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VW Karmann Ghia specs

VW Karmann Ghia vehicle description

The VW Karmann Ghia is a real style icon among all VW models. The Karmann is very elegant and affordable. Nowadays it is are real collector’s car, they are inexpensive to buy, run and maintain. There is a large community around the vehicles. The VW Karmann Ghia is timeless because of his Italian curves, solid German construction and the durable components from the rear-engine VW Beetle. This was (and still is) a winning combination for many VW enthusiasts.

VW Karmann Ghia

VW Karmann Ghia

VW Karmann Ghia history

The magnificent Karmann Ghia history started when, Ghia’s commercial director, Luigi Serge, had been asked by Karmann to design an “image car” for Volkswagen. Volkswagen was, as always throughout the history of the car brand, very ambitious and they wanted to break into new markets and for this they needed a vehicle that would captivate the general public in the same way as the Ford Tunderbird or the Chevrolet Corvette.

In 1953, Luigi Serge was approached by Karmann with the brief to design the Volkswagen image car. Several other car companies were in the same situation, most notably, Chrysler. Chrysler contracted with the Italian styling and coach building firm of Ghia to build a series of “dream” cars. While Chrysler produced some of these dream cars, one car they did not produce would eventually become, you guessed it, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. While Chrysler worked with Ghia, Volkswagen contracted with the German coach builder, Karmann to build their “image” car. Karmann, in need of a design, approached Ghia and somehow the old Chrysler design surfaced and was modified to fit the VW Beetle floor pan. The VW executives liked what they saw and by August of 1955, the first Volkswagen Karmann Ghias rolled off the assembly line in Osnabruck, German as 1956 models.

The Karmann Ghia was equipped with the same 36 hp flat-four engine that was being used in the VW Beetle at the time. The car had the looks and craftsmanship made for a sporty car, however, the small Beetle engine did not make a sports car. The power was adequate and the suspension was good for the era. These two factors combined with the Karmann Ghia’s great looks made for a fairly good selling car, totaling over 10,000 the first year. When the convertible came out a couple of years later in 1958, sales jumped to around 18,000 cars per year. Sales climbed steadily until the late 1960’s when they peaked in the neighborhood of 33,000 cars a year. The VW Karmann Ghia was last produced in 1974 to make way for the new VW Scirocco. Only 365,912 coupes and 79,326 convertibles were produced which make the Karmann Ghia a fairly rare car considering it was produced for nearly 20 years.

Nowadays, the VW Karmann Ghia is one of the most sought-after air-cooled Volkswagens, especially the convertibles. The Karmann Ghia has a graceful, timeless design that, in 1969, was named one of the most beautifully designed products in the world.

Who made the Karmann Ghia

The Karmann Ghia was made by Volkswagen. However, there were at least two separate designers claiming they were responsible for scribing out the Ghia’s evocative lines. Both Virgil Exner and Mario Boano claim to have designed the Karmann Ghia, some aspects of the car, notably it’s “hips” bore a remarkable resemblance to the Chrysler D’Elegance concept, which had been designed Exner but built by Boano’s Carozzeria Ghia in 1953, however other styling cues from Boano cars which predate the D’Elegance are also present, suggesting that it’s more likely the work of Boano.

Virgil Exner 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Karmann Ghia

1953 Chrysler D’Elegance

What is a lowlight Ghia?

The VW Karmann Ghia Lowlight is a very rare and early variant of the VW Karmann Ghia. The variant built between 1955 and 1959 and recognizable at the little extra taillights and the little air inlets at the front.

VW Lowlight Karmann Ghia

VW Lowlight Karmann Ghia

What does Ghia mean?

Carrozzeria Ghia SpA logo

Carrozzeria Ghia SpA logo

Ghia, also called Carrozzeria Ghia SpA, is a famous Italian automobile design and coachbuilding firm. The company was established in 1915 in Turin by Giacinto Ghia and Gariglio as Carrozzeria Ghia & Gariglio.

The company initially made lightweight aluminium-bodied cars, achieving fame with the Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 which won the Mille Miglia in 1929.

What is a Karmann Beetle?

In the late 1940s, Volkswagen asked Germany’s Karmann to build a four-seater Cabriolet based on its growingly successful VW Beetle. The Karmann Beetle or Beetle Convertible is a simple drop-top classic that resulted from the two German companies’ efforts became the world’s most long-lived drop-top with the Beetle Cabriolet’s production lasting from 1950 to 1980.

VW Karmann Beetle or Beetle Convertible

VW Karmann Beetle or Beetle Convertible

VW Karmann Ghia engine

VW Karmann Ghia parts

Are you looking for parts for your VW Karmann Ghia (exhaust, floor pans, body panels, bumpers, roof racks,…? On this page you can submit a parts request that is send to multiple VW Karmann Ghia  parts sellers (Paruzzi & VW Heritage). They will provide you with their price (without obligation to buy the parts AND there are no hidden charges).

VW Karmann Ghia for sale

Interested in a VW Karmann Ghia for sale? Visit our forum thread VW Karmann Ghia for sale and have a look at all the ads submitted by other members of the Aircooled Community. If you are interested in a Karmann Ghia for sale, you can always contact the owner by sending him / her a private message or by reacting on the ad itself.

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