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build updates



Ghia custom dash/console mock up – Part 4

Wanted to post up some pics of the gauges in place to get the full effect of the dash. I was pleased to see an old school Ferrari dash with a similar theme. Check out the pics in the gallery below.



Ghia custom dash/console mock up – Part 3

This is turning out to be a super highlight of this build.  As mentioned in the previous post, the new dash / console really changes the attitude of the interior of the car.  CJ at Revenant is doing masterful work.  I can’t say enough about how exciting and cool this is.

New dash and console modification. It looks rough now but it’s awesome work.  It has a bit of that GT-40 feel to it.


Close up view of the new console modification.



Ghia custom dash/console mock up – Part 2

Part 2 of the custom dash and console work.  CJ took the cardboard mockup and made a metal version as shown below.   As with most new things, one may not be too sure of how ideas manifest in real life but, this is a very, very slick modification to the stock Karmann Ghia dash.  When inside the car, it brings a certain gravitas to the car that makes it feel very modern.  It has become the centerpiece of the interior at this point and I like it very much.  Can’t wait to see it closer to completion.  May try to get a picture with all the gauges set in place!

The start of going from cardboard to metal.
Underneath the “new” dash. Those speaker holes came with the car. Not sure if we’re going to use them or not.
Rough install of the custom dash/console. The three gauge holes have yet to be cut in.
Different angle.  You can see the double DIN cage in place.



Billet Ghia speaker grill cover.

Picked up this cool speaker grill cover off eBay.  Solid aluminum and will accent the dash and Black Mamba billet gear shift.   It has the proper dash curvature and fits very well.

CNC engraved / milled Karmann Ghia script speaker block-off plate; 1/4″ thick aluminum, brush finish.



Ghia custom dash/console mock up – Part 1

CJ at Revenant made some templates for the modified dash idea, looks pretty sweet:

(mostly) original dash before the console mods.

Double DIN cage purchased for future mockups.

Cardboard mockup – 1.

Cardboard mockup – 2.














For reference, this is what the original vision was.  And of course, my OCD kicked in! :)





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.