T34 50th ANNNIVERSARY IN GERMANY
In August 2011 Lee flew to Frankfurt Germany to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the T34 Karmann Ghia with the world's owners & enthusiasts. He spent seven days driving a 30K-mile unrestored Anthracite 1963 T34 borrowed from Jorg Fischer, a dream T34 and one of the world's top 25 T34s. He met up with old friends & new friends from Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Scotland, Norway, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, & Belgium. He was fortunate to meet the wife of the T34s designer, Mrs Sergio Sartorelli. He gave a historical presentation on the T34 development whle the heavy German rain downpoured for hours. It was an amazing trip of a lifetime ... one that will not soon be forgotten.
CRUISE TO GEORGSMARIENHüTTE: On Thursday we met at Jorg Fischer's home in Darmstadt, packed the T34s with our gear, and caravaned north for seven hours. We made stops along the way, picking up T34 owners on our way to GMH. Finally arriving at dusk we checked into the B&B nearby and drove down to the show site for a cold beer.
VISIT TO VOLKSWAGEN KARMANN OSNABRüCK: On Friday morning we set-up the presentation area and got first look at the spare parts in the swap meet area while the about 75-100 T34s arrived at the site. There were too many to count or keep track of. By noon Tom Reay & I cruised over to the VW Osnabrück factory for a tour of the museum collection. The 1959 Sartorelli prototype was on an elevated stage while the Silver 1969 Cabriolet & Ruby Red 1965 TC Fastback were nearby. The 1959 Tjaarda prototype was also there. After posing for photos next to the huge Karmann sign we headed back to the show site.
HISTORICAL PRESENTATIONS: Friday afternoon Jorg Fischer & I gave the presentations underneath a huge tent. The heavy rain poured down as we shared the early development history & annual refinements with the crowd. Most of this research was new information to the hundreds of T34 owners. Eight of the original 1960's Karmann factory workers were there and answered questions about the T34 production days at Karmann. Later that evening we had dinner at a local Italian restaurant. Great to reconnect with old friends like Derek Frow (UK), Antonio Pellegrino & Mrs. Sartorelli (Italy), Dag Henriksen (Norway), Carsten Klein (Germany), Tobias Ebner (Germany), and many others!
SIX-MILE T34 CRUISE THRU GMH: Saturday morning we met at the show site and the full 145 T34s were all parked in long lines. We got into one long caravan line and cruised throught he GMH streets lined with spectators waving & clapping as we drove by. Dag Henriksen (Norway) was my co-pilot as we were part of six miles of T34s, an unbelievable spectacle. Thankfully the rain stopped on Saturday for this beautiful drive through scenic Germany.
145 T34 GROUP PHOTOGRAPH: After everyone returned from the cruise the 145 T34s were positioned tightly together for the group photo. It was an amazing sight to see a huge field of T34 roofs in so many colors for as far as the eye could see. The group photo was taken from up on the fire truck extended ladder.
AWARDS PRESENTATION: Sunday the rain began again with heavy downpours soaking everything. Most of the T34 owners crammed into the tents for the awards presentations. Mrs Sartorelli gave a long heartfelt speech about her husband and his dedication to his craft during the 1950's & 60's. Best of Show was awarded to Jorg Fischer (Germany) for his restored Pearl White 1963 Cabriolet. Best Early T34 was presented to Jan Peter Henkels (Germany) 13K-mile unrestored Sea Blue & White 1963 Coupe. Best Late T34 went to Jurgen Magdelyns (Belgium) restored Black 1968 Electric Sunroof. Best T34 Coupe was awarded to Paul Peeters (Belgium) for his unrestored low-mileage Chrome Blue 1969 Automatic Coupe. Oldest T34 went to Andy Holmes (UK) restored Black early-1962 built in November 1961. Longest Distance Driven went to Graham Filmer (Scotland) for his Black 1967 RHD Coupe.
BEST OF THE BEST: The best quality original/restored T34s I saw at this event included: 1959 Sartorelli prototype (VW Osnabrück Museum), Sea Blue & Blue-White 1963 Coupe (Jan Peter Henkels, Germany), Pearl White 1962 Coupe (Johannes Krasenbrink, Germany), Anthracite & Pearl White 1963 Manual Sunroof (Jorg Fischer, Germany), Black 1962 Coupe (Andy Holmes, England), Ruby Red 1965 TC Fastback (VW Osnabrück Museum), & three original 1963 Cabriolets (Jorg, Christian, VW).
BACK TO DARMSTADT: Sunday afternoon we drove back home to Darmstadt and settled down for a nice dinner. The next morning I coached Jorg's son Malte's soccer team and later took a tour of Darmstadt. We sat down to discuss the T34 Cabriolet development and Jorg shared some amazing research he's done over the years.