Saturday, February 7, 2009

NOS VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia visors

I just picked up a left side sun visor from Lars Neuffer, giving me a complete NOS set for the restoration. Expensive but worth it. No one is reproducing 1500 Ghia sun visors, and they would be difficult parts for an upholstery shop to replicate, so NOS or good used visors are the only real options. Before I found these I had neither.

While new old stock means the part was old inventory that was never installed and is essentially "new," in practical terms there can be a lot of variation in the condition of NOS parts depending on the life they have had in storage. Such is the case with the set of visors I have. The one I just got is very nice, nearly perfect. The other one had apparently been stored for years in a damp environment. The visor's packaging was very moldy and the visor was stained yellow-green from the mold, as you can see in the photo above. When I first opened the package the smell was so strong it nearly knocked me over. I've had it in dry outdoor storage to air it out. It also has a little compression damage from storage, but the price was right.

So I found myself with a matched set of new visors that didn't match. The right side one was clearly going to need some serious cleaning. I started with Simple Green, which did nothing. Then I moved to a diluted mild cleanser with bleach agitated with a soft brush. Nothing. Finally I moved on to a 1:1 solution of bleach and water, carefully applied with a soft brush and quenched with clean water after a few minutes of agitation. I didn't want to bleach to do to its job too well. It worked really well and while there's a very slight difference in color the visors look good together.

If you're restoring a car as uncommon as a 1500 Ghia and you come across an expensive part you need to complete a pair, a sequence of thoughts begins to play out in your mind:

"I would buy it if the price were a little lower. I've never seen another NOS one for sale in years of looking for parts, and it's the right color too. But it's too expensive. I wonder if I'll ever find another one for sale? I wonder how much it would cost to find a used one and have it restored? Or have a new one fabricated? Probably more than this one would cost, and it would never match the one I already have. What could I sell to cover the cost of it? How many hours would I have to work to pay for it? Would it be worth it? Will I regret not buying it if I don't? How much is the shipping going to cost? Can I afford not to buy it?"

All that within the few seconds between finding the part and buying it.

No comments: