Volkswagen Celebrates 60 Years of the Karmann Ghia, But Won't Revive Brand


  • Karmann Ghia Picture

    Karmann Ghia Picture

    Karmann Ghia. | August 20, 2013

4 Photos

Just the Facts:
  • Volkswagen on Tuesday marked 60 years of the Karmann Ghia, but told Edmunds it has no plans to revive the brand.
  • The Karmann Ghia, sometimes called a "poor person's sports car," was positioned above the Volkswagen Beetle.
  • A one-off prototype of the Karmann Ghia is featured in Volkswagen's Osnabruck Automobile Collection.

WOLFSBURG, Germany — Volkswagen on Tuesday marked 60 years of the Karmann Ghia, but told Edmunds it has no plans to revive the brand.

The Karmann Ghia, sometimes called a "poor person's sports car," was positioned above the Volkswagen Beetle. It enjoyed something of a cult following back in the day, although it never was a serious competitor to cars like the Datsun 240Z of the same era.

VW calls the Karmann Ghia the "Beetle in a sports coat." The car featured a modest engine that delivered just 60 horsepower.

"Thanks to the Karmann Ghia, Volkswagen had a car in the mid-1950s in its lineup that was positioned above the Beetle, allowing the company to appeal to a broader customer base," said Volkswagen in a statement. "It is now 60 years since that prototype was shown internally, on the occasion of the (1953) Paris Motor Show."

The car went into full production in 1955. By the time Karmann Ghia production ended in 1974, 362,601 coupes and 80,881 cabriolets had rolled off the line.

A one-off prototype of the Karmann Ghia is featured in Volkswagen's Osnabruck Automobile Collection. VW says the collection is private, but that the prototype will be shown "on special occasions." One of these will be the 5th Schloss Bensberg Classics September 6-8 in Germany.

Edmunds says: This anniversary makes you wonder why no one has attempted to bring back the Karmann Ghia, a name sure to resonate with Baby Boomers.

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