A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
The Type 14 (Karmann Ghia) debuted at the October 1953 Paris Auto Show as a styling concept created for Ghia by Luigi Segre. In the early 1950s, Volkswagen was just producing the Type 1 (Beetle), but with an increase in post-war living standards, executives at Volkswagen proposed adding a halo car to its model range, contracting with German coachbuilder Karmann for its manufacture. Karmann, in turn, contracted the Italian firm Ghia who adapted styling themes previously explored for Chrysler and Studebaker to a Beetle floor pan widened by 300mm. The Type 14 was marketed as a practical and stylish 2+2 rather than as a true sports car. As they shared engines, the Type 14's engine displacement grew concurrently with the Type 1 (Beetle), ultimately arriving at a displacement of 1584cc, producing 60 hp. Presented here is a 1967 Karmann-Ghia coupe that takes its design brilliance and builds on it. The Karmann-Ghia has always had a strong following with customisers and this example has to be seen to be believed - or even better driven. It is a one-off project overseen by the owner of well-renowned Danish customiser 'Mawelo Custom Car'. The car was built for him to own and enjoy, and no element of its enhancement has been compromised. As a result, the final build cost would have been prohibitive for most normal buyers. The general impression is firstly of a very, very clean Karmann-Ghia. The body and paintwork are truly stunning and no Karmann ever left the factory looking quite like this. Mawelo left very little as original and a seemingly minor detail like the bumpers are now small pieces of metalwork art in themselves, being blended in, instead of bolted on, and the craftsmanship is impeccable. The quality and attention to detail permeates throughout the car. The cockpit appears full of upgrades but these have been executed very discretely and are included more for functionality rather than purely for looks. Heated seats? Yes, even that is now a Karmann-Ghia feature. This Ghia draws heavily on Porsche parts and now features fully adjustable suspension, Fuchs alloy-wheels and Porsche brakes. This process has not just been done for aesthetics but with real engineering integrity, and the car performs and handles very well on road and track. The same amount of thought has gone into the engine. The 2.4-litre, flat-four has been built by Oratech and puts out 170 BHP. Amazingly it does so with total tractability, relying on good engineering and product selection to make the most of the familiar technology set-up, including the ubiquitous large Weber carburettors, and the resulting power is fed through a brand new 'pro-street' gearbox which can easily withstand the torque. It's difficult to describe this car adequately. It's not a restoration, although it has definitely been well restored. It's not a 'Custom Car' although every detail has effectively been customised. We think it's best described as 'One man's dream'. The car is Danish registered and ready to enjoy.