chassis number 0 050 174. These same beauty rings (part number 341 601 155) are more popularly associated with the 1500S models of 1964 and 1965. [Go here for more information on slotted beauty rings.]
• Two-piece front and rear window trim was discontinued with Supplement 8 (around August 1962), replaced first by three and then four pieces front and back. Small strainers were also added to the water drains at the rear air engine air intake at roughly the same time.
• A revised dipstick "with sealing cap" was introduced in Supplement 11 (early 1963).
• Accessory wheel beauty rings in four styles were introduced with Supplement 3 (January 1962) and the accessory spare tire tool kit with Supplement 12 (mid-1963).
Nice illustrations too.
There are also some clues about when the early shift and heater knobs might have changed. I'm sure the more I look the more I'll find.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
That's right, I said early electromagnetic cutoff valves. Jason Weigel recently identified a stash of these valves (the large round device at the right in the photo above) that were used on the VW 1500's Solex 32 PHN carburetor in the first few months of production. They are among the rarest of early engine parts for a 1500.
The 1500 seems to have been the first VW model to come standard with an electromagnetic cutoff valve (a.k.a. pilot jet) fitted to the carb. The 32 PHN carb had one from the beginning of production in 1961. VW buses first got a cutoff valve on the 28 PICT in 1963, and the Type 1 followed suit in 1966 with the introduction of the 30 PICT-1 carb. Since they were first seen on the VW 1500, what's unusual is that this particular valve has a Type 1 part number: 111 129 413. It's possible that it was first made available for VW models other than the 1500 as a dealer retrofit to address problems with post ignition, or it may have had a use on industrial engines.
The design of the valve went through a number of revisions in the first few years of production, and this large diameter version of the valve is very rare. It's unclear from VW's documentation exactly when this design was discontinued. The November 1961 edition of the VW 1500 owner's manual shows this valve, but the August 1961 VW 1500 Workshop Manual shows both this one and a more commonly seen cylindrical version with a small black plastic cap. While similar in function, the large round valve had the added advantage (or disadvantage) of having a convenient on-off switch. For whatever reason, by the end of the 1962 model year the cylindrical version had become the standard (as seen here in VW's Look Listen Do it Better training guide for the 32 PHN carb from August 1962).
Both of these early versions of the valve could be partially disassembled. Later iterations could not be.
There seems to be no clear record of exactly when the large round valve was originally used, but it would be a nice addition to any 1962 VW 1500 engine restoration, especially for cars built in the last few months of 1961. As you can see here, Jason's early 32 PHN carb has all the 1961 bells and whistles.
[Update: Looking in VW Progressive Refinements I found that the electromagnetic cutoff valve was first made available as a service part in July 1957. It was first featured as a standard part on the VW 1500 on its introduction in 1961, and Type 2 models got the valve with the optional 1500 engine (M 216) beginning in January 1963.]
[Photos from Jason, The Samba, and my literature collection]
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The first issue of Style Auto, an Italian journal of automotive styling (subtitled "Automotive Architecture"), featured the recent work of 13 prominent coachbuilders working in Italy at the time. The profile on Carrozzeria Ghia featured Luigi Segre's forecast for the future of automotive styling and included a glamour shot of the VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia. Segre, the head of Ghia beginning in 1953, was the key figure in developing Ghia's relationship with Virgil Exner and Chrysler in the 1950s and is credited with the design of the original Karmann-Ghia. He was head of Ghia during the development of the 1500 Ghia. Tragically, he died in surgery soon after the publication of the Style Auto feature. Ghia then went through a series of owners, ultimately becoming a subsidiary of Ford in 1970. A sad end for one of the great Italian styling houses of the 20th century.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
A nice first-year-only 1500 Ghia badge scored on eBay Germany, seen here installed on my currently unworthy '62 with a PoP reproduction seal. These badges were only used through chassis number 0 058 489 (July 1962).
Many thanks to Gizmobob for his help.
Many thanks to Gizmobob for his help.