Karmann Ghia Project

When I was probably 12 or 13, I saw a car that was completely different than anything else I had seen, and I fell in love. My dad informed me that it was a Karmann Ghia, and I decided that I wanted to drive one someday.

Well, my first car was not a Karmann Ghia. Nor my second, third, or others. But when my jeep needed a lot of engine work and the best option was to sell it, my husband suggested I get a Karmann Ghia.

I love that he encourages me to follow my passions, even when they are impractical; even when it means that I get myself in over my head.

We found a Karmann Ghia that we could afford with what we had left over after fixing the Jeep and selling it. It wasn’t restored, but it ran well, and seemed to be in pretty good shape.

I loved it. I loved driving it even when it was cold and the heater would barely start to warm up the interior by the time I got to work. I loved driving it in the summer even though there was no air conditioning. I loved driving it even though it had no power brakes or extra-bright headlights or heated seats. The radio was original and only had AM/FM; there was only room for two people, and we had primered over a couple spots that looked ripe for growing rust.

But she needed some work. I wanted to get her cleaned up, and re-painted. However, I learned that a car that age doesn’t just get re-painted. The estimates for restoration were beyond my budget, so I opted to start the work myself.

I’m a metalsmith, I can do this, right? It’s just hammering, on a bigger scale.

I am naive. But I am determined.

My Ghia (Regina Von Volkswagen IV), partially disassembled.
I removed the doors, engine cover, and front lid first and had those epoxy-primered.

I keep making forward progress, even though it is slower than I figured. Taking apart an old car is much harder than it seems.

Finally, the body is back, primered, and ready for assembly and body work (November, 2019)

Putting it back together probably will be, too.