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CJ from South Africa.
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kgj
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:49 am    Post subject: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Introducing CJ. A 1958 lowlight from South Africa.
Name taken from the first 2 digits of her SA number plate.
So in 2011 I'm Without a Karmann Ghia having sold my RHD 1964 a few months earlier for quite good money that I had owned for about 7 years.
Turns out I couldn't leave them alone and I start looking for another one almost immediately. I really liked the rarity of a factory RHD so I looked on gumtree and eBay in South Africa for another right hooker, even found a few, and having some friends over there had a couple looked at. There are some pretty ropey cars out there...
Anyway, I stumble across this '58 for reasonable money on gumtree. Ok, VW never made a RHD lowlight, but, it's a lowlight! I'll take it. I wire the money, my mate picks it up from Paarl near Cape Town and arranges to send it back to me. How hard can it be?
Here is its birth certificate.


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And here it is in its last home in SA. October 2011.

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The more observant among you will notice that she is no longer Aerosilver in colour, more a British racing green. She was a road going car when I acquired her and initial poking around by my mate seemed to suggest that she didn't have too many rust issues.
Long story short it took 12 months to get whatever paperwork was needed to allow her to leave the country but by September 2012 I've lost the will to live and have given up any hope of ever seeing this car so I went out and bought a black 1970 coupe instead (The Samba thread entitled "why do we start these things?"). Then would you believe it, a few days after buying the 1970 I get an email giving the go ahead for the shipping to take place! By Christmas 2012 I've suddenly got 2 Ghias!
here she is in November 2012 in a container ready for shipping to the U.K.
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To be continued.....

Thanks for looking.
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John Moxon Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:02 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

I'm liking it already...not difficult to understand. Very Happy
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kiwighia68
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:54 pm    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

You ask why we do these things. The answer is in the script on the back of your '58 Lowlight.

Haakdoorn

Two words. Haak, meaning to hook, and doorn, meaning thorn.

We are hooked. That's why we do this.

Haakdoorn is also a place. Afrikaans people have a penchant for the ironic, laconic and teasing in their naming of places. Like Onderbroekspruit =Underpantstream. Or Tweebuffelsmeteenskootdoodgeskietfontein = The spring where I killed two buffalo with one shot.

I hope you are going to keep that Haakdoorn script on the back of your car. It is somehow fitting to describe your motivation for going to all those lengths to get the car to the UKl.
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kgj
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:42 pm    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Very informative. Thank you.
I'm not sure the sticker will survive the stripping disk on my grinder. Maybe I could get another one for after the paint job, or rename the car Haakdoorn?
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kgj
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

December 2012. The car cleared customs in Felixstowe which is a very long way from where I live in Cornwall so I managed to get a friend who works for a haulage company down here to get it loaded on a returning empty artic lorry trailer in exchange for a "drink".
This is the first view I had of a he car, and the first time I got to see all the stuff that was either missing or wrong.

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Nice dash and steering wheel. Not so nice upholstery and door cards.

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All the chrome for the windscreens on the back seat.
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Plastic sun visors, broken.

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A ton of under seal absolutely everywhere underneath.

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And an interesting wiring job.
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Thanks for looking.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

kgj wrote:
I'm not sure the sticker will survive the stripping disk on my grinder.

Nice find!. But why would you be stripping that paint...looks pretty nice in your photos?
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kgj
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:28 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Good question.
Firstly I'd love to take it back to aerosilver, it's original colour. Those early metallics look so good, my favourite being Lizard green.
And secondly, you can see if you look closely from this other photo from my first meeting I immediately started to pick off some of the green paint where it had blistered on the front wing (fender) to reveal the aerosilver underneath. The green paint is hiding many secrets. It wasn't a quality paint job. In some areas it looks like the original paint wasn't even flattened back before painting.
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And here she is at my local village garage for an mot before I could register it. And a little more green paint picked off.
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kgj
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

The MOT test is a big deal. It is a yearly test of roadworthyness we drivers of old cars in the UK often dread. You also need this MOT certificate, along with import papers and previous country registration document to register a car in the UK and be given a UK number plate. (Plus valid insurance)
I failed this mot due to poor rear brake readings on the rolling road. This prompted me to fit new flexi hoses, brake shoes, slave cylinders, dropped spindles and new wheel bearings all round.
While I was doing this I then discovered that pre 1960 cars are now exempt an MOT test! Unbelievable. So I didn't even return to the garage for a retest I just sent in my import papers and SA reg document to the DVLA (driver and vehicle licensing authority) and sure enough, a couple of weeks later I was issued with my new number plate and UK log book. I am now road legal! Annoyingly, I could have done this the moment it arrived. And would you believe there were no fees to pay at any point in the registration process. What a bargain. And free road tax too as a classic car being pre 1974(I think).

Here is CJ's log book.

