It’s A Volkswagen
It was approaching the late afternoon in mid-November, the leaves were at that fiery seasonal sweet spot, temperatures were lingering in the 40’s, so naturally we messaged a friend who lives near the south shore with a unique convertible. For those keeping score, this has gradually become somewhat of a trend for us (as seen in our previous article It’s Always Convertible Weather ).
Evan Tong is, by clear definition, a collector, with a fleet consisting of a drop-top 993 Porsche, and various flavors of modern and vintage Volkswagens, mostly with convertible roofs. For me, at least this gorgeous Karmann Ghia stands out as the real jewel in the collection. It’s easy to get distracted in conversation comparing details that coincide from one car to the next within the fleet, but it’s the overlap of this personal style that makes each one stand out in a crowd.
Leaning heavily on air-cooled Porsche influence, the Ghia has subtle yet sporty cruiser look and feel which is punctuated by flashes of polished aluminum, chrome, and tasteful modern touches. Classic, but not in a way that you’re afraid to take it out of the driveway. Low, but drivable. Clean, but not a concourse wannabe vibe. Cruising down some twisty, tree lined roads, or street parked in the Back Bay with the top down it’d be right in its element all the same. On this afternoon, we went for tree lined back roads, as the sun settled towards the horizon, just beyond the trees and that perfect golden glow juxtaposed against metallic silver and chrome just about stopped us in place between the shadows of bare birch trees on either side. But we’re here to appreciate vintage metal, not get distracted by seasonal arborist scenery.
Momentum, partially driven by my fight with a lingering hangover kept things moving, as we moved through the curves, the staccato grumble of a Weber equipped 2276cc flat-four echoed off the trees. The car turned heads in every vehicle we pass, observers appearing alarmed to see such a nicely kept example of 1960’s styling so late in the season with the top down. We were just as pleased to lure Evan out onto the road as any random admirer might be, if not more, as we got to spend our afternoon chasing his Ghia through the woods into the sunset.
While stopped, I ask about the car’s details. “Are the wheels real Porsche Fuchs?” Evan laughs and nods. It’s clearly a common question, but greeted with a positive, excited response. All of the Porsche inclusions in the build are genuine, as the car is now heavily portrays the concept of an extra-curvy 356. The interior is where the classic ride meets a bit of modernity, with a custom audio system, featuring a prominently displayed pair of subwoofers, set behind perforated red leather covered 1960’s Porsche 911 Recaro seating. Even the key is a genuine Huf part, showing that the details are seemingly endless, and the commitment to theme is as thorough as imaginable.
The sun begins to settle down and the late fall air becomes just a bit too crisp to continue a drive in a car with no top. We all lament preparing to store the fun cars for the wintertime, and between sharing small plans for other vehicles in the fleet, Evan says he’s considering a two liter 16v motor with a lysholm supercharger for a MK1 cabriolet project, which I emphatically support, knowing that if he takes this on, it’ll be a delightful result to see during the warm months. The 911 comes up in conversation, among others, and I ask if any of these will come out in the wintertime, only to learn that they hibernate as they should. We’ll be back in the springtime for a last minute backyard barbecue and updates on the collection, if I have anything to say about this.
Until next time.
Midnight Special are Brian Buckley and Sadie Fortin
Have a great car? Let’s go for a drive.