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1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. When we had the quasi-abandoned '70 Karmann Ghia last month, I got a flood of emails from rusty-state readers who were aghast that such a rare car would be allowed to go to The Crusher. Thing is, Karmann Ghias aren't at all rare around here; I've been passing today's car- which is located just a few blocks from my house- for months and months, figuring I'd get around to shooting it one of these days. And here it is!

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Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia


This one might not be a '74, but the bumpers place it somewhere in the Malaise Era. It's a Beetle under the skin, but for some crazy reason the sporty Karmann Ghia actually weighs more than the utilitarian Beetle: 1,919 versus 1,831 pounds. Both cars got the 46-horsepower 1600 engine. Yes, US emission-control regulations were tough on the air-cooled VW.

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Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia


The price tag on the Karmann Ghia was pretty nice for a convertible: $3,935. Still, that was 10 bucks more than the 78.5-horse '74 MGB, and $970 more than a Triumph Spitfire. Wait, was the Spitfire really that cheap, or is the Standard Catalog mistaken?

Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
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Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
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Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
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Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
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Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
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Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Illustration for article titled 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
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DISCUSSION

orlove
Raphael Orlove

As my family has grown acquainted to my life growing ever-more auto-centric, I've started to hear more from my folks about cars of their past. Dad had a Rabbit diesel and mom had a first-gen red Tercel. She said she could have either bought that car or a Karmann Ghia. i don't quite know what to think about this. What do you guys think? On the one hand, Karmann Ghias are cool. i remember a lime green one that parked across the Junior High bike racks that I spent many an afternoon staring at. On the other hand, perhaps this car would have rusted to a heap, broken down in minutes, required constant servicing, or something of the like. Mom would've been broke, would've been so busy she'd hardly have time for dad, and, well, the prospects aren't all that good for a couple of bouncing kids to fill up the house. bad news for me. That leaves her with the plain-jane front-driver Toyota bought only for its reliability. In a way it's kind of cool, but I'm not about to drool over it like the 70s three-door Corolla 10 minutes from my house. On the other hand, it was reliable and trundled along with three kids in the back. Was the lack of an air-cooled thrum a painful loss to my house, or a blessing in disguise?