24 December 2010

Dizzy at Christmas!

Once in a great while I'm genuinely surprised by the kindness of another and this Christmas Eve was one of those times. I received a knock at the door and my postman handed me a small box, heavy for its size from Texas. We'd already received all our presents for our five kids so this box was unexpected. I quickly unwrapped it and to my great surprise inside was a completely refurbished 1962-63 Bosch R6 distributor with NOS "big top" cap & rotor! Jason Weigel was my Santa Claus and I was very excited to receive this oh-so-generous gift that he knew my "Ruby" needed. Now her engine area can be more authentic & happy. Thank you, Jason ... & Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you've been good all year long and get exactly what you deserve under the tree tomorrow!

08 December 2010

Fixing Hacked Engine Sheetmetal

When I found my early-1962 T34 (#0 001 776) back in 1999 the engine sheetmetal side walls had already crudely been hacked-out. I could never quite understand why since the single-carb engine was still fitted and the T34 was parked in 1972, only 10 years old. There were three original single-carb with manifolds stored in the front compartment (talk about spare parts!). I had ignored this fault when I did the restoration work in 2000 since I didn't have access to an early T34 engine bay and I was just happy just to have it driving again since being off the road for 28 years.Fast-foward 10 years and it's now the summer of 2010 and Doug Narczewski is parting-out a Sea Blue 1962. I send an email requesting the original engine sheetmetal side wall sections and Doug removes the sections, boxes them up, and within a week I has them at my door for $168. It's an early Christmas present to Ruby, my 1962 T34.The plan will be to have the pieces media-blasted & rust-protected, then take the T34 to a metal shop (with engine removed) for the surgery. I'm just happy to be able to return this neglected section to original once again.

05 November 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

I'm old enough now (47) that celebrating my birthday has a different meaning than when I was a kid. A cold craft beer, dark chocolate candy, and something T34 related are my favorite gifts. The first two are easy for my family to find on their own but I always help them with the T34 item. This year I was very fortunate to get an email from my buddy Carsten Klein in Germany asking if I was interested in buying this T34 model. I knew instantly that it was a rare Ichiko color variation that I did not already have in my collection, so I told him "yes, please send it down!" It arrived a week before my birthday and I got to preview it before officially opening it in front of my wife & kids.The Ichiko large-scale (1:18) tin models are my favorites because they are actually able to be played with, have over 21 different variations, and really have that 1960's era feeling about them. The vast majority (18 of the 21) of the Ichiko's are police models with different badges, lights, sirens, and words. But there are three civilian models that rarely surface: a Ruby Red with Black roof, a solid Pacific Blue, and a Gray with Red roof. I was thrilled to add this fine condition Gray & Red one to my collection!

The Ichiko models are easily identified by their ICHIKO rear license plate, front windshield trim (but none on the rear window), blue-hue plastic front & rear windows, lack of front turn signals, & 8-slotted beauty rings. They also have "Made in Japan" printed on the rear window shelf.

30 September 2010

Fresh T34 Drawings!

There are very few good drawings done of the T34 and when Scott Perry discovered some MG's drawn by a UK artist he urged me to convince the guy to create a T34 drawing. I sent Paul Bennett the PureT34 site link and asked him if he had ever seen a T34 before. To my surprise he said "No but they sure are nice-looking cars!" and then asked if there was an audience of organized T34 owners that might be interested in buying his drawings. I told him that I'd buy one and that I could help promote them to the 500 active T34 owners worldwide. Two days later Paul sent me these proofs of a T34 Coupe & Cabriolet! He based the drawings on a 1966 M343 (Everett's), Andy Holmes 1965 M344, and Jorg Fischer's 1963 M341. You can now order these drawings in either B&W or hand-colored for 10GBP additional. Visit www.classicmemories.co.uk for ordering information. Paul said he can change the rim style if you include a photo of your rim.

19 September 2010

Palos Verdes Concours d' Elegance

I try to attend interesting car events in Southern California to promote the T34 to new people that may never have seen one before. It always generates interesting comments like "THIS is a Volkswagen?" and "That's NOT a Karmann Ghia!". So this Sunday I left at 6am for the Palos Verdes Concours d' Elegance. Palos Verdes is a posh community in Southern California and the Concours was held at the Trump Golf Course overlooking the Pacific Ocean & Catalina Island. By noon the heavy fog layer was gone and the sun came out providing great scenery to a great event. There were 250 cars of all types & years from 1898 Mercedes Benz three-wheeler to 2011 Audi V10 sports cars.

In the Volkswagen class there was a 1952 Beetle Cabriolet, 1952 Panel Bus, 1963 Deluxe Microbus with Puck Camper, a 1972 SuperBeetle, a 1955 Rometsch Cabriolet, a 1969 Beetle Limosine, and FOUR T34s! No T14's, no Notchbacks/Variants, and the confused crowd was amazed that our unknown models were out en-mass!

My Ruby Red Cabriolet replica 1962, Greg & Kiki Hahs mild custom Light Green 1964 with Electric Sunroof, Aaron Weiss' mild custom Red/White 1966 M343, and Paul Kramer's unrestored original Castillian Yellow 45K-mile 1967 M343 made a great full-production series with Coupe, Sunroof, & Cabriolet models on display!

It was great to finally meet Greg & Kiki Hahs and get a chance to see the high-level of restoration work they've done on their 1964. It's got a red-needle 6K rpm tach, electric sunroof, white steering wheel/column, slate-covered vinyl dash pads, & fresh matching two-toned vinyl interior. Kiki drives her T34 to work on Fridays and really loves the T34.

