1970

Body by Karmann in Western Germany. Any guesses as to the car?

karmann

You may have guessed a Karmann Ghia, 911, or 914. If you got that close, you’re good. But you’re still not quite there…

april baby

sahara code

Yep, that’s the outline, but there’s a little more going on.

straight sixer

Check out the old-school “cold air intake”. I love the gentle patina on everything–well, everything except the brand-new oversized radiator and the fan and shroud that go with it. Gotta keep cool, ya know.

brendan on the ground

But you’d be mistaken if you thought it was all old car problems all of the time. Actually, it’s just old car problems some of the time.

park in

Brendan picked me up and we headed up a classic Nor Cal road to our destination, Foothills Park. Between some sketchy lap belts (“I’ll make sure not to crash”), period-correct body roll, and a carburetor soundtrack, it was always going to be exciting at any speed. And if you can understand that climate control, you’re a better man than I.

gateway to the world

Although it was dark down between the trees, up in the hills it was still quite bright. Don’t forget the ashtray–one of three I spotted.

lying badges

Automatic, eh?

wood inside

Well…not quite. In addition to a five-speed swap (with a nifty dogleg first gear), it has Weber 32/36’s in place of the original Solexes, the head from a later M30 variation and a lumpy Schrick cam that doesn’t really lend itself to getting off the line well.

wispy

downlow

However, from the outside, it looks almost showroom fresh.

bay coupé

gapper

Okay, it does have the US-spec reflective scabs front and rear, but those are just pointy elbows from where I’m standing. Not like it’s impossible to shave them, either.

minty pigs

Rear seat ashtray, check.

skins n fur

There are the worthless seat belts. And some funky seat covers that are at least protecting the immaculate leather underneath.

enter!

This car is from a transitional period in the history of personal motoring. As far as that world is concerned, 1970 is still firmly part of “the good old days”.

in the valley

Although it actually does have “bumpers”, it’s from an era where designers were pretty free to do what they wanted with styling, having much less concern for (or perhaps even knowledge of) safety and aerodynamics.

bloom

soft nose

hofmeister

one way zoomin'

At this point, we ran into a little wrinkle in the park…from our previous location I’d noticed a photographer shooting some newlyweds in the grass, and when we turned the corner there it was: their mundane people carrier, parked in a prime spot!

c-maxin'

Alright then.

shot a sick C-Max!!!

Well, luckily this park is beautiful in every direction.

greenhouse

bayview

up front

Now that is an iconic face.

vent grilles

Everything seems to be more interesting on an older car, even simple vents.

cornered

One of my favorite pieces of design on this car is the tail lights. The proportions on this car seem to be unorthodox at first yet flow naturally the more you study them.

deer road

wide face

Of course, I can’t talk about proportions without throwing it off and showing some bulgy wide-angle shots!

woody

Unfortunately I’m not a wood expert so I can’t tell you exactly what we’re looking at, but I do know it looks great in the sun.

nardi handle

greenhouse view

There’s so much wood everywhere that it’s almost shocking in the current world of plastic. But it works…

park out

Eventually the sun went behind the hills and it was time to head out. The roads up to and around the park are just as exquisite, just don’t try them on the weekends…trust me on that one.

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