Saturday, May 26, 2007

Volkswagen + VW 1500 ad, 1962

Thanks to Lee Hedges for sending in this ad he found in a 1962 copy of VW Informationen, VW's internal magazine for dealers.

It's the only ad I've seen that tries to integrate the Swiss Modern Volkswagen + VW 1500 marketing campaign and the illustration-based advertising style that was typical of VW's earlier publicity. Thanks again Lee!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's alive!

I decided to follow the engine builder's advice to just go ahead and start it up. It started almost immediately and within a few seconds the oil light went out. Nine months after beginning the teardown the Ghia is alive again. No leaks from the oil cooler (yes!), but there is a very slight leak from the oil strainer plate and another one where the right cylinder head meets cylinder #2.

Starting it up revealed a few more problems to be diagnosed. The generator warning light stays on, which means the charging system isn't working. The generator was tired when I took the Ghia off the road seven years ago, and sitting for that long hasn't done it any good. Also, on the video you can hear an intermittent harmonic whine in the background -- also the generator? I used the old big-screwdriver-as-stethoscope trick and was able to able to narrow the source of the sound down to either the generator or the fan housing. I then removed the belt to disable the generator and when I restarted the engine the sound was gone. A rebuilt 6-volt generator is already on the way. No driving until I have a working charging system -- I'm not interested in tempting fate.

Another annoying problem was that the fuel gauge wasn't registering anything. With a newly painted tank and a new sender a bad ground was the most likely cause, but I checked it out with a volt/ohm meter and the ground was good. I had no voltage at the sender though. I checked the ground and voltage at the gauge and everything was o.k. Can wires go bad just sitting there? It turned out to be a break in the wire inside the insulation near the sender connection. An easy fix, but it took a long time to track it down!

My original plan was to take the Ghia to today's Karmann Ghia Treffen in Ventura, but sadly it was not to be. I still need to give the brakes a once-over and check to be sure everything is roadworthy, but it looks like next weekend it'll be on the road, just in time for the VW Classic. Yeah!

Many thanks again to everyone who contributed parts, advice, help, and encouragement! Couldn't have done it without you.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Starting troubles

I've run into one problem after another while trying to get the engine to start, beginning with the comical and moving toward the more serious. The horn automatically honked when the battery was first connected (insert Little Miss Sunshine joke here), the starter solenoid was stuck (one of the few electrical jobs where a hammer is the appropriate tool), and the carb had a bad gas leak -- all easily diagnosed and fixed. Then the bulb on my timing light went bad so I had to go buy a new one. You can waste an entire day with this kind of stuff, and I did. I set the timing and everything looked good, so I pulled the distributor rotor and cranked the engine for a minute or so to prime the system. No apparent oil pressure. Cranked some more and then pulled the oil pressure switch. Oil isn't even getting to the switch. Cranked some more...nothing. Primed the system through the oil pressure switch hole with about a half pint of oil...still nothing. Bad oil pump, or the wrong oil pump? Oil cooler seals restricting flow? Am I just impatient and not cranking the engine long enough to establish pressure? Gotta have a talk with the mechanic tomorrow.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Fuel tank in

The freshly POR-15ed tank is back in with an NOS VDO sender and a new tank filter. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. Glad to have it done.

Can't think of any reason why I shouldn't try to start it up tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

1962 VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia colors

I just got this brochure with the exterior and interior color combinations for '62 1500 Ghias. I think the illustrator got a little carried away with the size of the wheels on the cover.

My Ghia was originally pacific blue with a blue-white roof and cloth interior, but the exterior was repainted yellow sometime in the 1970s. It doesn't get much uglier than yellow with a turquoise interior. The interior needs to be completely redone and pacific blue isn't really for me so I'm planning on making a change. Right now it's a tossup between anthracite and sea blue. The brochure states "On request all cars can be delivered with single colour finish (body colour) at no extra charge." I've always liked solid-color 1500 Ghias, so that's my inclination. I can always have the roof painted later if I change my mind.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Track & Traffic road test, July 1962

Canada's Track & Traffic magazine featured a road test of the 1500 Ghia in its July 1962 issue. It might be the most positive review of the 1500 Ghia ever published.

The review starts off by mentioning that the Ghia was available as both a hardtop coupe and a convertible, which in July 1962 was still technically true. You would have had a hard time getting that convertible Ghia delivered though.