Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Green Ghia Gone

Well dear readers, the time has come. I have not given up on the Ghia, but I cannot continue with the restoration, so I have sold it to someone who has promised to finish what I started.  It's a bittersweet moment, letting go, but I definitely think it's the right thing to do. Although the downside is essentially' giving up on the dream, the upside is that I don't have to think about the fact that I am not working on it all the time, it's cleared out the driveway so Valery can have access to her wonderful garden back, and it's cleared out my little 'studio' in the back yard, so I can create a little writing space for myself. Oh, and the sale helped pay for Maddie and my trip to Disney World earlier this month.

Time to go...
So, this all started when I lost my job at Hudson's and got the new gig at Valentina's. The original thinking was that I'd have lots more time to work on it after I retired, but the new work situation requires more of a full time commitment than I expected at HOB, so I just knew something had to give. The more I thought about the upsides, the less I thought it was a failure to finish and the more I thought of it as an opportunity to regain part of my life.

Bins of parts
And the doors...
I put it up on The Samba, a VW website dedicated to all things VeeDub. I put it up for sale at $3500, which is about $1500 less than I have put into it, counting the original cost. I did this because I knew I wouldn't be able to recoup all my investment, and because I wanted the next guy to actually finish what I started, so a little incentive seemed in order.

I got several bids for the car, but of all of them, only one guy didn't quibble with the price. Not only that, but he was as eager to restore the car as I had been, expecting to give it to one of his children and have it be part of their family.  That's just what I had in mind, and we wrapped up the deal in just a couple of days.
The empty crate

Air tools
That's when the rubber hit the road, so to speak.  First, I had to get a clear title, since when I bought the car, I didn't bother to transfer the title, figuring I'd get around to that when the car was actually drivable again. Well, that's easier said than done, of course, since it involved two trips to the DMV, a trip to bondsman and a two week wait for the title to come in the mail.  Oh and about two hundred dollars.

Filled with stuff...
Next was arranging for the transport. Now, I have acquired a few tools that I don't expect to use again without the car project--a large air compressor and a sand blaster--so I asked the buyer if he'd like to have then for an additional $250 and he agreed. This was a double bonus for me--the tools were out of my shed and I could use the extra money. It was also a good deal for the buyer, as those two tools cost me about $500 and I know he can use them in his restoration effort.

...and packed with paper
The buyer was not only patient with me as I acquired the clear title, but he also had the resources to ship the car and all the parts securely to California, where he lives. First, he sent a large shipping crate to the house, which I proceeded to fill up with all the parts in bins, plus the air tools and the glass, the gas tank and several other bits and pieces. That took about a week, since I had to make sure the crate was packed evenly and balanced, so things didn't shift and break during transport.

Ready for the last lift
After the crate was packed and sealed, someone came to pick it up, and my next task was to ready the car itself for shipment. The first step in this process was to put the body back on the chassis. This we have done before--twice--but this time I was not able to line up as many helpers as I have in the past.

My crew: Steve, Valery, Mike, Sara, Tom
Body back on!
The dolly is no longer needed
Come the morning of the lift, it was just six of us, and it was touch and go there for a minute, but we managed to get it off the dolly and back onto the chassis.

The doors in the body, strapped in
Next I had to put the doors and the convertible frame into the body, cover them and strap them down. This took another week, alas, as I am down to just one day off a week. But by early last week, I had it all done--doors and convertible frame in and locked down, and the whole thing covered in tarps to protect it on the trip across the country.

The guys come to get it...
...pushed out of the driveway...
By this time the crate had arrived in Los Angeles and the buyer reported that it made it perfectly intact. Again, he was amazingly patient with me, but I hope I made it worth his while by doing a good job of securing the cargo. I felt the same way about the car itself, and told the buyer when we got back from our trip to Florida that it was ready to go.

...up the street...
...and onto the car carrier
And go it did! Early last week, two guys with an enormous car-carrier showed up at the house. The truck was so big that they had to back it down the street and park it several houses up. it has no steering (but the wheels turn, of course) so they picked it up and pointed it toward the street, then pushed it out of the driveway an up onto the carrier.

Arrival in Los Angeles
In it's new home--look how different
the color is in the California light
And just like that, a five year project came to an end. As I said, I am a little sad, but overall it was a wonderful experience. I love to work with my hands, and during some of the toughest times in my life, this provided me with something to that would take my mind elsewhere, even if just for a bit.

Now I think I am in a different place, so to speak, both emotionally and physically. Emotionally, I no longer need the escape quite so much, and physically I have other things to do with my energy and time.

To both of my loyal readers, I say thanks for watching and supporting me all these years. It's been fun!

Thanks, Steve, Mike, Sara Valery and Tom!

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