I have been waiting to write this feature for what feels like forever. The wait is finally over and we can speak about how awesome this car is! Many of you in the UK will have seen this car at various shows and events but of course we have readers from around the globe so let us introduce it properly.
The car belongs to Terry Settle and we have been working towards getting this car on our pages for over a year now. We first saw the car when he asked if he could debut his new build on our Air Monkeys stand at Stanford Hall in May 2014. All we saw was one photo but I fell in love with the car, the paint, the stance and knew it had to be a part of our set up at the show.
Terry is not a stranger to building quality cars. He’s had 7 air-cooled VW’s including a ‘59 Beetle which was on Volksworld’s pages and a ‘64 Notchback which our friends at Hayburner liked so much it adorned their pages. Terry first got into VW’s after a trip to a Bug Jam show about 8 years ago and that led to a beetle project with his Dad, Ivan.
Terry was looking on thesamba.com at Ghia’s and came across this lowlight 1957 model in Long Beach, California. At first he thought buying a car from California was too much of a stretch but after he showed it to Katharine Snowden she encouraged Terry to dig a little deeper and get the car. Terry reached out to the seller, a guy called Tony Lopez, and the car was Terry’s.
8 weeks later the car arrived in Southampton and it looked great. As soon as Terry got it back to his home in Lincoln he started work on the iconic VW. A 6 month restoration later and the car was debuted at Stanford Hall amongst some other fine rides.
This all makes it sound very simple but I assure you that it wasn’t. Let us explain how Terry got the car looking the way it does today.
Before the car had even arrived in the U.K. Terry had a pretty good idea of what he had planned for the Ghia. What else do you have to do when you’ve sold your Notch and Beetle to fund a car you’re not getting for weeks. Sit and make plans!
Terry started on the rear pans and flattened them. One thing was clear with this car: it was built to lay. Some floor was replaced and some heater channel and inner wing work was required to make the car sound. All the metalwork was custom shaped by Terry and he had a plan to make to car look new and shiny underneath and keep the “ratty” appearance on top.
All the running gear was replaced with new if necessary and painted gloss black.
Then Terry started on the suspension work. He used a Volksprojects kit from the guys in The Netherlands. Erwin van Sintmaartensdijk gave a lot of advise and this helped the car get equiped with a quality rear air bag and shock setup. A custom front beam was fitted at 5 inches narrower than a standard setup. This allowed the body and inner wings to remain un-chopped. Volksprojects air shocks and dropped spindles from Limebug bring the car closer to the ground with assistance from a tie rod flip kit from Buttys Bits making this more comfortable when the car is on the floor.
I’ve been driven in the car when it’s low and it is seriously comfortable.
The front brakes needed to be swapped for early 1960’s brakes which fitted better plus they’re larger so assist with the stopping.
One of the reasons that this feature took so long to happen was that Terry could not decide what wheels to fit to the car. He rolled on steels for a while but always wanted something different. In the end he picked 17 inch BRM rims with 185/35 front Nangkangs and 205/40 rear Nangkangs. His choice is perfect. The car sits so well on them and gives it just enough chrome without looking overpowering next to the flat paint.
One issue Terry had once the wheels were fitted was horrific bump steer. After a chat to the guys at Limebug he sourced a Pitman arm extender which made the ride much more comfortable.
All the cars rubbers were changed for new “water tight” ones and then we move onto the interior.
As you can see from the two photos above and below this text the interior has changed alot. This was actually between photo shoots. The trim was done by our friends at Waboo Automotive and the job they’ve done is amazing. The attention the detail is stunning and the hours spent didn’t go to waste at all. It turned out the car actually had two passenger seats so Tom Booth at Waboo needed to modify one of the seats to make it correct. Then Austin Watts transformed the car into a plush, comfortable and enjoyable place to be. Many people told Terry to keep the worn out, weathered interior but it was destroying all of Terry’s and Katharine’s clothes so comfort was chosen and who can argue now? It’s transformed the car.
The car is powered by a 1600 type 1 engine. Terry coverted it to 12 volt after a top end t8rip down and now it runs sweetly.
There isn’t really anything else I can say about this car, except that I Love It. It really is one of my favourte VW’s in the world and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that. The best thing I can do is let Terry have the final words:
I have spent a hell of a lot time trying to get this car to drive the way it should. I kinda got fed up with having a static slammed car as it would never go in a straight line and it seemed like I was always repairing the bottom of the car from it eating tarmac. People might call me a pussy but air ride is definitely the way forward. This car was built to drive, turn heads and do some mileage. Which is exactly what it does!
I knew from the word go I needed to treat this car with respect, therefore I had to install the air ride to achieve the look I wanted. I couldnít bare to drag its arse down the street everywhere I went.
I have covered about 4000 miles in this car going all around the UK and tripping to Belguim. I can honestly say this is the best air cooled vehicle I have ever driven. I can cruise at 70mph in torrential rain on the motorway and still have the biggest smile on my face.
I’d like to say a massive thanks to Joss Ashley (Wide 5’s Photography) for coming down to Lincoln twice and letting me get involved with the shoot!
A great big cheers to you Joe for doing this write up! I know you have been waiting pretty much a year to do the write up. Thanks for being patient and letting me get the car the way I wanted.
It’s great to be asked to do this feature, even better to have gained a friend.
Funny story or not so funny. My first outing to Stanford Hall was great until I started the car to go home and the car filled with smoke.
Katharine, our dog Coco, and I were in the car and we absolutely shit ourselves. Scott Swinburn was luckily near by and we both grabbed a fire extinguisher.
I opened the deck lid and managed to pull the live off the battery.
An irate Katharine arguing with the recovery guy who tried to refuse Coco and a 7 hour wait later we were home!
It all went wrong when I installed the air ride system, and mocked a few things up, I didn’t put a rubber bung through the firewall! Lesson learnt! I won’t ever do that again!!
I honestly couldn’t have done this without my friend, Scott Swinburn who came round at weekends and late nights in the garage, helping out with everything. Adam Wintersgill with no experience of car wiring got the air ride working when no one else could, it took 12 hours straight, packs of cigarettes and head scratching but we finally got it to lift at 10pm. Also helping with all sorts of struggles were my girlfriend Katharine Snowden, dad Ivan Settle, and friends Tom Feltwell, Al Speight, Liam Andrews, Brendan Chambers & Peter Snowden.