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 My daily driver

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Location : A299
Cars : 71 Karmann Ghia and a whole load of dreams
Posts : 44
Occupation : Driving my Ghia

PostSubject: My daily driver   Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:27 pm

The trails and tribulations of a 21 year relationship with a kg…. And loves

Her Vital statistics: She is called Mez and is my daily driver
Acquired her in 1984
1971 coupe
LHD European spec
Imported on S reg
Single carb, bog standard engine on its 3rd recon, but original gear box
Irish green originally, then British racing green, and recently VW frost blue

She now also has nice leather seats, new carpets and a new headlining

Don’t know how may owners she had before she came to the UK. I got her from a Dr who must have brought her over from Europe.

We think she came from Cyprus, the Greek side, (my parents memory is not as good as it was, neither mine now) certainly the petrol tank was full of sand and the paintwork looked as if it had been sand blasted.

How this KG made me fall in love with her
When I was about 15-16 years old my sister and I were walking past the village bakery to catch the school bus. My sister mentioned that she was going to learn to drive as soon as possible, I had said no I would not learn to drive until I could drive something that looked like that (me pointing to the cool looking car that was often parked out side the bakery)

In 1984 (I had moved to London and was at Art college by then) My Mother had just written off her car and she and my sister drove to their nearest town in the loan car and parked up next to a car with a for sale sign displayed in the window. My sister told my mother that this was the car I had always wanted. My Father who doesn’t drive and I were given a ride round in her and after a lot of family discussion it was agreed that my Mother would buy the car and use it for a year until I was out of college and then I would buy it from her when I was working. It turned out that it was the very same car that had been parked up out side the bakery 6 or so years previously.

So I paid the £650 over to my Mother and to save money the car was put in my sister’s name and I was put on to her insurance as a named learner driver.

Her first restoration
Mez needed a face-lift so my father found a chap in Weymouth who re-sprayed her British racing green (the paint work was matt) and dealt with all usual rust areas that appear on a 15 year old KG. The bumpers were dipped and re-chromed but 2 sections that went into the acid never came back out of the dip, they had all but had disappeared!. I can't remember how much all this cost but it was in the very very low hundreds (it must have been I was only earning £140 a week). She did look very pretty thou when she was finished. It did have a stereo but my Mum pinched that for her next car.

Once the Mez was finished my sister drove her up to London. Then she set about teaching me to drive. My second driving lesson was around Hyde Park corner and that was before they had a traffic light system, you can imagine the screaming that went on from both of us as I drove round, it was absolutely terrifying.

Took my test in Dorset due to a testing station strike in London, Terrified and freaked out the examiner due to him sitting on the “wrong” side of the car and the Speedo in Kilometres, he kept asking me how fast the car went, what did this knob do and what with the sexy driving position (you know what I mean, well it is for us girls) I passed.

The joys of left had drive and VW reliability
I have never had trouble driving a left hand drive car; certainly in London it has been an advantage. And a right hand drive absolutely terrifies me. When Mez had her recent restore this time it was major surgery that was required. So I had to buy a cheep stand in car, a Corsa, RHD for gods sake!! I felt I needed a driving lesson, explaining to a driving instructor that I had been driving for 18 years but needed to understand a more modern car was most embarrassing. I still love left hand drive; right hand drive has never worked for me.

I hated the Corsa and had to get RAC cover for the first time in my life ‘cause it broke down all the time.. Mez never did that she always got me home one way or the other: except once when I blew the engine (my fault I was thrashing her in the outside lane at 90). Maybe the Corsa broke down all the time because she/he (Might have been a boy car, not sure) was jealous and knew she/he was not truly loved because I kept a model of a KG on the Corsa dash pad, just to remind me of Mez whilst she was in hospital.

Trusting your Garage
When I blew the engine I asked Peter Norris, my trusty garage of over 10 years to put a recon in whilst I was away in Scotland, I paid by card over the phone. On my return I picked her up in the street where they had said they had left her, used my spare key and drove home. She kept stalling and petering out especially when I was doing a right in to a busy main road. So took her back to the garage and complained … then I find out that Peter had sold the company to his work force and moved back to New Zealand. They insisted nothing was wrong, I then spent many months at other garages and many pounds trying to find out what was wrong, until one day my Father said why didn’t I try putting in unleaded petrol and see what happens…. He was right, the stupid garage forgot to mention that the new engine did not use 4 star and they had put in an unleaded engine.

She always starts first time
After a driving ban of 6 months due to a brain operation. I stepped outside got in the Mez who had sat outside my house waiting patiently all those winter months, turned the key and she started on the fist turn. We drove off as if nothing had ever changed. What a girl!!

I got a short contract of work in Florence, Italy
So whilst I was away I thought she should be driven, thou I did think about taking her to Florence being left hand drive, Italian restoration and all that, but I wanted to see how the job paned out first. I lent her to a friend who had always admired her. I frequently came back to London on business and since he lived near Gatwick he would drive Mez up to meet me off the plane and then I had the use of the car whilst I was back home and then meet me back at the airport to take care of her until next time. Only trouble was his little boy loved the car so much he would throw him self on to the floor and scream each time I took Mez back.

