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Saving Emiko: 68 RHD Restoration in New Zealand
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:29 pm    Post subject: Saving Emiko: 68 RHD Restoration in New Zealand Reply with quote

So here we go. After surfing on thesamba for a month or two I am ready to start my own thread. I reached retirement age in August and needed a project to keep me busy and to retain my sanity. I ended up with a curious mix of three: 1. restore a car 2. write a novel 3. lose weight.
I decided to combine 1. and 2. My genre is creative non-fiction. The restoration project will be the non-fiction part. The novel will start as a crime/detective story but will end either as a love story or a crime story. We shall see.
But first I had to find a suitable car. I found a 1971 LHD Beetle in Tauranga and went to look at it. Imported from Canada, it was bought new by a girl who brought it to New Zealand in 1973. Her son - she has since passed away - has a photo of the car being loaded on the ship to bring her here.
On the way back I saw a Karmann Ghia looking rather forlorn amongst a large number of Beetles. I stopped to look and was hooked. I bought the car and named her Emiko, a Japanese name and meaning, Girl with grace and beauty.
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is how I found Emiko. What you can't see are the weeds growing through the floor pans.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The engine bay was dirty but everything appeared to be there.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The wiring in front of the speedo looked like a crow's nest.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


There was a half-smoked Japanese cigarette in the ashtray and some Japanese quality control stickers on the windscreen. I chose to name her Emiko and my mission is to save her.
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John Moxon Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posting like an old hand already. Wink

I have family in Tauranga where that Beetle came from.
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Moxon wrote:
Posting like an old hand already. :wink:


Thanks to you. You should come to visit us.
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clarkare
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John is not the only one from the Uk who has family there, my son lives in Mt. Maungani, Tauranga....

Interesting looking project, I look forward to following the thread

Alan
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clarkare wrote:
John is not the only one from the Uk who has family there, my son lives in Mt. Maungani, Tauranga....

Alan


It's a lovely place. My son is a surgeon there and we visit regularly. And the last time I was there I saw the most beautiful Ghia going past. I felt like running after it, and would have too if I didn't have my grandson to look after.
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buying the car was not easy. The man behind the counter at V-Dub Shoppe told me they were selling the car on behalf of someone in Auckland and that the car was not licensed in New Zealand. It had to be rendered roadworthy first but they had the Export Certificate. They said the owner would phone me. He didn't.
I drove back - 120 kilometres - and inspected the car thoroughly. It had rust on everything within 30cm - a foot in Imperial measures - from the ground. I looked at the Export Certificate. It was a blue document printed in Japanese. I understood very little but it gave the car's weight as 2000kg. That could not be right, I thought.
Inside the ashtray I found a half-smoked cigarette: CASTER Red. In the glovebox I found a parking ticket printed in Japanese: date: 10-10-16, Time in: 12:17, Time out: 14:05, Place: KUZUHA MALL. In an envelope under the front seat, a New Zealand stamp: 1869 1969 Centenary New Zealand Law Society. 'What if these are clues?' I thought.
Still the owner didn't phone. I phoned him; no answer.
I took a copy of the Export Certificate to VINZ (Vehicle Inspection New Zealand) and was told it was one for a BMW.
I phoned the owner; no answer.
I knew the signs: I was intrigued and in love: A bad combination. I had to have this car.
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josie
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on your new life plan and Ghia! I'm cheering you on just like the others on this site. Love the novel + restoration pairing. Looking forward to keeping up with your thread.
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Karly
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on your ghia!

My ghia is from Tai Tapu/Christchurch so who knows if they ever managed to drive past each other being from other ends!

New Zealand road licensing is very interesting - I imported my car from New Zealand yet they kept insisting via mail to my Australian address that I visit the local branch (in Christchurch) to cancel the registration! So I hope you can get it sorted out. Somehow my car had a current warrant of fitness yet there was no way it would meet a roadworthy here with melted wiring from a half and half 6 to 12 volt conversion!

Looking forward to reading your progress Smile
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to have this car, but the Fates were conspiring against me.

I phoned the owner yet again. He answered, at last. Yes, I could have the car, as is where is. I asked about the Export Certificate, without which I can't license the car in New Zealand. He'll phone back. He didn't.

I drove back to the car to check the engine and VIN numbers. I found the engine number on the block below the generator: HO295826. The VIN number on the tunnel under the back seat was 148932573. On the panel inside the front trunk was an VIN plate with the same number. Below it, riveted to the panel, was a second plate: VIN 7ATOJ40BX12932573.
Back to Auckland and to VINZ. At last a man willing to help, Scott Clark. I showed him the numbers.

"Yes, the car is in our system," he said after checking on his computer.
"Does that mean I can register it?' I asked.
"Yes, provided you have the Export Certificate from Japan and carry out all the repairs required."
"I can't find the Export Certificate," I said. "All I have is that BMW one."
'I'll see what I can do," Ross said. "Sometimes these documents go to the wrong people. I'll ask my colleague Gareth to investigate and let you know."
"When?"
"In about a week."

