Tuesday, October 27, 2015

VW Karmann Ghia: Sexy secrets at 60 years old

This white 1966 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia project had a price of $1800 on the windshield.

Secrets? What kind of secrets could the wholesome guys at Junkyard Life have? Dirty little secrets, that we don’t want anyone to know about, that’s what! An innocent appearing lady that stole our hearts and risks our dignity. 
  A woman named Karmann, that we didn’t want to tell you about. She just turned sixty-years-old and she’s still sexy.
  Oh, the pangs.

This orange 1972 Ghia needs a new home. I would like to offer up mine.

Everybody wants one?
  Karmann Ghia was a proud product of Volkswagen. The first 1956 models, introduced in August of 1955, were the stylish combination of Italian design (Ghia) and German coach building (Karmann). Thus, the Karmann Ghia was born. They were built a bit more costly, therefore increasing the sticker price, compared to the mass produced Beetle.
  Ghias sold well, despite their higher cost. Even now, demand for the VWs with the Porsche-like styling is high. Every one of the Junkyard Life affiliates that we have befriended wants one. Except me (Ron). I want two.

This Karmann Ghia coupe (we’re guessing 1970-74 era) was a service vehicle, judging by the faded paint on the doors. That’s how you know you called the right place!

 Rebel without a cause
  ’Tis true, ’tis true – we love the Porsche-like styling, reminding us of James Dean and the wheels for which he died. We know Karmann Ghias are not Porsches, but who can deny the relationship between the two? How can anyone look at this car and not see a late 50’s Porsche? 

Pretty maids all in a row. I just stood there.

No foreign objects followed us home
   Unfortunately, we did not bring any of these home (yet). We happened upon this vintage Volkswagen dealer in Georgia. Most of the cars in the inventory did not fit into our Junkyard Life – but then, there they were. All in a row. As if waiting for me to adopt. How could a closet Ghia fan casually pass by this cavalcade of Karmann treasure?

Ron Kidd 
— Junkyard Life 

My future Amber colored 1972 model parked next to a beautiful Adriatic or Pastel Blue 1970 Ghia. My pictures did not turn out on that one. Going back for more pictures will only increase the chances of it coming home with me. You can’t expect me to separate them, can you?

This white 1966 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia project had a price of $1800 on the windshield.

Ron’s Karmann Ghia Fun Facts:
  • These cars are cool. We want one.
  • Sometimes referred to as “Beetle in a sports coat” or “The poor man’s sports car.”
  • Even though the throwback design on the New Beetle has been a huge hit with Baby Boomers, VW has no plans to re-introduce the Karmann Ghia design with modern touches.
  • Drivers of Karmann Ghias haven’t changed much as far as the fun and practical crowd that they traditionally attract.
  • Production numbers for Karmann Ghias reached a total of 445,238 cars during their 1956-1974 run
  • 80,837 were convertibles, labeled as “Cabriolets”. Even though it can get very cold in Germany, they still love the drop tops.

Vintage photo of my uncle Ted’s Karmann Ghia, circa 1968. You don’t suppose his car is still laying around here anywhere, do you? Just checking. Never hurts to ask.

Junkyard Life has discovered some VW mystery colors. The red paint, on the Ghia on the right, looks closer to Sunset paint than it does the Cherry Red color, which makes more visual sense. This (whichever) red 1968 Ghia was found next to my future 1972 Karmann, which Volkswagen called Amber in their paint listings. (Ron Kidd note: Amber is the color of your energy.)

Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Tips for our projects? 
Send emails to Jody Potter at or Ron Kidd at

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