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halbug Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:17 am

Hi folks, welcome to my build thread. It’s supposed to become my project diary. If you expect a quick happy end, I may disappoint you. It’s going to be a long build, because I have big plans and limited time available…

It was in Osnabrueck where the T1 Ghia Convertible started his live in 1965, before it was shipped to a VW dealership in Detroit, Michigan. It was checked regularly; proof is the service book which is still with the car, together with the original service manual.

One of the previous owners must have gotten into trouble as the Ghia was turned in at a local pawn shop. It was hidden there until the shop went bankrupt in 1999. Everything went for auction and a lucky guy from Monroe bought the Ghia.

I do not know how long she was stored away, but she did not see many Michigan winters, that’s for sure. The underside is in incredible solid condition with only surface rust. First time I noticed her was in the parking lot of Michigan Bug-In 2001. She was for sale, but we were expecting our second child and I was not in the mood to buy another Volkswagen. I took a couple pictures and went to the show. The Ghia had left when I returned. I forgot about it, until I watched pictures of the show with a buddy of mine, many months later. I told him about the car and how good it appeared to be. He called me a fool for not buying it. Well - that’s what friends are for - right? :D I called the number from the picture the same day and the Ghia was mine 2 weeks later.

Here is how I bought it:

She has not been welded and has had no accidents. The top is in fair condition and seems to be the first one. Some ugly bolt holes in her body tell stories from two big air horns, :roll: as you see them on semis, mounted to the front fenders, a large Alfa type fake grille :roll: bolted over her nice nose and some kind of rear carrier mounted to her engine lid - all long forgotten and repairable. Of course, the Manila Yellow paint is sratched and marred and has seen better times, but she is solid and complete!

The original engine had a bad rod bearing, so I pulled and redid it completely, including powder-coated tin ware. The original generator was rewound for 12V.

The bumpers where shaved off their over riders (1965 Euro style) and rechromed.

The brakes where redone and a 67 dual chamber brake reservoir plus dual circuit master cylinder where fitted. While the tank was out it was fitted with a return line and powder coated.

Koch’s did an awesome job restoring the original steering wheel.

The Shifter knob is an exact 1:1.35 scaled larger version of the original, powder coated, now able to operate a Berg looking shifter. Oh, Yes it is a B5 shifter – more to come on this...

The 12V battery moved underneath the rear bench.

Not all original??? – Well, right!!! If you are worried about that, you’d better do not read on! I have owned perfect original bugs and fast ones. The latter ones are more my cup of tea.

So I started collecting and buying go-fast goodies while I was living in the US. At that time I was going to maintain the original swing axle chassis.

I drove the Ghia with its original 34 HP during the Michigan summers, until I returned back home in 2006.
Some furniture had to stay in Michigan, so the movers could fit my Ghia and lots of parts into the 40 ft container. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:


halbug Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:21 am

The Ghia and I are back home in Germany. Unfortunately it has been stored since. First I had no good space to get going, than I spent some time transforming a 1968 bug into a decent, quick 2,1 Liter every-day car.

The driving in this IRS chassied bug – on winding back country roads as well as on the Autobahn - convinced me and I started to look into ways of transforming the Ghia to IRS.

I was very lucky finding a New Old Stock IRS Chassis. It was built in Mexico and is a replacement part for a Thing or Kuebel. It has never been used and has no VIN!!! It is 1 of 5 chassis imported from a German Buggy builder during the 80ies. Fortunately for me, this one never made it under a buggy and ended up in a barn somewhere near Munich.

I have placed an order with Medeola Suspensions and as soon as Kevin is getting my front and read kit ready I will start the work on that chassis.

More to come – Thanks for reading.


berliner Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:51 am

I'm impressed!!

halbug Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:03 pm

Thanks berliner!

I like to transform her into a fast car; however I do have a lot of respect for the condition she is in. The plan is, to modify the body only as much as absolutely necessary and to avoid visible changes all together!

Once I am done restoring her, she is supposed to look like “from the factory” with the exception of larger wheels and stance. 5/205 wheelpattern is a must. Similar to this one, but less extreme:

I really like to hide the performance potential. Good examples of what I mean are the shifter knob or the two main gauges: The speedo is an original 140 km/h unit that is recalibrated to show miles/hour with the km/h reading somewhat hidden in an inner ring. So it will show me speeds up to 140 m/h.

The tach face used to be an original time clock, the housing an old speedo, now fitted with an AutoMeter tach. 12 o’clock is neutral, 1 is 1000 rpm, 2 is 2000 … The minute hand is fitted with a counter weight and then repainted in matching color. The hour hand is adjustable from the outside.

The majority of actual modifications will happen on the chassis. With a totally new bottom I can do any wild changes without touching the original chassis:

Mendeola front suspension with OEM modified spindles
Mendeola rear suspension with narrowed trailing arms
CSP disk brakes, 5/205 pattern
Berg 5 speed transmission, by Dave Folts
2,1 (82x90.5) engine with Haltech fuel injection – almost done building
Oil and fuel lines
New seat track mounts
Some reinforcement brackets

Can’t wait to get started!!! :wink:

c21darrel Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:31 pm

Nice buy! Good luck on your build, already looks fun!

rcooled Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:42 pm

That should be a great foundation for your project...good score! Looks very similar to my old Oriel Yellow '69.

halbug Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:12 pm

Thanks you guys!