On the way home I remembered Scott's comment about repairs. What repairs?
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Last edited by kiwighia68 on Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Somehow my car had a current warrant of fitness yet there was no way it would meet a roadworthy here with melted wiring from a half and half 6 to 12 volt conversion!"

Looking forward to reading your progress :)[/quote]

Hi Canni, Yes the WOF (roadworthy) check here is rather superficial. They work on time - 6 months or a year now - but I think they should rather work on mileage.

It's not easy to import a car into Australia, I heard somewhere. It might give me a market for my Ghia if I were to restore it to mint condition.
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

josie wrote:
Congrats on your new life plan and Ghia! I'm cheering you on just like the others on this site. Love the novel + restoration pairing. Looking forward to keeping up with your thread.


Hi Josie, It's working, would you believe it. I've shed 4kg and have written about 9000 words so far. And the car is in pieces ready for some serious surgery and a facelift.
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Rich62ghia
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the way you have written this post, I too am intrigued to know the history of this ghia and how a Japanese Ghia ended up in NZ. Hope you can get it registerd,Keep it up, look forward to seeing the progress. Have you thought about ordering a birth certificate for the car, might complete a bit more of the puzzle.
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Kmolenda
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to you and your Ghia! This is turning out to be a great thread, I hope to hear more of the follies involved with this.
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich62ghia wrote:
Have you thought about ordering a birth certificate for the car, might complete a bit more of the puzzle.


Thanks for the encouragement. I've paid the money and am waiting for the birth certificate, said to be "in the post". The chassis and engine numbers appear to be genuine enough for a '68. We shall see.

I'm going to need a lot of help from Australian Ghia owners, I think. Just across the ditch, with RHD too, and from what I can see on thesamba, a good deal of expertise and experience to tap into.
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Karly
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I doubt I'll ever import a car from New Zealand again, its easier and cheaper to get one from America I've heard. But the NZ ghia and its price was good. Australian Quarantine is NOT and just love slapping extra charges and you have no choice but to pay cause they have your car!

But the Japan origin is intriguing, I heard you guys have a lot of Japan imports over there and just wonder if it just jumped on the ship with some of them! Fortunately for us ghias share parts with beetles so RHD mechanical stuff is easy. http://www.karmannghia.com.au/ has a lot of interior stuff. RHD floor mats are tricky!
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retrowagen
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Canni wrote:
Yes I doubt I'll ever import a car from New Zealand again, its easier and cheaper to get one from America I've heard. But the NZ ghia and its price was good. Australian Quarantine is NOT and just love slapping extra charges and you have no choice but to pay cause they have your car!

But the Japan origin is intriguing, I heard you guys have a lot of Japan imports over there and just wonder if it just jumped on the ship with some of them! Fortunately for us ghias share parts with beetles so RHD mechanical stuff is easy. http://www.karmannghia.com.au/ has a lot of interior stuff. RHD floor mats are tricky!


Jerry Heldt there at karmannghia.com.au will take excellent care of you. He knows these cars inside and out, and is a great guy.
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

retrowagen wrote:
Jerry Heldt there at karmannghia.com.au will take excellent care of you. He knows these cars inside and out, and is a great guy.


Thanks for the advice. I saw a similar recommendation elsewhere and I might even pay him a visit.
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a novelist, I know the value of short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. I also know how to manipulate and intrigue the reader by using devices such as flashbacks and flash forwards, short pauses and long silences, misinformation and false clues, dead ends and apparently innocuous details. Of these long silences are the most dangerous: If you make them wait too long, they lose interest and put the book down, never to open it again.

It took a long week before I heard from Scott again. "We found the Export Certificate from Japan," he said, 'but I can't give it to you. The owner is the only person I can give it to."

The owner is the guy who doesn't answer his phone and won't phone back when I leave a message.

I went to see Scott anyway. I needed to see what repairs were required. Scott, using the VIN number, printed a VTNZ report on the car:

"Border Check, 27/10/2012 - Damaged
"RUST UNDER BODY
"LR WHEEL CYLINDER LEAKING, REPLACE ALL FOUR TYRES RADIAL CRACKS
"EQUALISE N IMPROVE PARK BRAKES, FIT HI STOP
"REPAIR CERT REQUIRED FOR UNDERBODY CORROSION, DAMAGE KICKUP PANE N STRUCTURAL DAMAGES RUST ALL ROUND"

"What does it mean?" I asked.
"The car has cancer," he said. "The cancer that is rust."

I know a thing or two about cancer. I drove home very slowly. Something kept pulling me back to this car.
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c21darrel
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats!
The good thing about ghia cancer is we have found the cure. Its not cheap but it is complete and the ghia can live healthy forever.
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