One Millionth Porsche 911

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I was taught to drive on a Volkswagen Beetle – Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined and have had a love of these simply fabulous little cars for over fifty years.

It is said that if you can drive a VW Beetle – and they are sometimes a little tricky – then mastering virtually any other car – particularly a rear wheel drive, rear engine, whether or not air-cooled – is a breeze.

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I have been fascinated by – and am still looking for one to refurbish – Volkswagen’s spin-off beauties – Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

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And the Beach Bug.

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However, simply the most compelling Beetle inspired car has to be the Porsche 911. First launched in 1963 the manufacturers of iconic car have just celebrated another massive milestone.

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I was thrilled to read that on May 11th 2017 Porsche celebrated for the world’s Press, at their Stuttgart factor, the production of their millionth Porsche 911. The one millionth car with its distinctive green livery and stand-out number plate “S GO1911” is certain to be worth many millions of whatever currency you chose.

For me, appreciating a beautiful car is never about value. This car represents one of the longest lineages in motoring history and it is important to celebrate classics – even new classics – that add to our enjoyment of this classic brand. Most Petrol Heads will get this, although it is sometimes really difficult to explain just why certain cars appeal and others just don’t.

The Porsche 911 range, particularly the Targa Porsche 911 Targa – including its most recent iteration – are  pure joy.porsche-targa-16

Images courtesy of Porsche

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Volkswagen Kombi

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No, you are definitely not sitting in traffic on the ring road around your local city, in your head, if you are over 40, there’s a Beachboys track playing, surfboards are stacked on the roof – having received a fresh waxing from Dr Zog’s – you can see the shimmering ocean ahead and your straight toothed friends are lounging on the vinyl seats behind you. If you are under 40, you are listening to some cool hip hop-raggae crossover, your tanned shoulders are graced by you sun bleached locks that blend seamlessly with your companion in her El Niño bikini.

So hand’s up who’s daydreaming? I am for sure …. Where in the World could you be? Santa Cruz (California (USA)), Tarifa, (Cadiz (Spain) or Surfers Paradise (The Gold Coast, Queensland (Aus)) – any of these and several thousands more. See our earlier post here – Morey Boogie boards

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And what are you at the helm of? A iconic Volkswagen Kombi (or “Bus” (USA) or “Camper” or “Campervan” (UK)), of course!

Ben Pon, a Dutch importer of Volkswagens, visited the Wolfsburg factory in 1946 and was inspired by quality of the VW stock and, in 1947, produced a sketch – see below – of a van which he shared with Volkswagen. Early prototypes were produced but had very poor wind drag figures but splitting the screen improved this somewhat and validated the reason to commence production.

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Introduced in 1949, the Kombi was an air-cooled rear engined van then known as the “Volkswagen Type 2”, the Beetle having been Type 1 – another passion of ours – see our earlier post here. Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined.

The standard Type 2 Kombi was built between March 1950 to then end of 1967 but a number of variants, including increasingly larger engines – between 1.1 litres up to 1.6 litres, were introduced including single-cab pickups and ambulances. The early T2 (later called the T1) model production was continued in Brazil until 1975, long after production ceased in Hanover in 1967.

Originally classified by the number of windows the Kombi vehicle had such as 21, 23 plus a panoramic roof of eight windows. Subsequently, international numbering has been based on the version from T2, T3, T4, T5 and T6 – which was launched in 2015.

The first sixty years of VW T1 to T3 history are shown in the following image:

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The height of the Kombi’s popularity was its role in the Hippy subculture movement of the 1960’s when version were heavily painted often by hand in psychodelic spirals, flowers  etc. Check out our earlier post on the Summer of Love – click here – Peace Sign and The Summer of Love

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The Type 2S introduced in 1968 heavily modified the earlier vehicle. After production of the T2 ceased in Europe it was produced in Brazil – at the Anchieta plant at Sao Bernardo do Campo (Sao Paulo, Brazil) – until December 31, 2013, due to the introduction of more stringent safety regulations in the country.

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There was a final production run of 1200 vehicles called “the Last Edition” see below that celebrated 56 years of Kombi production in Brazil. I have seen these final vans available on legitimate websites – imported as is – into the UK for around £42,000.

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So, for those of you who want to relive an epic era in a new version of a classic and iconic vehicle – your dream is complete. In addition, there are several businesses around the world who maintain and rebuild original Kombis whether for sale or for hire. Indeed, I know of one intrepid soul who rented with friends a Kombi for Glastonbury. A perfect temporary home and respite from the Somerset mud!

