The VW Beetle was among the most versatile platforms in history, and this slick 1965 VW Karmann-Ghia is a great opportunity to own an icon. Who would have thought that a graceful, upscale 2-seater would be born from the utilitarian, functional Beetle? Yet here it is, and if recent trends are any indicator, these cars will lead the VW market into the future.
The bottom line is that the Karmann-Ghia looks like a million bucks, in pretty much every color on the planet. The graceful lines, the muscular curved rear fenders, and the slender pillars that make the roof almost look like it\'s floating are all masterstrokes of \'60s design. This one has been freshened as needed, with a repaint several years ago that\'s starting to show its age a little around the edges, but still maintains a heck of a curb presence that really turns heads. The somewhat unique shade of Silver on the car is one of the less archetypal selections used on the Karmann-Ghia, but that\'s exactly why we love it – it somehow manages to be both flashy and low-key at the exact same time. The sheetmetal is in good condition, with good gaps and a surprising feeling of solidity for a car in this price range. The slender chrome bumpers are in nice shape too, and all the unique trim pieces shine up well, making this a car that still draws appreciative stares wherever it goes.
The Ghia designers also did a great job disguising the Beetle\'s interior appointments, and the tan vinyl seats look upscale and comfortable, and are really the focal point of the car. The seats are stock-spec and virtually unblemished, the lighter door panels match them nicely, and the warm carpets are very plush and tie the cozy cabin together. The uber-clean black and silver dash is lower than on a Beetle, featuring three gauge pods housing the speedometer, fuel gauge, and clock for a minimalist look we absolutely love. The rear bench seat is finished to the same high level as the front buckets and it folds down to add some storage space, and if we had to list a demerit it would be the original headliner which shows some discoloration in spots, although a Saturday spent well would fix that right up. The original AM radio is long gone, replaced by a newer Pioneer AM/FM/CD head unit, while the original steering wheel and shifter are exactly what you\'d see in 1965. The forward trunk is neatly finished with painted panels, carpets, and a full-size spare tire and jack set that may even be the original.
Power comes from VW\'s erstwhile 1300 cc air-cooled flat four engine, and the sound is instantly recognizable. Performance is good in the lightweight Karmann-Ghia coupe, and it\'s great to see an engine compartment that\'s been beautifully detailed with painted and polished components that really pop out from the silver pans. Despite the brightly colorful pieces, if you look closely you\'ll see that the actual equipment is mostly stock spec, including the single carb set-up, the straightforward air cleaner assembly, correct ignition components and upgraded battery. Excellent maintenance means that everything is clean and tidy under the rear deck, and VW\'s reputation for reliability is earned the old-fashioned way: by being reliable. The 4-speed manual transmission shifts about as well as a VW can, and the brakes are firm and easy to modulate. Standard painted VW wheels with shiny hubcaps give it a sporty demeanor, and thanks to its light weight and modest size, those 165/80/15 radials deliver decent grip and a smooth ride.
VW fans are rightly proud of the Karmann-Ghia, and we see the market for these cars heating up. This one is very affordable as it is and with a bit of effort, could easily be taken to the next level. Call today!
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