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build updates



A bit more progress..

CJ has made a good big of progress. The doors have been fitted and adjusted. Early skim coats applied. We have a bit more to go on the passenger side and then we’ll hire some corn-fed country boys to get the sanding done. :)

Getting there.
The classic Ghia lines showing strongly.



NOS Karmann Ghia Sales Brochure

I bought a new, old stock (NOS) sales brochure for the low light Karmann Ghia.  I thought it’d be cool to have it sitting in the car as a conversation piece.   Second, I wanted to look at the original, stock design cues so that I could blend the Porsche RS vision with the original.



Modern dash, old car – some new ideas.

Spent some time tinkering with dash designs.  I’m going for a modern treatment but without detracting too much from the period design.

Here are a few digital mockups I did to get a sense of how it may turn out:

First mocked up option for the Ghia dash.

Second mocked up option for the Ghia dash.

I ran these ideas by a few friends and family and the consensus was the first option with the three small gauges on top of the double DIN opening. The thinking was “performance and engine monitoring first”, so that’s what we’re rolling with – the critical gauges (oil temp, water temp, volts) above the double DIN.

The DIN until will feature a touchscreen, bluetooth, GPS, the audio features you’d expect, rear camera support and GPS inputs for the navigation software.   It’s Android based so the ODB2 apps for car maintenance and enhanced performance monitoring can run there as well.  The ashtray will be used as a hidden USB media and charging port.



Filler work started.

Some early body filler work.   We also bought a small batch of the final color and will be testing that for aesthetics.  I smile every time I see that Ghia schematic on the Revenant garage door.



Left front panel replaced.

We replaced the left front panel with the new one we sourced from Wagner-Blechteile.   Slowly, but surely.






Primer coat.

The Darth Vader edition.



Media blasting – before and after.

Racked and ready for media blasting.

Partially media blasted.

Fully blasted. Feels like 1958 all over again.

Different view.






We’ll need to start on the replacement body panels now.



Media blasting

Ace Dustless Blasting hard at work.  Thanks CJ for the video work.

Ace Dustless Blasting hard at work.

Posted by Revenant Garage on Saturday, May 12, 2018




Rear vent placement

The Revenant team did a mockup of the rear vent some time ago.  I didn’t particularly like it when I first saw it, but it has grown on me.  The 50s early inspiration is seen in its distant slightly older, cousin the Porsche 550.



Spring cleaning (blasting) preparation

Spring has taken her sweet time showing up this year.   Doesn’t she know we’re pushing to be on the road this summer?

Revenant sourced a used rotisserie and adapted it to the Ghia.   Locally, we found Ace Dustless Blasting which is a mobile media blasting service.  We’re ready to roll on our side and just waiting for a break in the weather to have Randy come out and do his thing.

There are somethings we’re working on in parallel.  Very disappointed that when we shipped our 1958 Ghia steering wheel to our California builder, it came back without the rare horn cover!  We can not get in touch with anyone over there to inquire about it.



Toe and Flow

Mendeola True Track toe adjustment guide.

Finally had some free weekend time to seriously work on the cooling and rear suspension. Updates below, enjoy.


After straightening out the rear end’s body work.  It was obvious that the rear toe was too aggressive.  It was pretty much aligned to a body that was mis-aligned. :). On the Mendeola site it recommends between 1/4 and 1/8 inch toe but I think Revenant team measured it to be 1.5 inches in total. Mendeola’s True Track rear end makes toe adjustment pretty straightforward.  CJ made the adjustments and we took the car out for a spin in the dusk of the early evening.

With CJ holding a big spot light for visibility, we drove the car over to our buddy Veek’s house. Veek built a rat rot model A Ford and I made sure he heard us coming up his driveway but of course he wasn’t home! ;)


Fans weren’t working at first so we powered them up outside of the ECU relay for confirmation.   They worked, but were turning the wrong direction!   We tracked down the wires coming off the fans and reversed the polarity to have them push instead of pull which was against the expected air flow design.   Problem one solved.

After pulling the cover of the high voltage ECU relay panel, there was one disconnected wire (ECU-) so we hooked that up and did a better job of seating/connecting the fan wire to the GPO4 terminal.  (We will be going through and fixing the wiring properly after we pull the body).

We fired up the car, laptop/ECU software and manually triggered the fan and boom, it all worked out.   We will tune this a bit later but we are in a good spot here.  We turned on data logging and let the thermostat open up.   At idle, the car held around 95C which is the standard operating temperature for our EZ30R engine.

So for the benefit of those new to this build and my Ghia enthusiasts, yes that rear grill looks pretty strange with the air vents relocated to the rear as shown. We did some software based testing of the airflow and we think that the vents place here are the best place to take advantage of the low air pressure. This is what we are testing.

