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September 1955 Karmann, 61,000 mile barn find
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oldsplitvw
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies everyone. I didn't notice the black intake manifold, but that's pretty obvious when you look at it.

It's crazy the receipts that came with the car. I know the voltage regulator is not original; it was replaced in 1962. The front wheel bearings are also pretty new too.

I spoke with the seller today, I was incorrect in my previous post. The car was actually last registered and driven in 1965. Crazy, it was only on the road for 10 years, then off the road for almost 50. I've been cleaning, buffing, just trying to get decades of grime off. Everything is moving and working great, except for the top. The main hinges are frozen, and I mean really frozen. Might just need to drive out the hinge pins to get it to move.

Few more pics:

Oval vert only small sunvisor with minimal cleaning effort
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Dome light switch, so it stays off when the top is down. How long did Karmann use this? It looks like a split window door dome light switch. My November 1951 Karmann has the same setup.
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Will
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oldsplitvw
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And to answer another question: The wood is shot, totally not savable. It will need new wood everywhere to get a top on it.

Also, sadly, the outside is not original paint. It has had one exterior respray in a hue that is a little too yellow, and then a couple of fenders have been re-resprayed after that due to minor dings and scratches.

For the time being I am going to get the car running and driving, and enjoy it as is.

Will
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kevin3406
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

outstanding thread! subscribed!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RareAir wrote:
Interior dome light located just above the rear window


Thanks, what are the positions? because there are 3.
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Envious
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ngobet wrote:
RareAir wrote:
Interior dome light located just above the rear window


Thanks, what are the positions? because there are 3.

With the top up.....
1) light comes on when doors open
2) off
3) light comes on even with doors closed.
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BulliBill
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy Crap Will! Nice find!

That car is in GREAT hands and I'm delighted that you'll keep her bone stock and enjoy driving her around. I'll be following this, as my stored-away 1957 Karmann Kabriolett is getting closer and closer to the front of my "to-do" list. Thanks for all the great photos of all the little Kab details too, very interesting, and will be helpful when I start digging into mine.

See you soon at the KP weekend?

Bill Bowman
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AlteWagen
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before driving out the pins in the top frame try dripping some evaporust on the hinges for a week or so. Ive had great results with the stuff lately.

As for the light switch, it looks correct compared to other verts Ive seen.


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


The pic above is from a buddy Daves Aug 55
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful original example! So happy you'll be keeping it stock - can't wait to see future posts and pictures!
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webberjames95
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wanna see this one buff out
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I can confirm that the roof light switch is the same as a split Bug door dome light switch. I think the use of this switch ended in Aug '57, but somebody will probably prove me wrong.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oldsplitvw wrote:
Everything is moving and working great, except for the top. The main hinges are frozen, and I mean really frozen. Might just need to drive out the hinge pins to get it to move.


How typical Smile
1. Remove top frame from the car and use propane torch - heat the hinges and pour water over them. Repeat few times until hinges are completely free.
2. Add oil.
I've done this many times (only once on Oval top hinges! couple of times on later top frames) on frozen hinges and every time I win.
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Derosse
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

outstanding karmann Cool i'm dreaming of finding such one in that condition!
don't hesitate to post more pictures Wink
congralutations!!!
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember discussing with you on the phone few years ago when you were selling your previous white vert which ended in Nertherland I think.
I passed on yours regretted it after you sold it but I was very fortunate to find another one in same like conditions.

These cars are getting rare each year so yeah keep your promise to the old woman and keep the car in garage and roll it as is.

I will be watching your thread if you need pics of some original interior top so you redo it correctly just ask, I can take picture of mine.

JEROME.
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oldsplitvw
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for the responses. I still can't believe that I wound up with this car. It really is the nicest, most original car I have ever owned. Let alone the fact it is an oval convertible.

I snapped a few pics of some documents that came with the car. The previous owner mailed me a whole large envelope of paperwork and manuals dating back to the 50s. She actually mailed me this stuff before the car was ever at my house. Lots of oil change receipts, but some other maintenance stuff too. I tried to show a few different ones, in case someone recognized businesses that are/were well known in the Los Angeles area.

It is also funny, the different mechanics list the car as either a 55, 56 or 57.

I didn't take pictures, but there is a stack of California registration papers from 1959-1965.

And Bill B: Yes, I will be at KP. Looking forward to seeing you there. Your own oval vert looks very clean, can't wait to see what you do with it.

Jerome: Wow, can't believe it was 4 years ago when we spoke. Looks like you wound up with a very nice car.

Will


Oil change from 1959. In the trunk of a car there is an unopened can of Valvoline that looks just like that. NOS motor oil from the 1950s? Garage decoration now.
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Last receipt before storage in 1965. New tire in 1964, costing a whopping $10.
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$16 for a battery in 1959. Still seems expensive
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General work. Company is
"Grand Prix Automotive Inc"
8383 Melrose Ave
Hollywood 46, Calif
Still around or long gone?
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lawn ninja
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's now a petco. Lots of buildings have been knocked down and rebuilt around here due to the earthquakes.
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D. Haviland
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's gonna be a little tough adding on too that garage of yours. Will. Looks like you have a situation. Nice score.
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AlteWagen
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oldsplitvw wrote:

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Were you able to find the grease pencil color designation on the upper firewall?

Weiss?
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oldsplitvw
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very faint "weiß"

Smile

Factory white car. Feel free to send me an email and tell me that karmann never made a white oval convertible.

Will
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AlteWagen
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are the only guy I know that has owned TWO factory white verts.

Ordered the BC yet?
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oldsplitvw
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a short break I spent some good time on the 56 during the past 2 days. The car was only driven from 1955-1965 then parked with 61k miles. I had no history on why the car was parked, after talking with Bill Bowman at Kelley Park we hypothesized the fiber cam gear could have taken a dump. I pulled the fuel pump, and discovered that the cam gear had been upgraded to the metal variety.

The car was parked with a mostly full tank of gas. It had dissolved into a crystalline sludge that filled most of the tank. It spent 4 days boiling out at the local radiator shop to get the junk out. All the fuel lines had the same gas "crystals" in all the lines. Here's what I did in the past day:

All new gas lines, new fuel tap and filter
rebuilt carb
rebuilt fuel pump
rebuilt distributor
set timing
set valves
oil change
threw a battery in, turned the key and prayed. It was cool to click the key to the "on" position and see the red/green dash lights click on. Can't believe that the last time they were on was 49 years ago, and they still just perked right up.

The runs great, pretty much what you'd expect a 61k mile car to sound like. I actually took a video with my phone, but the quality is shaky (and upside down) so I will take another tommorow and post that one. For now here are a few pics.

Will

Tank boiled out well. No pitting.
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It's alive...IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!
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Original keys or the car, split window guys will notice the P-profile key for the glove box. Same as ignitions for split windows.
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