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VW Karmann Ghia: The German car with the sexy Italian shape

Carrozzeria Ghia put the clothes on some of the world’s coolest classic cars. And what beautiful clothes they are. The DeTomaso Pantera, Dual Ghia, Fiat 8V Supersonic, Maserati Ghibli, and Fiat Jolly—not to mention numerous concept cars and special Ferraris in the 1950s—all donned Ghia coachwork to great effect. Mention Ghia to the average Joe, however, and he’ll think of something a lot more humble but no less beautiful, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/07/12/vw-karmann-ghia-german-car-with-italian-shape

My shop teacher had a green one.

Anyhow, excellent coverage in these forums for the more distant relatives of the vw ghia, but not the closest…

The type 3 karman ghia was the direct predecessor to the Porsche 914.

Kyle

I’ve always thought that was the case. While the Ghia was prettier than the 914, the mid-engine upgrade put the 914 in a class of its own as far as handling. They hold the corners like a go-cart, and the 914-6 was a true sleeper. I’d love to get my hands on one.

This hits really close to home! My first car was a red cabriolet like the one pictured in the article. It was replaced by a 914. Wish I still had both of them.

I had one, I’m sorry i sold it, circumstances forced the sale, they are great little cars, don’t be in a hurry and don’t beat it to death just drive and enjoy. I’m planning to get another one.

My roommate in college had one. Looked fantastic, but sounded just like it was, a Beetle in a movie starlet’s body. Think “Halle Berry” but with “Moms Mabley” underneath the makeup. It didn’t go fast, but it was fun to drive.

When I opened the article, thought I was looking at mine. Got it a few years ago from a gentlemen who had kept it in his garage for 32 years in MA, but never let her see any rain. I had been looking on & off for the previous few years, but they were either too rusty or too $$. This one didn’t have a spec of rust on it and is all original and a fair price. It needs/needed a few cosmetic items, but was ready to drive. My wife and I love going out for (slow) cruises and have taken it down to the Jersey Shore, up and down the Delaware river on both side and most recently to the Deutsche Classic up by Reading, PA with other VW’s, BMW’s, Porsche’s & etc. Got a lot of nice comments from folks up there and some sources locally for parts. Have had a few offers to buy it from passersby, but plan on keeping it ( in a garage) and to keep driving it.

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My first car was 1967 Ghia. I bought it in 1975 for $125. At eight years old she was so rusty you could put your hand through the fenders and your head through the floor. Gotta love that Ontario road salt. After about 6 months of pop riveting sheet metal and a whole lot of body filler, this 16 year old kid had a car that somehow passed a safety check. Fast she was not, which was probably a good thing for a 16 year old. If I timed it just right, I could down shift, punch the gas and it sounded like I was squawking the tires at 30 MPH, when in reality I was briefly skidding. But it sounded fast. An older friend of the family painted it for me for the modest price of me making him a tool box in sheet metal class at school. That was also where I made the rocker panels and other car parts for the Ghia. The defroster system was an ice scraper I held in my mouth, so it was handy to clean off the inside of the windshield while driving. I eventually put a gas heater in it that I got from the wreckers in an attempt to appease my girl friend who was not impressed with the cold. It must have worked because we’ve been married for over 40 years now, and when she saw the article still up on my computer she said “Hey a Ghia” with a big smile on her face. I loved that old car until the floor rusted out the second time and the seats were leaning so far outward it was hard to get the doors to close. That was after almost two years. Great memories.

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@srtaylor
I swear I was reading MY story! It was nearly my exact experience and during the same time! Wow!
I have continued to have a Ghia in my life even when things were not going great. I’ve owned four, a 1970 and 2 other 67’s. I have owned my current 67 for nearly 23 years. It is an obsession!

How do you turn a Karmann-Ghia into a fake Porsche 356?