|Volkswagen Karmann Ghia|
|Production|| 1955 - 1974 |
|Class||Sports Car - Roadster|
|Body Style||2-door Coupe, 2 door convertible, (two-seater)|
|Transmission||4-speed Manual, 3-speed clutchless manual "Autostick", all RWD|
|Engine||H-type (2+2) Flat 4 cylinder engine, 1100,1200, 1300, and 1500cc|
|Power||32hp, 36hp, 40hp, 48hp|
|Designer||Mario Boano from Carrozzeria Ghia|
The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was introduced in 1953 in an effort by Volkswagen to join in the "image" car in the post-WWII world. It was first available for sale in 1955. Built on the reliable Beetle Chassis, sporting Porsche-like looks, it sold well in both Europe and the United States until it was discontinued in 1974.
See Autopedia's comprehensive Karmann Ghia Review.
Each year saw slight tweaks, but the major changes include: In 1960, in order to accomodate US Vehicle Safety Regulations, the headlights were placed higher on the front fenders. The nose grills for fresh air intake were reshaped longer, the front wheel arch was extended towards the rear, and the tail lights were enlarged. Also, a larger 40hp 1200cc engine was put in. In 1966 the engine was increased to a 42hp 1300cc engine. 1968 saw the next biggest change, wherein the suspension was changed a swing arm to Independent Rear Suspension, and a 48hp 1500cc engine was put in. In 1970, the rear tailights were enlarged again. Lastly, in 1972, the tailights were enlarged again, and the bumpers were changed to a blockier shape, again for US regulations. Also the "rear-seat" was removed due to seat-belt regulations. Engine and suspension changes were consistent with Type 1, or Beetle, chassis of the same years.
Styles and Major OptionsEdit
There were not many options available for the Karmann Ghia outside of color options. There were two-tone colors for many years, where the roof was different than the body. Most options were dealer accessories, such as a bamboo parcel tray, a fuel gauge, or beauty rings on the wheels. A Judson supercharger was an option for the 32, 36, and 40 hp models. However, there was a "Sport Ghia" was introduced in 1973 that only came in Saturn Yellow, with black accents around the cabin and a strip between the chrome strips on the side, with slightly larger wheels. In 1967 the Type 34 Karmann Ghia was also introduced, which was larger, a similar yet different design, and had a more powerful engine.
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As seen on the FuelEconomy.gov website, the City/Highway MPG averages are as follows:
Engine and TransmissionEdit
The Engine and Transmission of the Karmann Ghia were identical to the Beetle. All sported a 4 speed manual or a 3 speed clutchless "Autostick" transmission, mated to a H-type flat 2+2 4 cylinder engine. Sizes ranged from a 32hp 1100cc engine in 1955 to a 48hp 1500cc, introduced in 1968.
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Since the Karmann Ghia was built with a small engine but with sporty looks, it was marketed in both Europe and the United States as "the slowest sports car you'll ever own" and was backed tremendously by the reliability and ease of maintenance of a Beetle.
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The Karmann Ghia was built in both Wolfsburg, Germany, and in Brazil. It was sold all over Europe, in the United States, and in South America. It was always known as the Karmann Ghia in all countries.
Design quirks and odditiesEdit
Even though it was built on the Beetle chassis, it was actually 7 inches wider, so the floors are not interchangable. The VW Thing used the same floors as the Karmann Ghia. Unlike the Beetle, the Ghia's body was welded as a uniform peice, using English Pewter to fill in gaps. Doors, the hood, and the decklid were added later. Convertible, or Cabriolets, had a reinforcement bar in the heater channels to compensate for the lack of roof support. Many people point out the similarities between the design of the Karmann Ghia and the 1953 Chrysler D'Elegance. This is likely because Karmann Coachworks designed that car as well.
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