Classic Car Overview
1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia The Karmann-Ghia started off as a show car Virgil Exner designed for Chrysler, called the DElegance. Chrysler and the Italian coach builder and design house Ghia had a partnership in the 1950s, the result of which was a number of collaborative show and concept cars. One of these, designed in 1952 by Exner and built by Ghia, was known as the DElegance. Then came Volkswagen. VW had been mildly interested in a sportier version, of the Beetle, but hadnt been impressed with the ideas their longtime convertible-building partner, Karmann, had come up with. So, Karmann reached out to Ghia to see if they had any great ideas, and Ghia looked over to the corner of their workshop and saw the forlorn DElegance and said Well, now that you mention it... And the rest as they say is history! For consignment the beneficiary of a total body restoration in the early 1990s, and still retaining its Italian design spit shine, a 1971 Karmann Ghia. This sports car version from Volkswagen comes to our halls all buttoned up and running like a new car. It looks the part as well bathed in Lemon Yellow, and a very nice interior. VW at its best with the sports car genre ready for the taking, just fall in love, pay the price and turn the key...auf wiederschen! Exterior The closest thing you can get to a Porsche 356, and actually handmade due to the body being made of entirely one piece. Yes, save for the doors, all panels were shaped then welded together then hand sanded down to the shape you see. This one is painted in Lemon Yellow, and the door gaps are straight, however the remainder of the car is just smooth curves. Nice chromed accenting with the bumpers, badging, small grille openings, and a dual lower trim strip, are all mirror like finished. Black surrounds for the windows and glass is excellent and all clear. Steel drilled wheels are all around and are topped with VW badged moon caps. Schnell! Schnell! Interior The interior is just beautiful with a touch of customization to add to the mystique. This in the form of a gray carpet matching covered custom fabricated shift cover, storage, and cupholder box that fits nicely over the hump, and meanders under the curved wood veneered walnut dash above. Speaking of the dash, the walnut dash front is just perfect, as are all the inserts gauges, knobs and lights. A small black padded dash top is seen above, and is also very nice, no cracks or fading. Fronting this beautiful dash is a wood rimmed steering wheel with the Wolfsberg castle emblem in the center. Black vinyl seats are in buckets upfront, and a bench in the rear. These float in pristine gray carpet, and are framed by nice black vinyl covered simplistic door panels and rear side panels. A tight perforated vinyl headliner is seen above and is near perfection. Drivetrain As with any VW you need to pop the boot to see the power plant, so we did! Here we were met with a very well-done restoration on the 4-cylinder air cooled engine. No corrosion or rust, not even much dust back here just clean all working with each other parts. A 1-barrel Solex carburetor is feeding the 4 cylinders, and power goes to a 3-speed AutoStick transmission (this is a vacuum operated automatic clutch). A 3.76 rear axle ratio is noted for this drivetrain. Undercarriage Still well intact with no rust is the unibody frame which uses the floorpans and central panel along with some steel tubing as the structure, and it is all solid. No rust just nicely painted black steel. Some of the underbody is seen and is painted yellow like the top side. Various under the engine parts are polished and oil free, looking much like new. Independent coil springs for the front, and independent rear suspension provides the ride and handling. Disc brakes are upfront, and drums are installed on the rear. Exhaust system is short but sweet in condition. Drive-Ability TV ads of the day shows a Ghia speeding down beach stating the VW Karmann This is the most economical sports car you can buy , then in the end it tries to break through a paper barrier and fails, with the announcer saying its just not the most powerful After a quick start, this proved to be true, although it has snappy acceleration for its size, shifts beautifully, and cruises fairly quietly. A low to the ground sports car feel is exhilarating and provides a positive experience overall. All is working for the controls. A great example with a fine earlier restoration still holding up just beautifully. Shiny yellow paint, clean and well-functioning mechanicals, and a slightly customized, clean interior, a great example from 1971. Just ge mt lich keit as they used to say!