Dec 11, 2010
The story of Karl (the Type 1 - 1956 European Ragtop) began on May 12, 1956 when he left the factory at Wolfsburg, Germany. Karl was shipped directly to Berlin, Germany complete with factory installed ragtop sunroof, semaphores, and a 36hp motor.
Karl’s charm was quickly discovered by a US military member who decided Karl could not be left behind in Europe. Karl was loaded onto a ship for the long journey to Hollywood, California. And spent most of his life in the Southern California Sun.
Fast forward to the year 2000 at Eaglerock, California. Long time VW restorer/builder Bob Costa and his lifelong friend Guy Levingston decided to build a VW as a childhood re-bonding project. Karl would become this project and was soon mating to a 1963 pan, received a 1641 dp motor, freeway flyer transmission, new interior, and a splash of fresh Coral Red paint, along with lots of special trim to finish everything off. After the completion of the car Karl was shipped to his new home in Boise, Idaho where Guy only took him on outings during the warm Idaho summers – the remainder of the time he was kept locked up in the garage to avoid the harsh weather. Bob Costa passed away shortly after and Guy decided it was time to let Karl find a new family. I spotted Karl on the samba.com on February 10, 2009, after speaking to Guy about the car and understanding the interesting history. I decided I had to adopt him. I hired a transport company to pick him up in Boise. Guy was so concerned about the snow and the affects it would have on the car he made special arrangements to meet the transport company several weeks later, after the purchase. Guy wanted to make sure every attempt was made for a safe journey back to California. A full two weeks later the car was delivered to me in South Fresno.
After receiving the car I completely dismantled the entire vehicle and began cleaning and detailing everything from bumper to bumper. I installed a 4 inch narrowed beam (for a new lowered stance) along with a fresh set of chrome Torque Thruster wheels. A NOS Wasso shifter lock, pop-out windows, German dash clock, 1950’s foglight along with lots of other period accessories, that I had collected over the years. In June of 2010 I attended several VW shows in Europe where I scored a km speedometer with correct date code (May 1956), a 1950’s “D” plate for the rear bumper, Berlin tourist pieces, and lots of small European gadgets. I track the adventures of the car at: http://dassschiebedachkafer.blogspot.com/
Currently I am collecting the original German engine tin to replace the chrome aftermarket pieces. Recently became the proud owner of a very original 66 VW Squareback that I am collecting pieces for as well.