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1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible
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rb_tunstall
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:43 pm    Post subject: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

I recently purchased a 1958 Karmann Ghia convertible without the convertible top Sad . I have had a quote of $7.700 for a rebuilt / new one and hence want to find one myself. I found an old advert saying that they fitted 1958-1962 which gives me a few more years to look for but is this correct ?

What changes happened over the years to the convertible top ?

PS Cash waiting for anyone with a complete or part top

Richard Tunstall (Denmark)
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smuenchrath
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

I always thought that the early top frames essentially fit from 1958 to 1967, when the rear wood bow was replaced with tension cables. I could be mistaken however.

Best of luck in your search - the early Ghia convertible top components are very scarce and extremely expensive to find. Your quote of $7700 is actually not too far off as a completed, installed purchase

At a high level i am thinking for some of the main bits (not including hardware)

- Top Frame: $500-900
- Convertible crank mechanism: $500
- cover plate, crank, lift handles, chrome catch plate: $800-1000
- Front, Intermediate & Rear Bows: $1000
- Headliner, padding and top cover: $800-1000

Theres a few top frames for sale on here - most look to be later models. Some crank mechanisms as well...
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Loren
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:49 pm    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

Tops are interchangeable from 58-67, though there are differences. I am sure there are more, but I know the early mechanisms had cast iron braces that attached to the body while later tops had tubular steel braces. I don't know when the change occurred. Early mechanisms were also painted body color, though I think this might have changed for the 59 model year? when they were all painted black.

Here is an image of the early style cast iron brace:

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KGCoupe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

smuenchrath wrote:

...
At a high level i am thinking for some of the main bits (not including hardware)

- Top Frame: $500-900
- Convertible crank mechanism: $500
- cover plate, crank, lift handles, chrome catch plate: $800-1000
- Front, Intermediate & Rear Bows: $1000
- Headliner, padding and top cover: $800-1000

Theres a few top frames for sale on here - most look to be later models. Some crank mechanisms as well...

Shocked

Are those prices just for the early Cabriolet parts, or are all Karmann Ghia Cabriolet parts very pricey?
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sputnick60
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:34 am    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

I've found cabriolet components for the most part, expensive. I did much of it myself, including sourcing all the material. It still cost around AUD $8K to finish. Its very labour intensive work. The Karman Werk claim that it occupied two guys for a day for each one in an intensive production line work space. A trimer would be much slower doing bespoke work.

The later design with the support wire instead of the wooden tack bow is a much faster way to do the job. That's why the post 67 1/2 cabrios are cheaper to install.

Nicholas
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KGCoupe
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:12 am    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

rb_tunstall wrote:
I recently purchased a 1958 Karmann Ghia convertible without the convertible top Sad .
...
Richard Tunstall (Denmark)

I'm curious to know if a copy of the Ghia's official 'Birth Certificate' was included with the sale.
If not, is there any other evidence such as period photos or a copy of the original Bill Of Sale to comfirm that the Ghia came from the Karmann factory as a Cabriolet model?

If not, did you at least get a plausible reason from the seller as to why the entire top, frame and all, is missing?

I really don't want to open a whole different can of worms or worry you.unnecessarily, but before you invest that much more money into that Ghia I would think that you'd like some assurance that you'd have some hope of being able to recoup the.total amount in any possible future sale.

If the Ghia left the factory as a Coupe model and was then later 'converted' to a 'Cabriolet' by a previous owner, it certainly wouldn't have the same resale value of a verified factory-made Karmann Ghia Cabriolet and you may not want to put another penny into it.
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rb_tunstall
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

I am afraid the situation is worse than I thought I would have to pay an additional $1,900 more for Duty and Tax and I only paid $3,000 for the car ! The purchase was a nightmare the seller had advertised that both 1958 convertibles had matching numbers ie Chassis and Body it turned out that he had no evidence for this, luckily I managed to gather the evidence but only after I had paid the money. The explanation for the missing top is that the car is really a parts car and everything has been sold off. Unless I find a cheaper way of getting a top the car won't be restored. The primer car came with a top of sorts, it is in such bad condition it will also cost a fortune to restore.
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KGCoupe
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:29 am    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

Wow, you indeed seem to have quite the project(s?) there!

Unless those body shells came with boxes and boxes of parts as well, I'd say the cost of buying an entire Cabriolet top would be but a relatively small portion of the total cost of acquiring all the necessary parts needed to make even one complete Karmann Ghia Cabriolet. Smile



... but, the way values continue to climb sky-high for genuine "matching numbers" lowlight Karmann Ghia Cabriolets I'd guess you'd have more than a fair shot of having a completed restoration that may actually be worth more than the additional amount you'd need to spend to get the job done.
According to this Karmann Ghia Production Figures By Model Year Chart found here on The Samba under the Technical tab, there was only a mere 4,584 Karmann Ghia Cabriolets made for the 1959 model year and there can't be more than a small fraction of those left remaining today.


Say, wasn't there some other thread around here about the 4th oldest known Karmann Ghia body left surviving that was being sold sitting on a much later model chassis?
Worst case, perhaps that buyer may be interested in buying one of your "parts cars" for the lowlight pan. Very Happy

I wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide to do in any event.
If you do decide on attempting a complete restoration, I'm certain there are plenty of us Ghia Forum members that would very much enjoy reading a thread dedicated to that process.
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c21darrel
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:19 pm    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

Bummer, almost sounds like round two....
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=668495&highlight=rip
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rb_tunstall
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:15 am    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

Many thanks to everybody that contributed, I certainly learnt alot. As a result of my message I was contacted by people selling the items I required and I have managed to get the convertible frame and header for $650 which is considerably less than the 9.600$ (Complete) it would cost from a supplier. Obviously I still need a lot of parts but these are readily available.
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Rome
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:20 pm    Post subject: Re: 1958 Karmann Ghia Convertible Reply with quote

Please put up occasional updates and photos of the '58 during your restoration process. You have an ambitious project, but its rarity will be worth it when it's finished and driving.
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