I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a field of fast Volkswagens at the 2017 Good Vibrations March Meet. After all, California has always had a strong Volkswagen culture…Bugs, Bajas, busses and Karmann Ghias have enjoyed plenty of popularity in the Sunshine state over the decades. But while most of us either picture a dune-running Baja or a lowered Beetle on Fuchs-style wheels, it was this blue low-light Karmann Ghia that immediately grabbed my attention when it ripped off a ten-second blast like it was nothing.
The Ghia belongs to Jeff Newcomb of Redding, California is the owner of this 1957 example, and it’s been his baby for the last twenty-odd years. That doesn’t mean it’s babied in the cloth-diaper, show-quality sense. No, that would do the MoTec-injected, 3.0L powered machine a deep injustice. Fitted with Oliver billet rods, a billet crank, billet throttle bodies and a dry nitrous setup for track days where it’s allowed, this Ghia doesn’t understand “cruising” at all. Instead, it’s a poor man’s Porsche and it’s set to whip up on every hind end in sight. A “002” gearbox from a Bus handles shifting duties as Newcomb runs a low-ten second pass clean, or as fast as 9.30@152 MPH with the spray on. In a car that weighs in at 1,685 pounds with him in the driver’s seat, it’s more than enough to replace a morning cup of coffee for that instant wake-up feeling.