Back in July we picked up the Karmann Ghia from the panel beater and had put her through the last few mechanical fixes before we took her for licensing inspection. After all the work that had been done we were very hopeful she would pass. Unfortunately a couple of 'minor' electrical issues and a small engine leak prevented her passing. It was disappointing.
We took the car to Jerry at Karmann Ghia Company of Australia as he's the expert for Karmann Ghia's. He'd been helping us out with parts and had looked the Tatra over when I'd first bought it. Jerry kindly agreed to finish the car off for us. What an adventure lay ahead!
Our Karmann is like a layer cake. It's been through many hands, had lots of paint jobs, and lots of dodgy 'repairs.' As soon as Jerry began to work more and more issues were uncovered.
To fix the oil leak Jerry pulled out the engine. It turns out the engine isn't original after all. It's not even from a Karmann Ghia but a Type 3. It's probably a 1500cc from 1970. It had been badly mated with the original clutch and was missing one of the bolts holding it to the car. No wonder it sometimes felt like it was rattling around back there. We've now got a brand new clutch in the car now and it's marvelous.
The oldest Volkswagen clutch in the world. It was probably original.
The new clutch
Three of the four problems that failed the car at inspection were electrical. The headlight switch, indicators and horn all worked intermittently. Mostly they worked fine but every now and then when you turned a corner and flicked the indicator the horn would go off. The reason for these problems is self evident from the photo above - years of 'do it yourself' electrical work. It was a total mess! After a couple of attempts to tactically fix the electrical problems we bought the bullet and had the whole car rewired.
The car has an entirely new wiring loom installed along with a new regulator. In fact, when looking at the old regulator it revealed that there had been an electrical fire in the engine at one time.
The car passed its second inspection with flying colours and is now fully registered. Thanks to the guys at Pebco Automotive who did the inspection. I have to thank Jerry Heldt and his electrician Dan Botica for the exceptional efforts they went to to get the car sorted out. Jerry is a consummate professional and the man when it comes to Karmann Ghia in Australia. I can't recommend his work highly enough.
Funnily enough, this project has taken us almost exactly one year to complete. When we started we thought it would be finished much sooner. How unrealistic! Nevertheless, although it took longer than we anticipated other observers have commented on the project's speed.