We purchased 72 Karmann Ghia to restore. Other than this damage, the body is in relatively good condition. I've got very little experience but everyone has to start somewhere, and this is my first puzzle:


Clearly there is some rust at play here in the nose cone, but I'm not sure exactly what this damage / part this is. Specifically, the thick white portion underneath the paint that appears to be sitting over the rusted part.

I was under the impression that the Karmann Ghia bodies were all unibody metal and I expected to find just paint here, but this thick part appears to be some kind of overlay on top of the metal. Or am I underestimating / misinterpreting the amount of metal damage due to rust and the 'white' part is the body as well, primer coat exposed and the hole is a big rust hole?


I plan is to repaint the car. As it will need new floor pans and interior work, etc...I know I will be removing the body and expected that I would be stripping the paint down to bare metal, but this thick 'white' layer that appears to be laid on the metal is confusing me and I'm not sure what that is all about.

Google hasn't been much help - I'm not finding anything about "skins" over the body or anything like that. Everything I can find seems to just be bare metal unibodies, which this doesn't seem to be - so I'm surely just not understanding what I'm looking at.

This is my first post here so I'm happy to modify / tweak the question as needed to fit the rules of this SE

Hopefully my question makes sense!

3 Answers 3


That white stuff is definitely filler and can cover or hide a serious amount of damage.

A friend removed over 6kg from a three-quarter panel... He cut it all out and hand-made a panel beaten to shape to replace it - he trained as an aircraft panel fitter...

You need to find out what the underside of that wing is like - and perhaps thoroughly check all the other panels... Using a magnet is one possible way - if there is more distance between the magnet and the metal the force goes down...


The white stuff is bondo. It's there for a reason (usually, to hide body damage). Once you strip the paint and bondo off that nosecone, you're probably going to find much more rust and damage than that. My guess is that you'll end up replacing most of the nosecone. But as you say, it's a project. It's just gotten to be a little bigger project, that's all....


I think the white layer is body putty (in the U.S. frequently called "Bondo"), applied as a filler after previous body damage as a quicker and easier "fix" than physically repairing the bent metal underneath. Such filler is sandable and paintable.

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