Monday, September 6, 2010

Gr3yghost's Green Ghia

The girls think it's cool. The guys think it's nuts. I think they are both right.

It is my new toy, a 1974 lime-green VW Karmann Ghia convertible. Actually, it is my new project, since it doesn't actually run. Yet.

I bought it from a guy in Georgetown, who had it listed on Craigslist for $1800. We drove out early Saturday morning to have a look. It was sitting on a concrete pad in his front yard, and the first thing I noticed about it was the color. It's one of those unmistakable colors, the kind that make you stop and look, even when the car itself is in bad shape.

And, this car, man, is it ever in bad shape. That is the second thing I noticed, and the third. To begin with, it has a lot of rust, and that's an understatement. it has no interior, no convertible top (though the rusted frame is there). The windshield is cracked. The tires are shot and the wheels are rusted. The engine 'turns over--which means it isn't locked up with rust, at least--but a small fire in the engine compartment melted the wiring and boiled the paint off a big spot in the trunk, which is now rusting away. The floor pans look solid, but that's because they are probably replacements, and the passenger side is dented already. It doesn't look like it has ever been in an accident, but it has been repainted so it's possible when I start stripping off the paint I'll discover otherwise. The nose cone--one of those impossible to fix things--has never been dented as far as I can tell, so that is a positive.

That may be one of the very rare positive things I can say about it today, even though that cynical assessment does not diminish my enthusiasm for the project. This, believe it or not Dear Reader, is do-able. As I looked it over, I knew it would be an enormous undertaking, but it's something I've wanted to do for a long time. One or the other Reader will recall a couple of other automotive projects that sat in my driveway for several years, so I was mindful of the disbelief that will accompany this news.

And yet, I couldn't resist. I didn't resist. After all, I have looked at every Ghia posted on Craigslist in Texas for 18 months and so far, this is the only affordable convertible to come my way. This is not unexpected since even the coupes are fairly rare--they never sold more than 35,000 in a single year of production--the convertibles are even rarer. Altogether, there were no more than 75,000 convertibles of all model years made.

I didn't know those statistics when I was looking at the car, only that this might be my best chance for some time to come. So, as I rolled out from underneath, still shuddering at the sight of all that rust, I offered $1000. He countered with $1500. I paid $1300 for it, delivered to my driveway.

So, there it sits. I made the first two purchases for it this morning, a car cover and a Haynes Repair Manual. There is a lot to be done, and as you might have guessed, I will be writing about it. Not, however, in this journal, since it will undoubtably reduce the readership by half or more, so I will chronicle the saga of the lime-green Ghia in another blog:

Gr3yghost's Green Ghia

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