Max and Anne Stewart - 1966 Karmann Ghia
I was looking for another VW project when my wife found a 1966 Karmann Ghia in the San Francisco area through an online ad. We made some calls, worked out a deal, and made a weekend trip from Chandler Arizona to San Francisco, looked at the car, test drove it and towed it home. The Ghia was in pretty good shape and looked really good from 10 – 15 feet. There was some rust on the lower quarter panel, the battery tray was completely gone, the pans needed replacing and the interior was shot, but everything for the car was there.
After we got the car home we spent the next three years collecting parts for it. When we were ready to start the restoration we hauled it to my brother’s house and started taking it apart. When we first started talking about this project I had a big engine in mind and was planning to lower it and make it a custom. But it was pretty much original, the numbers were matching, electrical was still 6-volt, the trim was there, etc. At this point I didn’t have the heart to change it, and we decided to put it back to original.
Over the next six months we spent every weekend working on the car. We pulled the body off and replaced the pans, cut-out and replaced bad body panels, and cleaned and scraped every part of the car. My brother is an excellent welder and mechanic, and he had a friend help with the painting. This car is a complete backyard build, all of the welding, body work and painting was done at my brother’s. After the body was back on the pan it was towed to my house where I installed a new wiring harness, seat covers, carpet and all of the accessories and trim. The color of the car is a light Khaki.
Seats are Brick Red TMI with off-white centers, charcoal carpet, headliner installed by Pro Seatz in Queen Creek AZ. Engine is the original 1300cc, and all trim matches the original. Everything in the car works, down to the clock.
This is a great car for cruising around town and we have even taken a trip to Tucson in it. There are never shortages of VW stories from people we meet when we are driving it, and I have yet to hear a bad one. The only modifications on this car are shoulder seat belts and pre ‘66 wheels. Photos by Brian Blakesley
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HAWAIIAN STYLEIf you like custom Bugs then you'll love the custom touches added to Leroy Tagavilla's Hawaiian theme '61. With polished then red powder coated aluminum wheels, 2275cc engine, and custom red interior, Leroy's Looker is just one of the great features in the December 2016 issue of Hot VWs magazine!