THE BLITZKRIEG BOP – 1961 Karmann Ghia

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VW Convert Brad Baron was always into old school classics, preferring Aussie muscle until a mate of his introduced him to the beauty of the Volkswagen brand. Initially, Brad’s interest was more focused in the panel van side of things and it wasn’t long before he had himself an ultra-rare, Dual Slider version and he was well and truly hooked on German steel.

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After attending a few meets and shows his eyes and interest started to wander towards the sleek lines of the Karmann Ghia body style and this exact car in particular. It took Brad around three years to finally take possession of this 1961 version.

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The car was tentatively put up for sale a few times by the original owner and builder (Casey Gilbert) but he was a hard nut to crack. Eventually Brad got the keys and his name on the rego papers and the rest is history.

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The car was far from in this condition when the original builder decided to attack the project about 15 years ago. The body was acid bathed and a multitude of sins came to light. With the aid of a master craftsman, new handmade and pressed sheet metal replaced all the damaged and rusted panels. The shell was lead wiped for a smooth flawless finish before the car was painted in the original pearl white.

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It wasn’t until the car received a second build about five years ago that the car was painted in the factory L41 black. It was at that time that the rest of the car copped a very heavy duty refresh. To match the new hue; the interior was re-trimmed to suit by Kevin Ferguson at Trimtec in Wanneroo, who just happens to know more than a thing or two about factory-spec options throughout the VW range.

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The seats were pulled apart, the frames re-painted in factory beige and then the correct True Red leatherette was selected to be applied throughout the cabin along with some white piping to the seats.

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The door panels have been returned to factory spec too and have a Stone Beige, waffle insert for some added class. Original German square weave carpets were fitted along with some custom speaker boxes so the interior looks very standard and to be honest, why would you want it any other way?

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Underneath the Coupe is special too. Fitting the large diameter 17×7 Radar wheels to the Karmann required a few tricks so that none of the metal work had to be sliced. A custom fabricated, 80mm narrowed and adjustable front beam fitted with disc brakes managed to get the job done. Type III drums take up residence on the rear along with stock spring plates.

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Powering the car is a larger than standard 2332cc Type1 Bernie Bergmann motor from the USA with 44mm IDF Weber carbs and a Porsche fan shroud. A custom grind cam, aftermarket crank and pistons and a Sidewinder exhaust are more than enough mods to get the party started at the back of the sexy Coupe. A Freeway flyer gearbox is a fantastic inclusion too. Brad has detailed the motor a little more, added the painted centres to the wheels and a few other bits and pieces here and there since he has owned the pristine ride.

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Since I photographed the car, Brad has onsold the black beauty to another enthusiast, finished a cool VW bus which is now for sale and has moved onto the dream of building a traditional-styled hot rod.


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