It's much better! You see, Giorgetto Giugiaro started experimenting with a replacement for the Karmann Ghia not long after the Type 34 was introduced in 1961. This open-top wonder came a decade later.

Named the Cheetah, just like Lamborghini's unfortunate military project, this concept was born three years after Giugiaro left Ghia to start his own studio, Italdesign. Based on the Beetle with a 1.6-liter boxer producing 50 horsepower at best, the Cheetah was created without Karmann's help, although the soft top which could be hidden between the seats was their design.

Pop-up headlamps and lots of sunshine wasn't enough to convince Volkswagen, so Giugiaro's car never make it into production, but a year after its debut at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, Bertone came out with the production version of the Fiat X1/9.


The Karmann Ghia was eventually replaced by the Porsche 914 and the Volkswagen Scirocco.


Hat tip to Jason! Photo Credit: Italdesign