Saturday, May 10, 2014

Volkswagen Type 14 Karmann Ghia (1955–1974)

The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a sports car marketed in 2+2 coupé (1955–1974) and convertible (1957–1974) body styles by Volkswagen. The Karmann Ghia combined the chassis and mechanicals of the Type 1 (Beetle) with styling by Luigi Segre of the Italian carrozzeria Ghia and hand-built bodywork by the German coach-builder Karmann.

The Karmann Ghia was internally designated the Type 14. In contrast to the Beetle's machine welded-body with bolt-on fenders, the Karmann Ghia's body panels were butt-welded, hand-shaped and smoothed with English pewter in a time-consuming process commensurate with higher-end manufacturers – and resulting in the Karmann Ghia's higher price. As they shared the 4-cylinder engines, the Type 14's engine displacement grew concurrently with the Type 1 (Beetle), ultimately arriving at a displacement of 1584 cc, producing 60 hp (45 kW). Volkswagen later introduced a variant in 1961, the Type 34, featuring angular bodywork and based on the newly introduced Type 3 platform.

The design and prototype were well received by Volkswagen executives, and in August 1955the first Type 14 was manufactured in Osnabrück, Germany. Public reaction to the Type 14 exceeded expectations, and more than 10,000 were sold in the first year.

In August 1957, Volkswagen introduced a convertible version of the Karmann Ghia. Exterior changes in 1961 included wider and finned front grilles, taller and more rounded rear taillights and headlights relocated to a higher position – with previous models and their lower headlight placement called lowlights. 

In 1970, larger taillights integrated the reversing lights and larger wrap-around turn signals. Still larger and wider taillights increased side visibility and at the same time large square-section bumpers replaced the smooth round originals. For the USA model only, 1973 modifications mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) included energy-absorbing bumpers. A carpeted package shelf replaced the rear seat.

More than 445,000 Karmann Ghias were produced in Germany over the car's production life. Karmann Brazil produced 41,600 cars locally for South America between 1962 and 1975. (wikipedia)

1957-1969 models

1970-1974 models

(Photos from

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