09 August 2010

KG Treffen & Italian Visit

A week after the Swiss visit we had the KG Treffen in Oxnard. The two Italian's (Antonio Pellegrino & Luigi Segre) came over especially for this event and we had a week's worth of fun with them. I drove my Ruby 1962 up on Friday along Highway 1 into Santa Monica, Malibu, and into Oxnard and it was a beautiful day. We met Tom Reay, Chemo Ordaz, & the Italian's at KG Parts & Restoration's shop for some VW-talk, free food, and some relaxation.Chemo took us to his shop where we inspected the progress of Tom's 1968 Automatic M345, which has come a LONG way in a short time. We followed the vintage VW owners to Chullito's for some local Mexican food (fresh Campechana de Marisco's was awesome!), cold cervezas, and more T34-talk.Chemo picked me up early the next morning in his 1964 M343 and we drove the T34s to the Harbor View Park show site. After 10am there were about 35 KGs & 4 T34s. Tom Reay's outstanding Sea Blue 1965 M345 from Los Osos, Chemo Ordaz' driver Blue & Black 1965 M343, my 1962 M341 replica, and Scott McWilliams drove his Ruby Red & Black 1965 M345 with Scott Taylor in the passenger seat. After an intense judging experience (thanks to Antonio) we chose the top KG awards and then selected the top KG in each model to vie for the Sartorelli-Segre Elegance Cup. The winner was a very nicely restored Cardinal Red 1958 T14 Cabriolet. After a beautiful day in the sun at the marina Antonio & Luigi in KGP&R's shop T14 followed me down to San Diego in a 5-hour excursion, arriving just after dark.On Sunday we had a fun BBQ with Scott Taylor & Cathy. They got the full T34 immersion with inspecting the M346, parts, literature collection, toy collection, and everything else. I got a chance to really sit down with Antonio and understand that we both have the same ideology on life, T34s, and people. He's a great friend and someone I'm sure we will know for many years to come. Luigi (19) is new to KGs and our T34 obsession but was very mature and accepting of how much his grandfather (Luigi Segre from Carrozzeria Ghia 1954-63) has affected our hobby.On Monday we cruised up north to Costa Mesa to visit Paul Kramer's 45K-mile Castillian Yellow 1967 M343. What an outstanding job Paul has done with maintaining this fine original T34! And he gave us the full tour as well of over 25 vintage & race cars.On Tuesday we drove the T34 & T14 on a San Diego Tour beginning in Oceanside and going south along Pacific Coast Highway into Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, Torrey Pines, & La Jolla. After breakfast we visited Jon House's 30K-mile restored Sea Blue & White 1965 M344 hiding in the garage for the past couple years. Then we stopped in old St. Malo for a scenic photo and cruised along the coast to the Torrey Pines glider port and spent a half-hour watching in amazement at the paragliders. Then we dropped down into La Jolla Shores where Luigi found some new girlfriends, then we stopped at La Jolla Cove to see the seals & tidepools. Last stop was at Su Casa for homemade guacamole, ceviche, & fresh shrimp and the cold strawberry margaritas were there to wash it all down. Antonio jumped down into the sand and dipped his feet in the Pacific Ocean, something he's done in different parts of the world.

26 July 2010

Suisse Visit

Two new T34 friends from Switzerland came by during their vacation in Southern California and we took the 1962 out for a drive. Philip Egger (1969 M343) & Roland Gentner (1964 M343) brought their families to California and stopped by for the full-dose of T34 immersion: cars, parts, toys, literature, & photos from Karmann's archives. It was really nice to take the T34 for a spin after 4 years of inactivity. Special thanks to Jason Weigel for sharing his spare early manifold, as mine was rusted-through & disintegrating.My thoughtful new Swiss friends brought a unique license plate & vintage metal badge for the T34. The plate is from their local county in Thurgau (TG) and has a one-year registration tag (autographed by the 10 family members) and the vintage TCS (Touring Club Schweiz) badge is their equivalent of the AAA (mounted onto a bracket secured to the bumper bolt behind the guard).

23 July 2010

Front Hood Drain Tubes

Paul Colbert initiated the research and discovered a new source for the correct size rubber tubing for the front hood drain tube set. The L-shaped short tube (T14 repro) mounts into the hole in the front hood channel. The bottom end of this tube is cut-off so it can slide tightly into the top end of the 49cm (19.3") long rubber tube (1.0cm inner diameter). This metric tubing was discovered in England and I bought 10 tubes worth for USA T34 owners. The long tube is pushed through the hole at the top and then snugged along the inner nose, through the holder clips and down to the horn hole.

On early T34s with dual horns (up to #345 031 XXX) the dual horns are fitted inside the spare tire area with a large boot (T14 repro) to keep the water/dirt out. This boot needs to be cut at the top to allow the drain tube to go 0.25" into the hole so the water can drain onto the street.

On late T34s with dual horn mounted on the front bumper there is a black metal horn cover plate with a round drain hole built-in. A second L-shaped short tube is inserted into the bottom end of the long tube which is then snugly fitted into the metal cover plate hole. The seal for this can be made from a Transporter Kombi rear window seal (inexpensive T2 repro) or cut from the dual horn boot (T14 repro).

As always this couldn't have been done accurately without the generous help from Paul Colbert, Andy Holmes, Franck Boutier, & Everett Barnes for their original restorations & photos.