Dave_Jorgensen New Reader
1/8/11 1:07 p.m.

Good morning all:

We're in the middle of a huge snowstorm in central Alberta, so any automotive silliness will only happen in all-wheel-drive - or in front of a big-screen TV.

But it gives me a chance to think about my next project, which will either be a big Daimler DS420 limousine [with all of the rust and electrical issues that all old Jaguars have] or a hot-rodded Karmann Ghia - the essence of beauty and simplicity.

There seems to be a nice Ghia on eBay this week - if there are no real rust issues, then the fellow has put a good start to it - Empi wheels, front and rear sway bars, new clutch, restored interior, 185 Conti's:


What I would do from there would be to find a trustworthy builder to fab up a properly carb'ed 2.2 or 2.3 litre engine with lots of torque - something that could run 80 or 90 MPH all day without breathing hard. Just a little rear fender flare - enough to hold a set of 205/60/15's - and then a set of 5-lug 911 brakes so I could bolt on a set of 5-spoke Fuchs wheels so I could run a 185/205 front rear combination.

A short-shift kit would be nice, and the clock could go off to Palo Alto Speedometer for replacement with a tach inside that nice big housing - they'll even match the speedo lettering. A nice 914-type console could hold oil temp and oil press gauges, as well as a clock.

I've always thought of a Karmann Ghia as an alternative to a 356 - and the bonus is that you can modify a Ghia without thinking that you're chopping a Porsche to pieces. Instead of an Outlaw 356, it would be an Outlaw Ghia.

This is not a new idea, obviously - people have been hot-rodding Ghias for 50 years - but I'd be interested in knowing what your collective experience with this is. Who builds a nice, reliable, big, air-cooled boxer four? Who has a nice brake conversion? Where can I get that nice console that I've seen in Ghias?

Thanks for any observations you might have.


BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/8/11 2:14 p.m.

Can't help with the parts sources but the enabler in me says "go for it" .

KaptKaos Reader
1/8/11 4:49 p.m.

Here is some inspiration:


You're thoughts are very similar to mine. I decided a long time ago it was easier to make a 914 go fast, than a Ghia. That hasn't stopped me from wanting a Ghia, and doing what you're talking about.

As for bits and pieces, check www.thesamba.com for parts. The motor, go for a type IV with an upright fan shroud from Jake Raby.

Keep us posted on your progress!

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