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Who would have thought that a graceful, sporty 2-seater would be born from the utilitarian Volkswagen Beetle? Yet here it is, complete with a performance engine that brings this platform to life!
The graceful lines, the muscular curved rear fenders, and the slender pillars that make the roof almost look like it's floating are all hallmarks of '60s design. This one has been freshened as needed, with a repaint in the early 2000's that's starting to show a little age but still shines beautifully. The blue color is a shade lighter than the original color but still one of the most recognizable selections used on the Karmann Ghia. The sheet metal is in good condition, with decent gaps and a feeling of solidity not always found in a car in this price range. The chrome bumpers are in nice shape, and the trim pieces shine up well, making this a car that still draws attention wherever it goes.
The white and gray cloth and vinyl seats look upscale and are comfortable. It's not quite stock, but the look isn't too far from the original. The dash is lower than on a Beetle, featuring three gauge pods housing the speedometer, fuel gauge, and clock. The carpets were replaced at some point in the past, and there's a small 2+2 back seat. Custom door panels match the seats, so it all has a very consistent look, and even the white boot on the shifter lends a bright custom twist. There's an updated AM/FM/iPod stereo head unit in the dash and the forward trunk is furnished with a reproduction carpet mat and a full-sized spare.
Power comes from a fresh 2275cc air-cooled flat four engine from Chico Performance Racing, and the sound is instantly recognizable. Performance is downright impressive in the lightweight Karmann Ghia coupe, and the engine compartment is well detailed with lots of new parts. There are twin carburetors, new wiring, a fresh generator, custom pulleys, and air cleaners that really make it look finished. The engine likes to run and there's a fair amount of torque at any speed. The 4-speed manual transmission shifts well, and the brakes are firm and easy to modulate. Custom aluminum wheels add to its sporty look.
In March of 2018, Gator Motorsport freshened the car with the following work:
- Replaced horn ring and both horn boots so horn works properly
- Installed Stock shifter kit, Shifter coupler kit and Shift rod bushings
- Fabricated a new battery tray and hold down
- Replaced rear brake drums
- Flushed and adjusted brakes
- Replaced internal headlight components
- Replaced fuel door release handle
- Adjusted throttle linkage, adjusted carbs and reset timing
- Checked and tightened all exhaust bolts
- Re-clocked wipers to sit in proper position
- Replaced driver side seatbelt
- Performed full detail, including wet sanding and buffing
- Four new tires
I purchased the vehicle in April of 2019. During the summer I rarely drove the car. Late summer, I noticed the starter seemed like it was on its last leg and I felt the engine may have been down on power. I took the Ghia to Watson's Auto Care, a local VW air-cooled specialist. Jeff at Watson’s informed me the compression was too high for a Chico engine at 13.2 to 1. I told him to keep it as long as he needed and to make it right.
In March of 2020 I spent $4,000 ensuring vehicle is in top running condition.
Watson Auto Care completed the following services:
- New Valve Guides
- New Carb Kit
- New Pistons and Cylinders
- New Gasket Set
- New Push Tubes
- New Rear Main Bearing (double lip)
- Oil / Filter Change
- New Plug Wire Set
- New Spark Plugs
- New Crank Case Hose
- New Set of 44mm Weber Carburetors
- New Starter
- New Autocraft Rockers (1.5)
- Compression 9 to 1
- New Right Rear Lamp Cover (due to discoloration)
- New Front Lamp Cover (due to discoloration)
Since picking up the car, she runs like a bat out of hell. Can’t believe how easy she fires up and the header and exhaust sounds as it should, menacing. Vehicle has been inspected and services are up to date. At this time, the radio doesn’t work. I didn't have interest to see it operate as I'd never use it.
Comes with service copies and Indiana title.
Please consider this an invitation to visit MOTORVAULT! If you have any questions or wish for more information about this vehicle or any other vehicle, please do not hesitate to call Brian Henry @ 317-270-3061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org