For all you young and old hippies – the perfect desk-top dreamer is this fantastic scale model of a 1976 Hippie image clad T2 – get one here by clicking below the image:

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PremiumX 1:43 Scale “Hippie 1976 Volkswagen T2 Kombi” Model Car

Shout out about your poassion with these VW Camper retro style T shirts – click the link below the image

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Mens VW Campervan Camper Retro camp Van Volkswagen Top T-shirt NEW S-XXL (Medium, Black)

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Mens VW Campervan T25 Camper Retro camp Van Volkswagen Top T-shirt NEW S-XXL (X-Large, Indigo)

Saving for your next surf adventure – why not get this wonderful VW Campervan Money box? Click on the link below the image

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VW Collection by Brisa VW T1 Flowers Money Bank

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Images with grateful thanks – Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined

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It was Iberian Red – as in our featured image – it had a “J” registration (GWW 665J to be precise) – when the letters came at the end of the numbers indicating the year – so it was a 1971 car and it was a 1302s. I call it my first car, and I treasure its memory as though it was, but our Volkswagen Beetle was, in fact, my Mother’s.

We are indebted to VW’s ad agency was Doyle Dane Bernbach, particularly Bill Bernbach and his creative department for an era from the late 1950s to mid-1970’s of iconic, simple, creative and hugely influential advertising.

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There was something so sturdy about four wheels square on the floor, a slight pressure on your ears when you closed her doors – due to her airtightness – a heavy weave of plastic seating that became troublesomly sticky in the summer and a sturdy slightly domed gear lever that – once mastered – sung through the changes.

If you can drive a VW Beetle, I have been told, then virtually any car could be mastered in minutes. There was something reassuring for the young driver when your instructor told you to listen for the change in the sound of the engine to indicate when a gear change was necessary; this the VW Beetle delivered, massively. The sound of the engine – which for those who don’t know was situated in the rear – with its curious ticking, was phenomenally helpful in providing a very clear signal as to when each gear change was required.

The iconic VW Beetle was made and marketed by Volkeswagen from a faltering start in 1938 until 2003 selling over 21.5m vehicles. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned in 1934 by the leader of Nazi Germany to design and build a sturdy, cheap and simple car. The design brief was very specific as it needed to carry two adults and three children at 100km per hour consuming no more than 7 liters of fuel.

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Dr Porsche’s team, based in Stuttgart delivered a series of prototypes over several years which culminated in 1938 in a car with an air-cooled – primarily because of the lack of reliable anti-freeze.

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Given the intervening war year mass production started – initially under the control of the Americans and then the British – and in late 1945 the Beetle was launched with the name “Volkswagen” – literally “People’s Car”. In 1945 over 1700 vehicles were produced, primarily for the British Army use. Production increased dramatically in line with European distribution arrangements and over one million vehicles were built between 1945 and 1955. Originally available as a modest 25 hp technical developments allowed a 40 hp to be developed which lasted until 1966 as the classic Beetle engine.

By 1973 over 16m Beetles had been produced in a variety of configurations including the stylish Cabriolet and Karmann Ghia Volkswagen Karmann Ghia versions.

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The early 1970’s, in the face of strong competition from Japan and the US, sales started to fall. In 1974, following the receipt of German government support, the ailing VW launched the front-wheel drive Golf model effectively superseding the Beetle.

VW had entered into a variety of overseas manufacturing agreements in countries including Australia, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico. The last Beetle was produced in Puebla (Mexico) in July 2003 and the final 3000 Beetles were sold as 2004 models and badged the “Última Edition” with contemporary colours and white-wall tyres.

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In 1994, VW premiered at the North American International Auto Show – a retro concept being a re-imagining of the Beetle – designed by J Mays and Freeman Thomas from VW’s Californian design studio – it was, initially, based on a Polo chassis. In 1998, in response to a strong reaction from the buying public, VW launched the “New Beetle”, built on the then contemporary Golf platform, which itself was succeeded in 2011 by an even more contemporary re-imagining of the original Beetle.

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By 2012 the A5 – fifth generation Beetle was launched. Designed by Walter de Silver and Marc Lichte. A convertible version was launched in November 2012 for the 2013 model at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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There continues to be speculation in the motoring press that VW may be looking to cease production of the Beetle but we will have to see. It would be a heavy hearted day when and if that happens – but it wouldn’t be the first time!

