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AlteWagen Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:08 pm

Anyone have any Karmann Factory specific information out there? Is there ANY surviving literature?

Looking for Karmann specific: Beetle and Ghia OK

Pics
Production numbers
Accessories
Special paint options




























AlteWagen Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:19 pm

Late but still Karmann




retrowagen wrote: I concur on the date and chassis number of the first Coupe build date (series production, of course) being 11 August 1955 at chassis 906 481. Noteworthy that this was almost one month after the Press introduction in Georgsmarienhuette (14 July 1955)!

Also quite true that the chassis was built over one month prior to the completion of the car. The chassis numbers were excerpted in series with the Beetle chassis, but shipping of the finished chassis from the Wolfsburg presses to the Osnabrueck Karosserie (and their warehousing until use) virtually always added at least one month to the build time, relative to a Beetle with a chassis number very near the Karmann Ghia's. And it must also be said that we have no hard evidence that Karmann assembled cars in perfect chassis number sequence!

As for the seeming pecularity of this particular early Karmann Ghia's color, I can only offer some educated guesses at why it might be outside of what the factory literature and records generally suggest for what was available for the early production. First: in the first calendar year of production (meaning, 11 August 1955 - 31 December 1955), Karmann tells us that they built 1,282 Karmann-Ghias. That's roughly 15 a day (6 day working week back then). The Coupe in question was built on 27 September 1955, but production got off to an exceptionally slow start in the first few months (body #280 leaving the factory on 8 October 1955, for a point of reference). At this retarded pace, it is concievable--yet unverifyable by me--that some experiments may have been occurring vis-a-vis the exterior color, a sort of "hey, how does this look?" that one might expect from a (then) limited series builder near the beginning of a model run of (then) unknown promise.

It could also be possible--and again, unverifyable by me--that the first owner of this particular example was a person of such prominence that (s)he not only made it near first in line to get a highly sought-after car, but exerted enough influence at Karmann to receive a special color. At this point in Karmann's history, they might have had the time to do a few of these as special "placements" with well known politicians and celebrities.

This is the type of info I am looking for!!


splitjunkie wrote: MDKG wrote:

One pic shows an unpainted sunroof model which makes me think the topless models (sorry guys, just talking about cars :wink: ) must be convertibles

Of course the topless ones are convertibles. The assertion that they might be sunroof cars is just silly. The rear quarters are one piece so would include the windows. The same goes for the windshield pillars. The bodies were welded together in massive body jigs to keep everything aligned while they spot welded everything together. The roofs would have gone on much earlier than this stage.

Complete roof pressings with the complete sunroof opening were available as a spare part. I know this for a fact because I purchased the front section including the windshield of a NOS three bow sunroof pressing from a Samba member a few years ago. He had been after it for years and when he first saw it, it was in one piece. At some point the dealer who had it got tired of storing such a big piece of sheet metal that he cut it into three pieces to make it easier to store. This seller had the center sunroof section and the rear section with the window for sale here as well. So a sunroof car would have been built the same way as a sedan, except they would have installed a roof pressing with the sunroof opening already installed when they built the body.

You can also notice that the upper convertible only firewall, hinge mounting plates are in place on these shells. These were unique to the four seat convertibles, especially the Karmans. I don't know if the Heb police cars used this same piece but it is definitely not a sedan part.


MDKG wrote:

So did Karmann use the top of the rear side panel or did they grind it off and add a new top?

Karmann cut the tops of the quarters off and added their own tops. They also punched the louvers in the deck lids.

I believe they did the same with the doors.

This is in addition to all the other coachwork they did to make the completed bodies.

I see no added braces on these shells other than a brace that runs from B pillar to B pillar.

The heater channels do not appear to have the lower reinforcements so unless there are some small diameter aircraft cables that don't show up in the photos, the shell must be rigid enough as is. I find it surprising if this is the case.

