1974 Karmann Ghia Convertible

            

Here you catch us in the middle of removing what looks like a perfectly good Karmann Ghia body from the chassis.   Err no.  In fact there was no point at all in trying to be careful with it. A few weeks later the body was cut in half anyway.  A real paintshop restoration this one - the shiny paint hid a catalogue of horrors and the worst bodges I've ever seen.  It took two days to cut the body free of the chassis, the sills were full of paper and expanding foam and once the masses of filler had been removed it looked like Frankensteins monster.

            

New floorpans, heater channels, sills and wing repairs came to over £2000! The wing repair sections are made in Norway and were very good, the rest of it I think was beaten out by a man on the side of the road in Cuba - in other words it was rubbish!  Really made me realise how good the quality of the panels I normally use on Triumphs etc are. Picture above shows the chassis with new floors in and seat runners transferred. Also on the right side you can see the heater channel /sill assembly, this is part of the body but has to be assembled to fit the floor before transferring to the now dismembered front body half. Then tack in place, refit to the chassis and weld fully on the topside, remove body, turn over and weld fully on the underside - a lot of work!

             

This is the two halves ready to be refitted. The front half has the heater channels all welded in and painted where they bolt to the chassis - note the doors are fitted and the bracing bars welded in to preserve the door alignment. The rear section was totally rotten anywhere it touched the chassis and took a lot of work to reconstruct.  Although the KG is similar to a Beetle they are not the same so not many repair sections are available.

             

Together again at last!  Outer sills on, front and rear wing repairs fitted - now I can get on with the bodywork....oh yes, there was plenty more still to do.  Right hand front wing had had a repair fitted straight on top of the wing, so it was cut out and redone properly. Also note the distinctive ridge down the nose - it wasn't there. It had been knocked back in an accident and just smoothed over with filler. As the metal was beaten back the ridge took shape and in the end looked good.

            

One finished body ready for the paintshop. The bonnet was the only bit that was any good. Both doors were replaced with better second hand ones which were then repaired. A good used boot lid was bought from a so-called specialist but was so full of filler that I repaired the original instead. Also note the stitch line across the rear wing from a repair many years ago

       

Turned out nice though and we made it just in time for the owners wedding. Honestly this was a really difficult one - it seemed to take for ever and the car fought back at every stage. It cost a lot too so I hope the owner gets that roof off and uses it as much as possible. For certain there won't be many of these as good underneath as this one.