Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Reviews

1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia 1.6 dual port from North America

Model year1971
Year of manufacture1971
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2014
Engine and transmission 1.6 dual port Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10

Summary:

Fun to drive and be seen in

Faults:

I bought my Ghia as a "Fixer" car, so quite a bit was wrong with it. It was running when I bought it, but just barely. Despite a leaky fuel pump, needing a carb rebuild, ripped CVC boot, bad tie rod ends, WAAAAYYY out of spec. valve clearances, etc. etc. I was able to drive the car 1100 miles from where I bought it (Portland, OR to Los Angeles) to bring it back home. As with any old VW, it takes a lot to kill it.

I've been restoring it for the last two years, and have found that you get what you pay for in terms of parts. I bought a cheap Brazilian replacement fuel pump, which promptly fell to pieces four months later. I bought a cheaper wooden header bow for the convertible roof, and found that it doesn't fit quite right.

Rust is a real issue with these cars. Replacement body panels can be easily found online, but I have yet to find out what a body shop will charge for the work.

General Comments:

I'm somewhat mechanically inclined, but had no real experience working on cars. I've found the Ghia lends itself very well to the home mechanic. Parts are readily available online and at local VW parts shops. Although my skills and tools are limited, I have been able to do a great deal of the work on this car - carpeting, drive axles, wiring, valve adjustments, rebuild rear seat.

I drive a late model Sentra as my daily driver and although the Sentra is more capable in every way, braking, accelerating, cornering, ride quality, noise level, gas mileage, it is the Ghia that gets the looks, the comments, the thumbs up, the conversations. It is also the Ghia that I am proud of, because with limited skills and tools, I have been able to bring mine back from the brink of the junkyard.

No one ever asks me if my Sentra is for sale, but I frequently get people asking if I'll part with my Ghia. NO, NO, NO!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th March, 2014

1966 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Coupe 1.3 from North America

Model year1966
Year of manufacture1965
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 1 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.5 / 10
Distance when acquired31276 miles
Most recent distance33000 miles

Summary:

One of the most beautiful cars ever built

Faults:

None yet, but it needs a few fixes to make it perfect.

General Comments:

I have wanted a Ghia since I was a kid. In my opinion, it has one of the most beautiful and distinct body styles of any automobile, ever.

It is slow as can be, but is still so fun to drive. I get waves and thumbs up wherever I go. It is truly a classic. If able, get one and you will love it forever. I will never sell this car.

I have an 87 Porsche 911 wide body convertible, and in many ways I like the VW more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th November, 2012

25th Nov 2012, 12:42

I have owned several Karmann Ghias thoughout my life. 2 '65s, a '68, and a '71, all in varying degrees of condition. I got my 1st speeding ticket in my step-father's '58 at age 16. He had a Pinto carb on it! These little cars are a one of a kind experience, and I dearly miss not having one anymore. I'm seeing them in mint restored condition going for 12K (now in 2012). Wish I'd kept ALL of mine.

25th Nov 2012, 19:20

I bought a new KG Convert in Germany, when discharged from the US Army. Kirsch Rot, (literally, Cherry Red - a deep Red, but not Maroon,) with Black fabric top and Black vinyl interior. I added whitewall tires, chrome trim rings and an optional, wood-grained steering wheel. Approximately $2,300. I loved the car, and the Army shipped it back to the US for me. Driving it on the Autobahn was no thrill, since it couldn't stay ahead of the big Benzes and Beemers, but it was fun trying. On small, secondary roads, it was really pleasant, economical, stylish and very comfortable for a 6'2" guy.

After marrying and moving to St Louis, where my new wife had a job in the inner-city ghetto, we sold it with about 17k on it, to be able to buy an air conditioned Pontiac, so she could keep the doors locked and windows up. I still regret that necessity.

27th Nov 2012, 10:49

I bought a 63 in High School. Cute car; even liked the ivory look knobs.

My parents bought a 1960 Black MGA new, so it was interesting to see as a pair. I wish I'd got my hands on the 60 MGA, as its styling looks the best, even today. My dad sold the MGA for 900 used, now valued at 30k, and I sold my 63 for 300 in the early 70s. Not sure of its value today.

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 12 reviews