We added some yarn to the deck lid to record video of the air flow based on the relocated deck lid vents. We quickly realized that we’ll need a manometer to really check the pressure differential so will be ordering one of those soon.

We were going to do the video recording the next day but ran into to some seriously bad news.  CJ spotted a unfamiliar vehicle in the woods where we ride dirt bikes and after a quick investigation discovered that some gentlemen had committed suicide in the vehicle.  He had been dead for 2-3 days.  911 was called and after the parade of emergency vehicles showed up, our little stretch of country back road testing ground was done for that day.  

I wish I could have talked to that guy before this incident – very sad indeed and it took a bit of time to process a discovery like this. Sorry to end on a sad note. If you know of anyone dealing with depression, hard times, life in general, etc please get them help. Suicide hotline resources.



Rear wing work coming along

Revenant mocked up the clipped rear end from the parts car.   We got lucky in that the parts car was coated with a thick protective layer of who knows what.  It was ground off and we have what you see in the pictures below.



Karmann Ghia Body Panel sourcing

Made some notes of places where to get Ghia body parts.  Others may benefit so here’s what we found:




No Turning Back Now

Revenant started the body work in earnest.

Donor car, carved up like a Thanksgiving Day turkey

Removed right rear quarter panel

Donor rear panel getting prepped



Gauge mockup

Dropped off the new gauges over at Revenant. Took the tach, speedo and fuel gauge out for a quick mockup and fit test.



Gauges arrived.

Our custom Speedhut gauges arrived and they look pretty sweet.  I must say that this is one of the highlights of this build. Feels like Christmas with all the red!



Pantera, Redline software up and running

Boom!  Got the software that Lance shipped installed and setup to pull data from the Redline ECU.  This is another huge step for us. We are now set to go deeper and get the cooling system worked out.  

​Some time ago we picked up an old ToughBook to use with the car.   Lance’s install disk comes with the necessary FTDI drivers to do the USB to serial port setup. 

Redline software pulling live data off the car.

Our dedicated Toughbook.

USB to serial cable



Redline ECU, Scratch that. Pantera EFI ECU!

We weren’t successful in getting any of the original software from our first builder nor were we able to get support directly from Redline Weber.   The software they have listed on their site (much of which is broken) for our ECU is very, very old and also broken.

Not to be deterred and having considerable LMGTFY skills, we found others in a similar situation looking for software updates and support for the Redline ECU family.  We saw that the Redline units look to be the same as the Pantera EFI units.  The “Pantera ECU 882C”  follows the same naming convention as the Redline series (see ECU R882 references).  We also found another company called 034 Motorsport selling a similar ECU.

After we dug deeper, it turns out that the Redline and 034 units are rebranded Pantera EFI systems.

For anyone else out there in a similar situation, we’ve compiled a detailed summary of what we’ve found:

  • Pantera EFI

    The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for both 034 and Redline Weber.  The source.  Not only the source, but the wizard behind the curtain available to help you!

    If you are looking for a performant (yes, that is a word now because we computer geeks made it up!) ECU, we highly suggest the Pantera ECU 882C.    The 034EFI system has been discontinued and can be supported by the folks at Pantera.

    After a post on the site, we got a reply from Lance over at Pantera who has graciously offered to update our ECU and provide the latest software.  We made phone contact with Lance and had the latest software shipped to us so that we could begin tuning the mighty EZ30R.


  • Finding 034Motorsport was revealing.  Looks like a great shop dealing with Audi and VW!  The were selling an ECU called the 034EFI which was EOL’d (end of life’d) September 2016 according to a page on their site.   Even though we found this, we were enthused to know that there are quite a few of these “882” units out in the wild.  034Motorsport apparently sold them for 15 years!

    Do it yourself support is still somewhat available.  Here are some 340EFI resources:

  • From what we gathered on various forums, it looks like Redline picked up the Pantera EFI as an ECU to resale to the VW market.   We didn’t get a call back from our voicemail or email and others have expressed frustration with similar experiences.

    Unfortunately, the software as displayed on the site is very old and broken so there is not much help there.  Nothing more to be said really.


Software screen shots:



Speedhut Gauges proof

The first round of proofs for the gauges came back.   Needed to make some adjustments to the sizing of the logo.  The changes where made and here is the final proof as provided by the Speedhut artwork team:

Off to print and delivery.  Stay tuned.



Antique plates registered

After two visits, 5 phone calls and 4 hours of waiting in line, we have the Basilari tags registered.   

The most terrifying words in the English language are: 

I’m from the government DMV and I’m here to help.