I suspect the time may be right to start looking for a classic VW to rebuild and enjoy – my starting place is, of course, a Haynes Manual. Why not join me – click the following AMAZON link

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VW Beetle and Karmann Ghia (1954-79) Automotive Repair Manual (Haynes Automotive Repair Manuals)

A book I’d highly recommend for all things classic VW is as follows:

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The Complete Book of Classic Volkswagens: Beetles, Microbuses, Things, Karmann Ghias, and More (Complete Book Series)

Something to admire on your shelf whilst your rebuild takes shape? This diecast and very details 1973 1/24 scale model is perfect – click the link:

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1:24th Special Edition – Volkswagon Beetle 1973

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Image credits – Volkswagen AG and Doyle Dane and Bernbach

 

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

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I am giving serious thought to the expression “Favourite Car” in response to an enquirers question to name mine. Now, I thought I had a long-term and completely harmonious fictional relationship with a 1965 Porsche 911 Targa. See here our previous past Porsche 911 Targa 

No question my pulse quicken and my throat dries a little at the thought of those classic lines, that ticking engine and those long lazy sunny days mastering the hairpins down to La Corniche. Then, as if to upset the harmony of a steady relationship, a perfectly formed little nose nudges you and with winking classic headlights clears its throat and ask you if, perhaps with a little hesitation and possibly some disappointment, whether you have forgotten them.

They remind you of the mid-1970’s classic car magazine collection “On Four Wheels” – which to the best of my recollection ran for about three years and with each edition – after the usual “magazine-crack” two for one introductory offer – became increasingly more expensive. They remind you of this endless summer days with your childhood pal, Mike, when you’d visit car showrooms, argue about the merits of Italian cars versus German or French ones and write to “concessionaires” asking for brochures often to be inundated with coffee table sized promo materials featuring sleek new sleek Lamborghinis and Maseratis. Mike still has his collection of brochures stored in a garage – Ebay anyone?

One such car is Volkswagen’s iconic Karmann Ghia – especially the Cabriolet version. My Godmother has a hard topped version in grey and she was quite cool so that was how this pretty car became locked in my evolving psyche from the mid-sixties.

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The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia – based on the classic and mechanics of a first model Beetle – see our celebration of this amazing car here Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined –  was debuted as a design concept at the 1953 Paris Auto Show. Following launch, it was available in 2+2 coupe versions (from 1955 to 1974) and as a cabriolet (from 1957 to 1974).

The Karmann Ghia was a collaboration that featured the styling genius of Luigi Segre, of the legendary Turin based coach-builder, Carrozzeria Ghia (now owned by Ford), and the hand-shapes panelling  of German coach-builder Karmann – who VW had commissioned to develop the car. A massive success with over 445,000 cars built, the Karmann Ghia was extensively exported, particularly to the US market.

The VW Karmann Ghia Cabriolet was first introduced August 1957.

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The Cabriolet has, along with many cars in the VW range, been featured in a series of classic Doyle Dane and Bernbach (DDB) print media adverts in the 1950s and 60’s; so much so that DDB’s work with Volkswagen, who they have represented since 1959 (opening an office in Germany in 1961) was voted the No. 1 campaign of all time by Advertising Age’s 1999 “The Century of Advertising”.

A classic DD&B poster from the early 1960’s:

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In the early 1970’s, in response to increasing vehicle safety requirements, particularly in the US, the smooth chrome wrap-around bumpers were replaced with energy absorbing bumpers. By the mid 1970’s the model was phased out to be replaced, initially, by the Porsche 914 – never a particular favourite.

STOP PRESS: In the Gooding and Company Scottsdale Auction in January 2018 a 1963 hard topped version of the Karmann Ghia achieve a respectable $37,400 which whilst is not cheap does suggest that this fine German brand is an everyman collectible – see this lovely example and read here the Gooding and Company report Gooding and Company Karmann Ghia

Seen and loved the car – now get the T shirt – please click the AMAZON link under the image 

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VOLKSWAGEN KARMANN GHIA 1970 STENCIL MENS T SHIRT CLASSIC CAR (XXL(50-52), RED)

Read more about the history – here.

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Volkswagen Karmann Ghias and Cabriolets: 1949-1980

Essential mantelpiece material – a die cast model to keep those juices flowing!

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Minichamps 155054031 1:18 Scale “1970 VW Karmann Ghia Convertible Black” Replica Model Toy

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Karmann Ghia Type 14 Logo T-Shirt Oldtimer Car Cars Collector Driver Ralley Osnabrück Coupé Cabriolet 17156 – Grey – XX-Large

If you are lucky enough to find a Karmann Gaia in reasonable condition – and at a reasonable price – grab it! If successful you’ll need the iconic Haynes Manual to tell you just what to do to keep your beautiful car in fab condition.

