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Scrap Is $250 A Ton

Nick Smith

My name is Nick and I have owned multiple Volkswagens (it’s kind of a sickness I have). But the story I want to share is about my 1961 Karmann Ghia.

A few years back a friend of mine told me he knew a guy who had a Ghia sitting in his barn, and it had been there for as long as he could remember. The guy just wanted it to go to a good home. After weeks of, "Hey man let’s just go check it out," I finally caved in and we drove to take a look. At first I thought this thing was kind of a pile of junk, but it was all there (other than parts of the body that had been sawed off) and it was kind of neat.

I wasn't sold though. I asked the guy how much he wanted and he said, “Scrap is $250 a ton right now. Make me an offer, or I will haul it in for scrap.” I decided I might as well gather all my nickels and dimes and try to save it from certain doom. I figured I could probably part it out and make some good money. So I towed it to my girlfriend’s parents’ house and stashed it behind their garage (I knew my dad would be mad if I drug something else home) and it sat for a few months.

A couple buddies came over and told me I was dumb and that it should just be taken to the scraper, but I had a vision in my head. I couldn't bring myself to just strip it down and sling the parts. The more people told me to just trash it and walk away, or told me it couldn't be done, the more I wanted to get it running. So one day I decided to go for it.

My girlfriend’s parents were very generous and let me set up shop in their garage, and with the help of many friends and family, we were able to fix the old Ghia. We spit shined it up, hammered it low, threw in a nice running 1600 with a stinger pipe, replaced brakes and turned the key! Of course, it sounds so easy when said like that – you all know it wasn't that easy. It was a struggle at times! Almost everyone who has ever helped work on this car has lost blood and sweat at some point. It’s almost like its out to get everyone at times!

This Ghia is far from the cleanest you've ever seen, but it has been more fun than almost any car I’ve ever owned. It’s such an odd color, so low, and so loud that people can’t miss it. It’s a head-turner.

I've actually had people tell me they are surprised it’s even made it to the show because of how ratty it looks, but I don't care! That makes it even better! Yes, someday I would like to invest more into it and make it "prettier" but for now I’m going to drive it until the wheels fall off again! That actually happened once coming home from a show.

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