Here’s How Much A Classic Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Is Worth Today

Planning to buy this old gem? Here’s everything you need to know about the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

Back in 2007, Volkswagen kickstarted the “Das Auto” campaign. The German automakers introduced the tagline “Das Auto” in a bid to establish themselves as “the car company”. The message was very clear. Volkswagen wanted to make it clear that they are here to dominate. However, a few years later, the German automobile giant decided to drop the “Das Auto” slogan. They felt the brand needed to show “humility” and the “Das Auto” tagline comes across as pretentious. Whether or not the famous tagline is pretentious is up for debate, however, what’s not up for debate is the German company’s rich history when it comes to classic cars. And one such classic beast is the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was a sports car marketed in 2+2 coupe (from 1955 to 1974) and 2+2 convertible (from 1957 to 1974) body styles by Volkswagen. One of the most successful sports cars of all time, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia holds the distinction of making legendary American industrial designer, Walter Dorwin Teague’s list of the world’s most beautifully designed products.

Planning to buy this old gem? Here’s everything you need to know about the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

The Brainchild Of An Epic Collaboration

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The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a special car in many ways. To begin with, it’s a brainchild of a number of three companies and a number of individuals. And each one of them had viable reasons to contribute towards the making of this classic gem. Volkswagen wanted to add a halo model to their line of vehicles. Italian automotive designer, Luigi Segre, was keen on expanding the international reputation of Carrozzaria Ghia. And Wilhelm Karmann had taken over his family coachbuilding firm Karmann and was eager to augment his contracts building Volkswagen’s convertible models. And thus a legend was born – and if it wasn’t evident enough, the collaboration also explains the name of this classic beauty – Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (Volkswagen + Karmann + Ghia). Both Segre and Wilhelm Karmann often met at international automobile shows, and the latter prompted a discussion to build a prototype model out of the VW Beetle. The car was obtained secretly through Italian Car Designer Felice Mario Boano’s son, Gian Paolo – who purchased the rare Type-I Beetle in Paris and drove it back to Turin. Ghia then built the prototype model in about 5 months and presented it to Karmann, who was impressed and wanted to get the prototype into production so that the car models could be presented to Volkswagen. The yet-to-be-named sports car eventually got Volkswagen’s approval in November 1953 and made its debut (as the VW Karmann Ghia) at the 1955 Paris and Frankfurt auto shows. The rest, as they say, is history. We are surprised we haven’t seen a Netflix original based on the VW Karmann Ghia’s origin yet. It would make a blockbuster viewing for both automobile lovers and neutrals alike.

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Legendary Production Numbers

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After receiving VW’s approval, the Karmann Ghia went into production, first at Ghia, and then in Osnabruck. What followed were unheard of production numbers (exceeding 450,000) and a run of 19 years without any major changes. The VW Karmann Ghia was marketed as a practical and stylish 2+2 rather than as an out and out sports car. Unlike the Beetle, the Karmann Ghia’s body panels were butt-welded, hand-shaped, and smoothened with English pewter. Despite sharing the same engine as the Beetle, the displacement of the Karmann Ghia, was considerably higher at 1584cc, capable of producing 61 PS (60 hp). The car was considerably lighter 1,808 lbs. Arguably, one of the short-comings of the VW Karmann Ghia was its speed/acceleration. Though not marketed as an out and out sports car, a top speed of around 90 miles per hour left a lot to desire if you prefer the adrenaline rush. It took the Karmann Ghia about 26 seconds to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour. Let’s just put it this way: if the VW Karmann Ghia was up in a race against a bicycle, we wouldn’t be too confident about the VW classic winning the race. However, the not-so-impressive speed attributes didn’t stop this retro beauty from becoming the most imported car to the USA in a very short period of time.

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Type 34

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In 1957, VW Karmann Ghia got its first convertible version, featuring a wider and finned front grille, taller and smoothly curved tail-lights, and relocated headlights. These re-stylings were overseen by Sergio Sartorelli, who also designed the Type 34. Also known as the VW 1500 Karmann Ghia, Type 34 was based on the Type 3 platform. It was initially introduced in 1961 but was often confused with Type 14 (the initial Karmann Ghia model). As such, the company reintroduced it in 1967 and named it the “Der Grobe Karmann” (the big Karmann) in Germany, “European Ghia” in the USA, and “Razor Edge Ghia” in the UK. Type 34 became only the second car in the world to offer electrical sliding sun-roofs, back in the day. Other new features included were electric clocks, additional luggage space, built-in fog lights, door pads, and armrests.

If you are lucky enough, you should be able to buy a VW Karmann Ghia model at a price of less than $15,000. The price would of course depend on the condition of the model you purchase. The better the condition of the classic model you wish to buy, the higher its price and value.

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