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So I drive her to and from work a few times in the summer of 2013 but gradually her secrets are brought out into the open. For example, why is there a blue RHD glove box lid in with the pile of spare parts on the back seat of the car?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:54 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Back in the 90's I had a '64 coupe that I "cal looked". Lowered, de chromed etc. But now I cannot live without the chrome. I took the car off the road Christmas Day 2013 and started stripping away the layers and generally getting to know CJ. One of the first jobs was to clean up and reinstall the windshield chrome just to make sure everything fitted right. A bit of a job but ok with the right technique.
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Did the same in the rear screen but encountered the worst rust on the car when the rear parcel shelf mostly crumbled away. Leaky rear screen, water trapped on the parcel shelf material and left to dissolve. A chap in Wales supplied me a replacement I welded in.
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And now just look at the door to rear fender alignment. There was no way the chrome side trims were going to fit on here without looking rubbish. The car has been hit on the left rear fender and "repaired" to this standard.
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Unpicking this took me 6 months of karmann ghia play time.
So why the RHD glovebox? In the extensive paperwork that came with the car there is talk of a donor 1960 RHD Ghia that was sourced to provide a rear fender clip to repair this car some 20 years ago, the glove box lid being the last remaining momento of the transaction.

Thanks for looking.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:07 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Forgot to mention. They used the door off the 1960 donor as well!
Anyone who knows the differences between lowlights and later cars will know that this is a big deal. For example the door glass is longer and would bump into the b pillar?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:41 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

This is the car as she is today.
The issue with rear fender to door alignment was due to the rear fender clip being welded in place about 15mm inboard of where it should have been and then loads of filler (bondo) used to roughly make it look ok. From 50 yards maybe.
I cut away the outer rocker, unpicked the fender repair welds and reset in place so that the front fender, door and rear fender all lined up ok.

This is where the repair clip was cut in.
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Next problem, the shut pillar is different on a 1960 car to a lowlight so I sourced a pillar clip from a Samba ad in the US and had it sent over.

The outer skin of the car is now made up of the following sections.
A 1960 repair clip.
B 1958 repair clip.
C,D and E rust repair panels.
F home made repair panel.
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And here is a picture of my attempt to line everything up before I commit to anything permanent.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:07 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Found out about these clever welding clamps on a thread here on the Samba so bought myself a few.
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Some welding and grinding later. By now I had also sourced a 1958 door from KGPR.
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Trial fit of a new set of chrome trims.
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Thanks for looking.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:25 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Nice work! Love seeing skilled people in action. Looking forward to following this one.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:28 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Thanks, very good of you to say.
Everything I've learned about this type of repair has been through studying Samba and ABCGT (vintage Porsche stuff) threads for the last few years

It look ages to find a half decent 1958 door and even then there were places where bits of it had rusted through a little at the lower edge. So either try to find and pay again for another one, or repair this one. I thought I'd try a repair first. You need a lowlight door on a lowlight because the door glass, check strap and other details are different.

Cut myself a lower repair panel from the 1960 door.

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Here is the door needing improvement.

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The inner shell also needed some rot cutting out.

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I cut a couple of clips from the 1960 shell too.

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To make this repair.
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Then took he opportunity to POR 15 the inner door area before rebuilding.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Held the repair panel in place with some 6mm bolts through the trim holes.

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A few hours of weld, hammer welds flat before grinding, grind, repeat etc until it looked like this. I have read a bit about attempting a repair like this and you have to do it really slowly as the welding heat is likely to cause distortions you can't recover. I think it came out ok
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Thanks for looking.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:06 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

7/6/16
I've dated this post because all that happens from now on is Live.
The left hand side door and fender were a bit of project I didn't really anticipate but anything can happen in 58 years.
In the interest of balance here are some of the good things I have found so far.

The right hand side of the car is really good. Nice shut lines and decent hinges without any play. All works beautifully.
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There is also plenty of untouched aero silver under that green.
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Because of the unbelievably thick coating of under seal, if carefully removed I have found zero rust and nice condition factory paint.
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This is looking inside the rear wheel arch.
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And the nose cone and ridge are unscathed, and a bit of factory paint too.
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The floor pan is pretty much pristine. I should be able to get some paint on this in the next few days.
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And now for another challenge. The front left fender looks like someone has been beating it with a lump hammer and no attemp was made to straighten it out before the last load of bondo and paint.
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Unfortunately whatever happened here also bent the first bit of fresh air duct and even the inner fender a little. Here is the view inside.
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And the nostril.
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I have since purchase been collecting spare parts and these are the bits I will hopefully be using to do a better job of this repair.
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Thanks for looking.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:35 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Wow, the undersealer really protected the wheelwell metal, small victories. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:39 pm    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

Yes, it's more like bitumin. It really does take real effort to get it off. I used a hot air gun and scraper being careful not to scratch the paint below. Then white spirit on a cloth for the residue.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:33 pm    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

kgj wrote:
Yes, it's more like bitumin. It really does take real effort to get it off. I used a hot air gun and scraper being careful not to scratch the paint below. Then white spirit on a cloth for the residue.


I sealed the undercarriages of all my cars in SA with that stuff. So many unsealed roads - with the risk of stone chip damage. Paraffin (kerosene) cleans it up nicely and doesn't damage the paint.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:54 am    Post subject: Re: CJ from South Africa. Reply with quote

kiwighia68 wrote:
kgj wrote:
Yes, it's more like bitumin. It really does take real effort to get it off. I used a hot air gun and scraper being careful not to scratch the paint below. Then white spirit on a cloth for the residue.


I sealed the undercarriages of all my cars in SA with that stuff. So many unsealed roads - with the risk of stone chip damage. Paraffin (kerosene) cleans it up nicely and doesn't damage the paint.


Great info here, as usual. Samba is awesome.

Question about kerosene.... I am trying to remove spray on contact cement for carpet without damaging good paint. Will kerosene work for this?

Thanks.
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