2016 Shannons Melbourne Late Summer Classic Auction

1961 Volkswagen Karman Ghia Coupe




Engine Flat 4-cylinder, 1200cc
Gearbox 4-speed manual
Body Work Coupe
Colour Sea Blue & White
Interior White & Grey
Trim Vinyl & Cloth
Wheels Steel disc
Brakes Drums


This lot is no longer available

The brainchild of Wilhelm Karmann, whose Osnabrück factory was already building a cabriolet version of the Beetle, Volkswagen’s Karmann Ghia was an immensely successful transformation of the humble People’s Car into a stylish coupe. Featuring chic styling from the Italian design studio Ghia, the new model had wide appeal, offering exotic looks without the matching price tag. The Beetle platform was modified to suit the new coachwork, with a stabiliser bar added to improve handling. This, along with the superior aerodynamics of the sleeker bodywork, allowed the Karmann Ghia to perform quite respectably, with a higher top speed and better acceleration. In keeping with the coachbuilt nature of the new model, the interior was more luxurious and dominated by the central clock. The Type 14 Karmann Ghia remained in production until 1973, by which time some 300,000 had been made and technical developments mirrored the Beetle. Following on from the original model in 1955, there was a minor facelift in 1959 with relocated headlamps and larger air intakes on the nose, followed by the adoption of a full-synchromesh gearbox and more powerful 34 horsepower engine. The Karmann Ghia was first sold in Australia in 1959, initially converted from left to right-hand drive at the local assembly facility in Clayton, Victoria but sales here were always in tiny numbers. Practical, affordable and very cool, the Karmann Ghia has long been popular with collectors and good examples like the vehicle offered here are always in high demand.