Saturday, March 26, 2011

We don't need no stinkin' badges...

...but we buy them anyway. Some time ago I found an ADAC enamel badge commemorating the 40th Internationale Automobil Austellung (IAA), the 1961 auto show where the VW 1500s were first shown to the public.

It's an enamel interpretation of the 1961 IAA poster. The poster looks great—I'd really like to find an original one someday—but the design was clearly hard to translate into enamel. Let's just say that it's the kind of thing that could only have been created in 1961, so in that way it's perfect.

The question now is: If I were to install it, where would it go? Normally a badge like this might be mounted on a car's radiator grille, but that obviously doesn't apply here. On other rear-engined cars like Porsches badges sometimes get mounted to the rear air intake, but the 1500 Ghia's flat rear deck doesn't really lend itself to that solution. What to do? Luckily great minds tend to think alike, so there are a few other 1500 Ghia owners who have already taken up this very same challenge.

Lee Hedges opted for the classic vintage VW badge location: low on the right side front fender between the wheel opening and the door. Looks good, and it's historically appropriate, but the downside is that it requires drilling into the fender, making the installation a fairly permanent decision.

Andy Holmes chose to mount his badge above one of the front overriders on a custom-fabbed bracket. This looks great and has the advantage of being close to the traditional location on a front grille or badge bar. But there's already a lot going on visually on the front of a 1500 Ghia, so I'm just not sure.

I'm currently leaning toward mounting it on the glove box door. I found a good strong magnet that will keep it in place. It's not permanent, it will keep the badge out of the weather, and I'll get to look at it (occasionally) while I'm driving and remind myself of where and when the 1500 Ghia had its debut.

[Photos by Lee and Andy of their cars "borrowed" from other sources.]

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Loved One

Ivan Pang sent me these great 1976 photos of his anthracite '62 1500 notchback at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Forest Lawn (a.k.a. "Whispering Glades" to fans of The Loved One) does a pretty good job of standing in for the old country.

Ivan has been a part of the vintage VW scene in Southern California since the early days, and he has also made it his practice to photograph interesting cars he has seen in Los Angeles' east side neighborhoods over the years. He has owned this particular low-mileage notchback since the mid-1970s. Other than the vintage Porsche 356 wheels and hubcaps (shod with what appear to be Michelin ZX radials) the car is unmodified from original. Ivan still has the original VW wheels and hubcaps in storage. He says the seats have been protected by factory accessory seat covers since the car was new, so the upholstery is in perfect condition. I asked about the clear taillight lenses and he says they were that way when he bought the car.

Here's Ivan at the wheel on a road trip to San Francisco back in the day. The notchback has been in long-term storage for many years and has seen very few miles since these photos were shot 35 years ago. I hope it sees daylight again this year for the 50th anniversary of the VW 1500!