My dream job or so it seemed….the directors hated Mez. Whats not to like?
I then got a dream job in Leeds. The MOT was due so the day before I was due to dive up to Leeds. I booked her in to a friend’s garage (mine had just stopped doing air cooled). The breaks needed attention so that was sorted, and she passed the MOT. The following morning I packed the Mez to the hilt (its amazing what you can get in a KG if you know how to pack it right ((see below)). I set off from South London and 10 minutes later I hadn’t even crossed over the Thames when loads of smoke came out of the back, I thought my duvet was on fire! So I slowly drove her back to the garage where they found they had set the brakes too tight. By the time that was all sorted it was too late to go to Leeds so I phoned work to say I was going to be a day late. Set off the next day and it took about 5 hrs to get there what with having to pull off the motorway to find another garage to get the breaks adjusted. I’m not going back to my friend’s garage that’s for sure!

Mez was part of the problem, my new company had with me, I did not pass my probation. In fact I was banned from going to see our main client in her because of the state she was in. (rat look) how suburban!!! I did get to stay with the company in the end. It was the said client who asked for me to stay (2 years), but they never got to see her when she finely got her “make up” sprayed on and when I told them she was to get a restore they said that she would look more like a Porsche and they could not have their staff looking as if they were paid so much money. You can’t win.

VW means people wagon … and wagon in Yorkshire means truck/lorry
My Mez has never been a show car she is my daily driver - in fact I treat her quite badly as I often use her as a lorry (Do I hear “tut tut” and “shame on you “ in the background?)
6 trees for an orchard, leaves and branches all poking out of the window going down the motorway
Transported a couple of my sisters paintings to the Royal Academy
A large piece of gym equipment
6 bags of horse manure
A hay bale
Half a dead pig
You can get a 6ft 4inch ladder in … just. So long as you don’t have a passenger
And a tall side table with the lags facing forward towards the windscreen between the driver and front door windows .. good job I wasn’t stopped by the “you know who”

When I go on holiday I leaver her at the tube station. One time after 2 weeks, I came back on a cold evening and noticed that the driver’s door was still locked but had been shut rather heavily and as the windscreen steamed up I noticed that someone had been playing noughts and crosses on it – from the inside. And I know it was not me. Someone had, it seamed to me had a good time in it nothing was missing and they even locked the car when they had left.

The Hussey Wink
Talk about “Babe Magnet” or whatever the male equivalent is. The Hussey as she was nicknamed at my last place of work “picked up” no end of blokes. She “Mez” would get a lot attention and being a left hand drive you get to chat to people when your waiting at the traffic lights or in a traffic jam or people would just leave a note on the car!!!! And once someone left a flower. One of the notes left on the car was from my butcher, well it was the whole side of a card board box and it said My God she has washed the car, so not all my notes were nice comments

Because Mez is well known in south west London people keep an eye out for her, A large brut of a 4 wheel jobbie hit her whilst parking, people, ran out of the restaurant opposite and held on to the driver until the butchers boy had found me. People may not know what she is but care about her because he tugs at the heartstrings.

The only trouble with having such a distinctive car means you can’t sneak around town; someone is bound to see you and mention that they saw you the other day in a certain place. Certainly not a car to do a bank robbery in, and not ignoring the fact that there’s a flat 4 in the back so a fast get away is a non-starter.

One morning I gave a lift to a mate and he opened the door and it all but fell off in his hands.... the top hinge had completely shirred through; I was so upset I just burst into tears. Then I find out the Karmann have filed of insolvency … so in sympathy Mez did a Herbie-ette threw a tantrum and dropped one of her doors, just as in the film, If she doesn’t behave her self I will be forced to take her off the road.

text first appeared on the Karmann Ghia Club UK forum 12 April 2009
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Austin powers

Location : Margate in the Garden of England
Cars : 1963 Austin A60 Cambridge & 1960 Rover P4 80
Posts : 1327
Occupation : Paddle seller -- up the creek.

PostSubject: Re: My daily driver   Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:21 pm

What a great post, really good read. lol about the driving examiner.
I took my test in a friends mini, I have never been able to reverse with both hands on the wheel so when it came to reversing around a corner I kept one hand on the gear stick and told the examiner she jumped out of reverse.
He was so impressed that I coped with this, he passed me Shocked

No hand brake......That's how I roll Call or Text Admin   07746227385

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Location : A299
Cars : 71 Karmann Ghia and a whole load of dreams
Posts : 44
Occupation : Driving my Ghia

PostSubject: Re: My daily driver   Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:03 am

your lucky he didn't fail you for driving a car that was unfit to be driven !!
my examiner really gave the car a mega check over before he would get in it, then he refused to put the seat belt on and lock the door ... in those days my passenger door would sometimes fly open when going round corners too fast ... but luckily the door stayed shut Shocked
Very Happy
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Austin powers

Location : Margate in the Garden of England
Cars : 1963 Austin A60 Cambridge & 1960 Rover P4 80
Posts : 1327
Occupation : Paddle seller -- up the creek.

PostSubject: Re: My daily driver   Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:16 am

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Location : Margate
Cars : 1962 Splitscreen VW Camper, 1983 VW Polo
Posts : 4543
Occupation : Doing as little as possible.

PostSubject: Re: My daily driver   Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:58 am

Wow what a read, great story sounds like you have had a lot of fun in your Ghia! Very Happy



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