More good stuff

GŁteAndTite Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:37 pm

this is a great idea for a thread! i ironically this morning was just thinking about doing a thread of early karmann factory photos. I have a magazine from 1959 that shows the karmann factory, i will scan the pics and post up here, its in german. anyone speak german??

AlteWagen Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:37 pm

More pics









pre production verts?




heb?


AlteWagen Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:41 pm

guteandtite wrote: this is a great idea for a thread! i ironically this morning was just thinking about doing a thread of early karmann factory photos. I have a magazine from 1959 that shows the karmann factory, i will scan the pics and post up here, its in german. anyone speak german??

Thanks. Please include any photos or info you gained from your thread!

58-60 "Early Big Window" Convertible Thread
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=426481

Also a lot of info here

Official oval convertible thread and registry
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=341124

erioco Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:40 pm

The pix of the early cars on the line are great, much better than the others I have seen from that period.


I speak German willing to do translations.
Eric Mack
[email protected]

AlteWagen Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:46 pm

literature from the archives


















NOS parts anyone

























here is the complete interior and color link
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/archives/lit/58_59_beetle_convertible_colors.php

AlteWagen Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:35 pm

More pics



some 18a pics (non Karmann)









356 police (Karmann?)







Not Karmann but a police RAG!!




AlteWagen Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:37 am

saw this in the cool pic thread and had to add it


AlteWagen Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:40 am

great link


http://www.karmann.com/domain-karmann-100-de/ghiastory/index.html


Can anyone translate it? Cant cut and paste to a translator or I would do it.

MDKG Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:51 am

There is an English version

http://www.karmann.com/domain-karmann-100-de/wk_english/ghiastory/index.html

Great pics in the above posts BTW. 8)

AlteWagen Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:36 pm

Thanks, most of the pics were here on the samba already but not in one location. Finding stuff in the gallery is difficult, most of the pics I run across by accident.

More standard verts I forgot to put earlier.




MDKG Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:56 am

It seems like there is not a lot documented about the (early) Karmann production.

Are you familiar with the book Volkswagen Nine Lives Later by Dan R. Post? It was published in the 60s and it has a series of drawings(!) on the Karmann Ghia production in it. Here's an example:

It has 14 drawings in total and also a pic of beetles and ghias on the same production line:


and here's a shot from Die Edel Kaefer:


I have some more books on Karmann but none really cover the production in detail :(

AlteWagen Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:28 am

That info is GREAT!!

Any possibility on getting some hi res scans from the book?

MDKG Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:47 pm

PM me your email and I can see what I can do

AlteWagen Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:54 am

I never knew that beetles were in the SAME line as Ghias. Special order line??





Is this Gersons shop in a few years?

AlteWagen Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:39 pm

MDKG wrote: It seems like there is not a lot documented about the (early) Karmann production.

and here's a shot from Die Edel Kaefer:


I have some more books on Karmann but none really cover the production in detail :(


Sure looks like a LOT of lead for the vert decklids. Since VW sent regular sedan lids to Karmann and they just stamped the vents maybe the stamps were not so straight!!


Can you list the other Karmann books you have?

Ninamashr Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:45 am

derluftwagen wrote:
Sure looks like a LOT of lead for the vert decklids. Since VW sent regular sedan lids to Karmann and they just stamped the vents maybe the stamps were not so straight!!

I'm sure the vents were dead on. The reason for the lead is probably the distortion brought on by the spot welding of the rain catchers.

MDKG Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:10 pm

derluftwagen wrote: I never knew that beetles were in the SAME line as Ghias. Special order line??





Is this Gersons shop in a few years?


I see you got the scans in good order... :D :wink:

BTW your 2nd post also shows two pics with both Ghias and Beetles in the same line.

AlteWagen Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:12 pm

You are right! I didnt even notice. On one caption it stated that the FINISHING line ghia and verts were in the same line.

Thanks again for the scans, I did order the book on Amazon and its on the way!! :D



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