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The following was sent to the Karmann Ghia Club of North America's email list on September 5th, 2009:
while some are headed to Sacramento for the Bug-O-Rama, I'm here working on the LSR Ghia...
The last update came right after having laid paint on the car. Honestly, there's been so much fooling with the paint on this car, I may sometimes mix up which painting session was which, but as I recall, on that occasion KG enthusiast David Whitaker (a 2001, 100th Anniversary of Karmann Cruise Across America participant) came with his pressure pot paint gun and we prepped the car and I did the shooting of the paint.
The next morning when I went to inspect the work, I found that most of the car was fantastic. However, there were two spots where the paint was a bit thin. As you can have up to a 72 hour delay between coats, the next day, I added another coat - or, at least tried to. My gun screwed up and I couldn't get it to spray the paint correctly. ...I'm not the only one who has had trouble with this gun, so maybe it's not just me. But in any event, it started out well but then I started to ge a lot of paint runs. I decided it was doing more harm than good, so I stopped. I didn't have the presence of mind to just grab a throw-away paint brush and paint the thin areas.
What I ended up doing was losing that paint and later tried to color sand out the drips. Dave came back to help with that and it almost worked but there were several key places where the paint was just too thin - why I had tried to add more!
I was Very Frustrated. Enthusiast Britt Grannis came to the rescue. He taught me a few things about paintwork and we (mostly he!) "color sanded" the whole car right to the point where it was so thin you could see through it to the underlying primer or metal, so the final paint thickness won't be too thick when it's all said and done, and this also helped provide one more pass at "straightening the car in the paint" - a process by which you continue to remove high-spots, leaving the older paint in the low spots, thus "making it straighter."
I would not have believed how quickly it could be done without having seen Britt work!
So, another day passed and I ran all sorts of erands, and collected up key parts for this car, such as door panels, carpet, seats, door glass, front windshield, etc., and a parts shipment from Michael Greggory of House of Ghia - GREAT PARTS, MIKE! Oh, and another enthusiast, Aaron Castillo, has come to our aid throughout the week, first by running errands like getting the Bosch-recommended spark plugs and finding the high-octane fuel. And later Aaron has put in a great many hours prepping the rims for the new tires!
Meanwhile, I went and got some more paint, and cleaned the booth again, and then Britt joined me, cleaned up the car again, and we shot us some more Bamboo, L241!
Paint is drying "as we speak." I got up at 5AM and started working on engine tin and when Britt arrived just after 6, we got working on the latest coat of paint. We made three passes around the car and there's now enough paint on there and it has flowed very well. This time should do it, but I've had so many painting disasters, I'm not holding my breath. If it doesn't work out this time, I'll just have to live with it!
So... The engine; there were lots of little things that all catch up with you right at the end. The air shrouding has taken a lot more time than I'd have thought it ever could, for example. One issue was that Denzel had made the side tin in different versions for use with different fan shrouds, intake manifolds, and head-stud lengths, and I didn't have the exactly right version, yet when a friend gave me the right ones, they didn't fit the rest of my pieces because they are all hand made as sets... So, I had to make new baffles that seal off the air leaks that my tin would have otherwise had. Yet to do is to make a heat shield to protect the oil lines as they pass the exhaust system - Denzel came stock with a full-flow oiling system!
I still haven't finished off the exhaust system - I'm expecting to do that today and then get back onto the transaxle. The plan is to, if at all possible, run the engine for the first time today...
It's getting "down to the wire!"
My team and I can still use some help, if any's coming. Donations of any kind gratefully accepted! Labor? We can still use you? Money? Never say no - we'll be lucky to pay for fuel to attend the event! Parts? Yes, there are still a few things...