Spotted! Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

    Now here is a car that I can bet 90% of you reading this have never seen in real life; the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. In my opinion, it’s just goofy enough that you don’t immediately recognize it, but also unique enough where you have to stop what you’re doing and check it out.

    This VW also has a neat little story that I had to do a healthy amount of research to figure out. I’ll try to keep it short but bear with me on some of the model name mumbo jumbo!

    The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was built from 1955 – 1974 and was built because, to be frank, people were getting a little bored with the (Type 1) Beetle. The first run of Karmann Ghias, the Type 14, was from 1955 – 1961 and shared a lot of the same DNA with the Type 1 Beetle. VW basically had the Italian company Ghia redesign the Beetle and the German company Karmann manufacture it. Since America was the biggest importer/exporter for cars at the time, we immediately imported the Karmann Ghia and it was the most popular import car of its time; more so than the Type 1 Beetle.

    The next round of Karmann Ghias, the Type 34, was built from 1961 – 1974 and was not imported into America. The Type 34 had a new nose, tail, and had VW’s new 1500cc flat-engine. They were much more rare than the Type 14 and ones you see in America were likely imported from Canada. Since they were not available to buy directly in America, sales fizzled out by 1974 and the Porsche 914 became it’s successor.

    And that’s my longest story for a “Spotted” car to date! Whew!

    Source 1: Veloce Publishing

    Source 2: Petrolicious

    Chris Berke
    I am the founder and editor of Short Shift. My obsession with wanting to drive every car ever made me build a website so I could share my experiences with the world. I love cars, traveling, and my cats, Henry and Winston.


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