This is how we found Jeff Lenininger's old Ghia in Hawaii. Now repainted blue, but all the tell-tail markings are still there from 1978.

World Famous Karmann Ghia Drag Car Found

Jeff Lenininger's L/Gas Drag Racer uncovered near Hilo, Hawaii
By Dean Kirsten | April 24, 2014

Photos by Dean Kirsten


It was a true terror among NHRA's Modified Eliminator. In 1978, Jeff Lenininger did the impossible by winning the Modified Elimintor World Championship in a Volkswagen. Built by K&M Race Cars, this chassis was way ahead of its time, using a strut front end and a ladder bar, coil-over shock rear suspension. While most VW racecars used, and still do, the VW floorpan, Jeff's car was one trick Karmann Ghia! But Jeff sold this car years ago, and not much is known about it since that time, until this past weekend. Working on a lead that we heard at the Hawaii Bug-In, on Monday afternoon, we took a 30 minute drive from Hilo, to a coastal home overlooking the ocean. Upon opening the old wooden sliding door, we saw Jeff's car once again, nearly complete. Even the original 74x88 slipper-skirt engine was still there, with Fumio Fukaya heads, minus the correct welded manifolds. From what we could see, this famous VW could be restored back to its former glory.
This is how Jeff's car looked back in 1978, white with enlarged rear wheel wells.
Jeff Lenininger racing at the NHRA Winternationals at Pomona.
K&M chassis was made out of 2x3 box steel, with coil-over shocks (Koni) and adjustable front struts.... unheard of for a VW drag car in 1978!
All of the original aluminum floor and firewall pieces, made my K&M Racecars were still there.
Adjustable front struts were unique on an air-cooled VW drag car back in '78.
Original 74mm x 88mm Empi slipper-skirt engine was still there. L/Gas engine still had its Fumio heads, but minus the welded manifolds.

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BACKYARD BAJA BUG
No shop-built custom here — the father/son team of Paul and Alex Mulligan of Yorkville, Illinois spent eight years transforming a bare body shell into this amazing long-travel street/off-road machine. You can read all about the build in the November issue of Hot VWs magazine — on-sale September 30th.

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