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VW Beetle and Karmann Ghia (1954-79) Automotive Repair Manual (Haynes Automotive Repair Manuals)

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Images by West Coast Classics, Doyle Dane and Bernbach, Ara Howrani/Howrani Studios and Gooding and Company with grateful thanks

Porsche 911 Targa

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The Porsche Targa has the distinct characteristic of being is a semi-convertible car body style with a removable roof section and a full width roll bar behind the seats. The term was first used on the 1966 with the launch of the classic Porsche 911 Targa and the name, “Targa”, remains a registered trademark of Porsche AG.

The Porsche 911 coupe first debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. Designed by Ferry Porsche, the son of the Porsche founder and his cousin, Ferdinand Piech, who developed the air-cooled flat-six engine. Launched as the 901, an objection from Peugeot who claimed naming rights to any three digit configuration with a zero in the middle resulted in Porsche renaming their new car the “911”.

Ferry on the launch of the Targa in 1965 described the car thus – “The Targa is neither a coupe nor a convertible”.

It is said that Porsche got the name, “Targa”, from the Targa Florino, a famous Sicilian road race. In Italian and Castellano, the word “Targa” means “number-plate”.

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The Targa style roof opening became popular in the 1960s and 1970s, resulting from fears that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) may ban convertibles because of safety concerns for the occupants should a car overturn.

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Over the years Porsche designs have varied. In 1996 the Porsche 993 Targa featured a retractable glass roof a design that continued into the 996 and 997 models. The glass roof retracted underneath the rear window revealing a large sky-facing opening. For me, in the earlier models of this style this gives the windscreen an almost too high pitch that affects the overall aesthetics of the car.

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The car received criticism as it was descriebed as a “coupe with a gigantic sun roof” – simply not what Porsche had intended and perhaps too far away from the core of this iconic car?

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With the introduction and production of more recent 911 Targa, including the Type 991, Porsche decided to take the latest Targa in a different direction from that of the previous water-cooled Type 996/997 cars.

Is 2014 car has somewhat returned to its earliest Targa roots by the utilizing of a solid roof panel spanning over the front seats which was mechanized for automated lift-away and storage under the rear glass roof, which itself is mechanized to lift up and out of the way as the roof panel is placed into its stowed position.

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Porsche seem to have decided that life should imitate art having produced a Targa that seems to take some design cues from a rather sophisticated toy from the late 1970’s. When I worked in the Christmas Holidays between University terms, I got myself a job at the now defunct Army & Navy Stores – a department store in Guilford (Surrey UK) in their Toy Department. I worked for a company called Bandai who were the licensees in the UK of the Transformer toy series. Those of you with either long memories or younger kids will know that Transformers were an amazing toy that “transformed” from a car to a Robot – for example – and subsequently has become a very successful film franchise. The range of car Transformers that I was selling – and I did hugely well outselling all other assistants – included a Porsche 911 in grey that transformed into a robot with green eyes. I still have one.

In August 2016 – the 50th Anniversary of its first Targa – Porsche announced an “Etna” blue Porsche Exclusive of the 911 Targa 4S Exclusive Design Edition – a collector’s edition!

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The 2018 version is here – quite possibly one of the most beautiful modern era Porsche Targas made.

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STOP PRESS

Our friends from Class Driver have recently posted the most remarkable film made by the Porsche Club of America about a secretive collection of over 65 Porsche cars dating from the late 1950’s to date each car being not only in pristine condition but all are uniquely painted white.

Enjoy the film here White Porsche Collection 

I defy any Porsche fan can control their passion for these fantastic vehicles – even a beautiful die-cast model should satiate some of the “must have one” moment. I have found the perfect two die-cast models – please click the Amazon link below the image in each case:

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Schuco 450035400 1:18 Scale Porsche 911 S Targa – 1972″ Model Car

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Porsche 911 (991) Targa 4S Metallic Blue 1: 18

You will need a range of various mechanical skills to maintain your 911 – built between 1965 -1989 – but you’ll also need a Haynes Manual – please click the Amazon link below the image

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Porsche 911, 1965-89 Coupe, Targa and Cabriolet Automotive Repair Manual (Haynes Automotive Repair Manuals)

The role of a Porsche in our lives cannot be understated. So celebrate your passion with this colourful T shirt – please click on the Amazon link below the image

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Dressdown Box 964 T 12 Colour Grid – Mens T-Shirt – White – XL

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image Credit – Porsche AG and the Porsche Club of America with grateful thanks.