The rustic backdrop provides a great contrast for the ultra clean Notch. The beautiful House of Ghia applied “Hellrot” paint is impossible to miss.

1968 Notchback Built for Charles Mizer

Another Notch in the Belt
By Chadly Johnson | November 1, 2017

Photos by Chadly Johnson


Have you ever performed a selfless act? How about one that involved 3 years of your life? It definitely takes a special person to accomplish such a task, and the gorgeous '68 Notchback you see before you is the result of just such an act. The Notch was certainly not built alone, but the vast majority of the work was handled by an amazing guy, Paul Iozzio. Paul met his good friend Charles Mizer while working at Boeing in Wichita, Kansas back in 1996. During Paul's time at Boeing he also began working at ‘Sole Designs Auto Body & Paint. At ‘Sole Designs, Paul played a role in the build of several HotVWs Magazine -featured cars from 1996 to 2005. There, he really dialed in his air-cooled building skills which eventually led to the build gracing these pages. To learn the full story of the Notch's build, I'll let Paul take over...
A killer stance for the Notchback was critical for Paul, and he accomplished it with a combo of 205/40-17 and 205/50-17 series tires, plus 17-inch Iozzio wheels.
This Notchback came about after I got a call from Marlene, Charles’s wife. Marlene wanted to buy a VW for Charles and asked me if I knew what he would want. Ironically, I had the exact car that I knew Charles would want, a 1968 Notchback. Charles always loved the red '65 notch we built at ‘Sole Designs in 1996 for Phil Nelson. Marlene agreed this was the car we should build, but how would we do this without him knowing? A project like this takes a lot of money and that would send up a red flag. After thinking about it, I told Marlene I would build the car free of charge if she would cover the cost of parts. I figured it would only take a year, but a year quickly turned into three. During the build, I met my fiancée, Angie Knox who supported the project 100%, even giving up her weekends and some holidays to work on the project. I could not have done this without her support.
The flowing color combinations of tans and browns along with woodgrains are used throughout the interior, making for a beautiful flow. Hidden sound deadening throughout keeps the Notch's ride quick and cool.
"The Build"
Brian Rappe at the House of Ghia performed the body and paint work applying three coats of PPG basecoat red called “Hellrot” and four coats of clear coat. Body mods were also performed at House of Ghia and include: Shaved front hood chrome, license plate light housing and antenna hole. House of Ghia also added a right-side mirror and built a custom valance below the rear bumper. The pop-out window frames were powder-coated semi-gloss as were the front wing window frames to help blend in with the rest of the Cal Look. I also opted to run early stainless chrome trim.
For upholstery, I contacted Marlene one morning while Charles was at work and sent her a picture of the headliner, carpet and vinyl samples that I had picked for the interior. With Marlene’s approval, Mike Gregory at House of Ghia was given the go ahead to order everything. Mike installed the headliner before bringing the car to my shop. I handled the carpet install which was a real battle. Chris and Merle at Ross Upholstery handled the installation of the seat covers and carpet binding.
The Notch's engine was built by Joe Weible in the form of a balanced 1776cc, and features an “Over the Top” exhaust by ISP West (Tip cut and turned to avoid custom rear valance). The transmission is a Freeway Flyer. I installed cross-drilled rotors on all four corners. When it came to wheels, I chose the 17x7 Iozzio Classic in ceramic black detail with a custom offset.
For the stereo, I wanted it stealthy so I started with a Kicker Bluetooth unit with a built-in amp. I then took a factory Type 3 stereo mount and added an Oval Window radio block off plate. I didn’t want to cut into the door panels, so I decided to add a pair of 4-inch Kicker speakers mounted in ATV/Marine housings and attached them to the custom metal under dash tray built by Shorty’s Customs.
I knew I wanted to run a wood GT style steering wheel, and I didn’t want to just run the stock plastic Type 3 shift knob. I asked my dad, Brian Kellogg if he would be willing to make a wood replica of the plastic knob. My Dad has all kinds of wood working tools and knew this “wood” be right up his alley...he used oak cut across the grain to give the same look as the sections in the steering wheel. My friend Jason Fields fabricated a matching horn button using an Iozzio center cap.
Ogden Chrome handled the laser-straight chrome work on the bumpers. H-4 headlights and wrap-around turn signals with clear lenses finish off the front end bright work.
Another trick item for the '68 was the addition of the “push button start” feature. First, I needed to eliminate the stock Type 3 steering column that housed the ignition. I used an early Type 1 column and built an adapter plate to allow it to mount to the stock location on the dash. Next, I installed the push button to the left of the column in an existing hole.
One of the final details to the build was to add a tool kit and show sign located in the front trunk. I wanted to use something that fit the theme and era of the car, so I tracked down a vintage set of 1950s Samsonite suitcases. After dying them brown to match the seat covers, I took two pieces of oak paneling and applied multiple amounts of clear, and sanded in between each coat. Finally, I drilled holes in the lower panel to mount the accessories and added the show sign lettered by Dave Bradley.
“The Reveal”
For the reveal, I knew it had to be special since we managed to keep the project a secret for so long. I contacted Lewis Ferguson who works at the “World of Speed” museum here in Wilsonville, Oregon. I explained the history of the Notchback build to Lewis and told him I thought the museum would be a good place to reveal the car to Charles. It would give me a safe place to bring the car ahead of time, and I could also invite several of the folks who helped on the car. Lewis offered to put the Notchback out on the museum floor so that it looked like just another display car. I made arrangements with Marlene for her and Charles to fly out for a visit, and agreed that we should visit the museum for a tour the day after their arrival. We arrived at the museum and began touring the first room. It wasn’t until the second room that Charles noticed a red Notchback sitting in the corner, and immediately made a b-line for the car. To Charles's amazement the notch had 17-inch Iozzio Wheels, and Charles asked if I knew about the car. Without comment, I opened the suitcase under the hood revealing the show sign, which listed “Charles Mizer” as the owner of the Notchback. His shock was met with tears of joy from Marlene and applause from the crowd that had gathered behind us. Many thanks to Lewis Ferguson and World of Speed for making this reveal a success, and for everyone who was involved and supported this build.
Beautiful speedometer with tripmeter.
In the trunk, a 1950s-era suitcase was died brown and displays a beautifully-crafted show sign and tool kit.
Red flat lensed taillights are a nice touch. Pop-out windows were added with powder-coated frames to match Cal look rubber.

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