I had some time over the WE and worked on my transmission.

I had Dave Folts build me a tranny with Gene Berg 5-speed kit during my stay in Michigan. I had it build for swing axle with a .88 fifth gear set. I need to change it to IRS now (see above) and decided to do the swap myself.

So I unpacked the B5 for the second time since I own it:

I took the side plates off and the differential out:

My bug has the same final drive as this Berg5 and I prefer something longer yet meanwhile. So, I took the end cover off:

... and pulled the 5th gear set:

... and had Dave Folts sent my a new set, a .82 this time. He ground it exactly to the same hight. This made the re-installation pretty simple. Except for me "dropping the ball" big time when pushing the little detent steel ball of the fifth shift rod too far, so that it fell into the main housing :oops: . This made me having to pull the whole stack :evil: . Well that was another lesson learned - the tranny is closed from that end again.

Next I will have to buy a new differential. IRS super diff or a Quaife diff, I will have to do some more research...

Stay tuned and thanks for your interest.


halbug Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:54 am

I went with a Quaife differential :twisted:

I have never set up a differential from scratch, so I decided to save the labor for assembling a super diff and install the already assembled Quaife myself. I got it yesterday. The set up of the drive flange to the splined shaft is different to the original, so will have to find out how to get this done right. Here's a shot:

Anyone done it before?


halbug Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:51 pm

OK - No spacer needed according to Quaife. Now I have an issue with plenty of clearance between the drive flange and the splined shaft. Will see how this goes :evil:

Good News: New Seats arrived today - Looking Great. 8)

Cheers halbug

kman Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Funny. My daughter is in Osnabruck right now. She is unimpressed that the Ghia was made there. But she's a teenager.

halbug Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:51 am

kman wrote: Funny. My daughter is in Osnabruck right now. She is unimpressed that the Ghia was made there. But she's a teenager.

Little does she know :lol: Hope she enjoys her time in Germany!

halbug Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:35 am

Quick Update:

Diff. went back to the dealer. Quaife in England was very uncorporative and the thing had just too much clearance between splined shaft and drive flange.
I hope Gary Peloquin will have one for sale soon.

Medeola chassis kit is supposed to arrive any day now... :P


halbug Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:38 pm

My Mendeola Stuff arrived Thursday :D :D :D

Unfortunately some parts are missing :( but Kevin promised he will send them right away.

Today I built the frame for my body hoist :shock:

I will use it to store the chassis above my bug, while I am not workin on it. This way I can still park my bug in my tight garage :lol: . It will also be used to lift the Karmann body off its old pan and lower it onto the new one...


halbug Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:30 am

Kevin has sent most of the missing parts. At least I have the important stuff together now 8) .

Kuebel Chassis hanging off the hoist, waiting to become transfomred...


halbug Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:24 am

Back from winter break:

Clearing the Berg5 to the Frame is complete:

During the winter:
I received a new a differential from Gary Peloquin, what a difference in service to Quaife. And the technical things I did not like about the Quaife are all good here.

Mendeola stuff is still not complete, but I measured the welded spindles that came with the kit and developed adapters to make stock spindles work without the need of welding them. I cannot get welded spindles approved for street driving, so had to come up with a solution for stockies.
This is the CAD, parts will be made soon.

More to come 8)


Basketcase Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:58 am

beautiful Ghia and Bug!

halbug Sun May 03, 2015 11:01 am


First try fit of the Mendeola rear trailing arms yesterday – looking cool on my own chassis 8)

The rubber mount for the Berg 5-Speed did interfere with the arm, so I cut the lower tube off the mount to realign to the chassis and fit further rearward.

I made slots to move the rubbers further inboard.

Everything clears now, but I will have to make my own brackets to the frame horns.

I experienced the first surprise with my Kübel chassis – even thought, I was told it should fit all right :roll: – the rear shock towers are different to bug or Ghia. Kübel tower left. Most obvious is the lower hard stop (arrow) and the different angle of the upper shock mount hole :cry:

After a lot of comparing and measuring, I am hoping that the body mounts are in the same location, so I will grind off all the ribs below the red line and keep my finger crossed to not see more of those kind of surprises...


halbug Mon May 18, 2015 12:38 pm

Lots of grinding on the weekend:

The cast-in hard stops are cut back to clear the spring plates:

Shock towers cleared for Mendeola (Fox) struts with a minimum preload of 1/2". Less preload is propably not required and not a good idea anyhow:


Stabilizer bar attachments are next. This will be fun too, because of the Kübel (Type 181) truss bar under the torsion spring tubes :twisted:


halbug Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:25 pm

Brackets to mount Berg Transmission mount:

Used a piece of square tube:

Made to fit and welded to the chassis:

These will clear the Mendeola rear trailing arms :D !

halbug Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:02 pm

Sway bar for Type 181 / Thing Chassis

I wanted to keep the stock reinforcement bar under the torsion spring tubes and maintain the right geometry as Kevin had designed it.
This solution puts the sway bar where it needs to be, without lowering it.
Just as is sits in a bug :wink:

Making parts:

Space for a solid insert:

Insert generates flat with threaded hole, this will hold one side of the bracket:

Custom mount for the other side, shown with 2 brackets for sway bar:

Clearance for the sway bar:

All welded up:

Everythings clears and fits 8) 8) 8) 8) :


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