1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible (RHD)
Volkswagen's Karmann Ghia was an immensely successful transformation of the humble Beetle into a stylish coupe and was the brainchild of Wilhelm Karmann, whose Osnabruck factory was already building a cabriolet version of the Beetle. The new Volkswagen featured chic styling from Italian design studio Ghia on a modified Beetle floorpan, with a stabiliser added to improve handling. This, along with the superior aerodynamics of the sleeker bodywork, allowed the Karmann Ghia to perform quite respectably and, in keeping with the coachbuilt nature of the new model, the interior was better equipped than its Beetle cousin. The original Type 14 Karmann Ghia remained in production until 1973, by which time some 300,000 had been made and developments mirrored the Beetle. From 1960, a full-synchromesh gearbox and more powerful 34 bhp engine were adopted, then came the 1300cc engine in 1965 and, a year later, the 1600cc motor from the Super Beetle was introduced. At the same time, dual circuit brakes with front discs improved stopping power and in 1970 the 1.6-litre engine was further worked over to give a decent 50 bhp and a big jump in performance. Along the way Volkswagen built the desirable cabriolet version, with a clever folding hood and these proved particularly popular in warm climates like California. Practical, affordable and very cool, the Karmann Ghia has always been popular with enthusiasts seeking a stylish European coupe without the high running costs.