Monday, July 22, 2013

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia: Three types.

The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a sports car marketed in both 2+2 coupe (1955–1974) and convertible (1957–1974) body styles. It combined the chassis and mechanics of the Type 1 (Beetle)styling by Luigi Segre of the Italiancarrozzeria Ghia and hand-built bodywork by the German coach-builder KarmannThe Karmann Ghia was internally designated as Type 14 followed by a 1961 variant, the Type 34, featuring angular bodywork and based on the newly introduced Type 3 platform.
There are actually three types of Karmann Ghias.  Commonly known is the Type 1 (Type 14) Ghia; lesser known is the Type 3 (Type 34, razor-edge, or European Ghia); and the least known, Karmann Ghia TC (the Brazilian Ghia). The Type 1 KG's are known worldwide while the Type 3 KG's are a little more scarce. The Karmann Ghia TC was made in Brazil, for Brazil, and was never exported. 

Karmann Ghia Type 1 (1956-1974)- 

The Italian designed unibody construction and German craftsmanship makes the Type 1 a timeless work of art. It was built virtually unaltered from 1955 to 1974 where a total of approximately 340,000 coupés and 81,000 convertibles were manufactured in Osnabrück in the north of Germany. 14,000 Type 1 Karmann Ghias were also produced in Brazil. 

Karmann Ghia Type 3 (1961-1970)

1966 VW Type 34 in Melbourne, Australia
The Type 3 Karmann Ghia was the second model of Ghia produced in mid 1961 till July 1970. A total of 42,505 Type 3 Coupes were built at the Karmann factory which were sold and serviced by VW dealerships around the world. They were originally intended for the American market but they were never exported to the USA which explains the similarities in the Type 3 Ghia and the Chevy Corvair. The major changes were in 1964 (dual carburetor domed-piston engine), 1967 (12 volt electrical system), and 1968 (IRS suspension & automatic transmission). The Type 34 is considered to be a rare model today, with less than 2500 existing worldwide. 

Karmann Ghia TC (1972-1975)

Unknown to many, Brasil produced a Karmann Ghia from 1972 to 1975. The American market considered that the athletic character of the small cut typical Type 14 was not enough asserted to the eyes of several consumers. So Karmann Ghia had VW of Brazil build a more athletic model, on the basis of the Type 3 and more or less inspired Porsche 911, the Karmann-Ghia TC (Touring Coupe). 

The Karmann Ghia TC is thought of as a Type 3 Fastback Karmann Ghia. Only the ventilations on the nose panel, the logo on the rear deck lid, and the rounded characteristics of the fenders recall the original shape of the Type 14.  To the back can be seen the original four series of cooling vents placed to the very rear of the wide decklid. The turn signals are very wide and comply to the requirements of 1970. The oversized Karmann Ghia logo is placed horizontally on the left side of the cover motor. The smaller TC logo is positioned on the opposite side. The motor is a 1600 cc originating from the pancake style of the Type 3. Added performance was obtained by the adoption of a horizontal cooling system and by the addition of two Solex 32 PSI carburetors, which was what placed the TC to the same level motorization as the Type34 of the European market. 

The Karmann Ghia TC was never officially distributed to the USA. The only inventoried copy in Europe is preserved in the private Museum of Karmann in Osnabrück.

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