1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible / Photos and Specs

Volkswagen built and sold the Karmann Ghia between 1955 and 1974. This was VW's offering to the sports car market.

karmann ghia convertible

1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible

Years after the war the standard of living was increasing at a fast pace and VW executives believed a newly styled car was needed for it's lineup.

They didn't have far to look because in the early 1950's Karmann approached Volkswagen with just such an automobile idea. Karmann had worked previously with VW on the Beetle Cabriolet in 1949 and had good access to company management.

The two seat VW Karmann Ghia received an excellent reception from the public. The car by all means was not a powerhouse in the horsepower department but what it lacked in power it made up with it's smart looks. The automobile featured in this article is a beautiful 1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible.

karmann ghia convertibleThe building and styling of this vehicle was accomplished byKarmann and Ghia. One was the Karmann coach builders of Germany, established in 1901, and the other was Italian design and coach building company Ghia. Together they would create a signature car for Volkswagen in both coupe and convertible styles. The convertibles came out in 1957. Volkswagen's plans were that the Karmann Ghia, much different than their popular and historic Beetle, would emerge as their image model.

A Different Volkswagen

When the Karmann Ghia was designed, VW was selling and marketing only the Beetle and the VW Bus. Luigi Segre of the Ghia Studios is credited with the new sports car styling. This styling was the result of a public that was asking for more out of Volkswagen. Segre is also noted for his styling of the Renault Dauphine as well as a Plymouth Explorer concept car.

Volkswagen took longer than normal with their new post World War Two offering but that was quite understandable considering they had to emerge out of the German wreckage of caused by the war.

The Karmann Ghia’s engine was the same as that offered on the VW Beetle, a four cylinder air cooled design. The styling of course was completely new however the Karmann Ghia was built on a Beetle frame. The Karmann Ghia had some advantages over the more boxy Beetle. The Karmann Ghia offered a bit better cornering and better crosswind handling. The more aerodynamic Karmann Ghia was able to go faster than the Beetle by about 9 miles per hour on average.

The car was very appealing. It's swoopy, rounded looks plus excellent construction plus the VW Beetle drivetrain made this little sports car irresistible. The convertible Karmann Ghia's top as built similarly to the Beetle Cabriolet. This meant several layers of insulation and a glass rear window, not plastic.

karmann ghia coupeBetween 1955 and 1974, a total of 443,482 VW Karmann Ghias were produced. Out of that number there were about 80,000 convertible models built. During this long production run there were three types of Karmann Ghia's produced. These were the Type 14, Type 34 and the TC.

1969 Karmann Ghia Specifications

The 1969 model Karmann Ghia's rear mounted engine was a 1493 cc flat four delivering 57 horsepower. The first Karmann Ghia came out in 1955 with 36 horsepower.

Transmission was a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel drum.

The 1969 Karmann Ghia had a wheelbase of 94.5 inches and an overall outside length of 163.0 inches.  The car's weight came in at approximately 2,300 lbs.

New car price for the 1969 Karmann Ghia ranged from about $3,000 to $3,500.

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Karmann Ghia Collector Cars

1969 vw karmann ghia convertible

69 Karmann Ghia dashboard

The Karmann Ghia remains a relatively popular collector car. These were popular automobiles during their production run which lasted a very healthy twenty years. That fact alone shows how well these cars were accepted. The cars lasted well having been built on the sturdy VW Beetle frame.

As of this writing, Karmann Ghia's for sale have solid but certainly not outlandish asking prices. We see a fully restored 1966 coupe model in show quality condition with 90,000 miles with a price tag of $27,000. A 1974 final year Karmann Ghia coupe with limited restoration is priced at $12,000.  Another 1974 model with no restoration work is priced at $7,500. Depending on the miles and degree of restoration, if any, the price range can go from $2,000 to $27,000. Fully restored 1957 convertible models may have the highest asking prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa Convertible / Specs and Photos

Chevy Corvair production began with the 1960 model year and ended with the 1969 model year. The Chevrolet Corvair was a unique American automobile when it was introduced with it's rear end air cooled engine and, what we believe, was a sporty look. VW of course had many years behind it with their air cooled rear engine design technology. Chevrolet on the other hand jumped right into it in 1960 with the Corvair. The Chevrolet Corvair  was listed as a compact vehicle.

1965 chevy corvair corsa

1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa

The Second Generation Corvair

The car featured in this article is the 1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa Convertible and was among the second generation Corvairs.

As many know, the Chevrolet Corvair became a rather controversial automobile due to the publication of Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe at Any Speed" which highlighted Corvair design flaws. Nader's book actually took on the entire American auto industry accusing it of ignoring vehicle safety features to attain greater profits. He accused them of putting out unsafe cars.

In regards to the Chevy Corvair, Nader's primary accusation was that the car was unstable while cornering. It was a suspension issue for the rear engine mounted automobile. Whether Nader's book was spot on or an overly sensational publication, the automobile industry did take note. The Corvair did receive a new suspension system which apparently corrected the cornering problem.

corvair corsa

Front view of the rear engine Corvair Corsa

Chevy Corvair Popularity

Regardless of Ralph Nader's book, the Chevrolet Corvair was an overall popular car. The car was sporty and the convertible models looked terrific.

The Corvair did have it's detractors, mostly those that found the car a bit too foreign looking for their tastes. No doubt, the Chevy Corvair was a radically designed automobile but there were many that took a liking to the little sporty vehicle.

Some may remember that the early Corvairs, starting in 1961, were also produced as wagons, vans, and even a pick up truck design.

A bit over 1.7 million Chevy Corvairs were produced from the 1960 to 69 model years. There were two Chevy Corvair design generations. These were 1960-64 and 1965-69. The first generation Corvairs were basic four-door sedans in "500" and a bit more deluxe "700" trim levels. Standard was the three-speed floorshift manual transmission and as an option a two-speed Powerglide automatic.

The Chevy Corvair Corsa

The Chevrolet Corvair Corsa was offered in two styles. A coupe that cost about $2,500 new and a convertible priced at about $2,700. The Corvair Corsa had the Corvair Monza Spyder's sporty brushed aluminum dashboard along with sports car instrumentation. The interior of the Corsa was upscale and the exterior had sporty accents. The Corvair Corsa also was built with a sports suspension, larger brakes and quicker steering. There also was a turbo engine priced at only $158 extra. The Corvair Corsa model was discontinued in 1967.

Advertising for the 1965 Corvair including the Corsa model stressed the totally new design. Chevy used the slogan " If this one doesn't knock you right off your chair, we can't imagine what would." Chevrolet claimed that this was one of the most dramatic changes to any car. Also that these new 1965 models were longer and lower than the first generation vehicles.

1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa Specifications

Engine for the 1965 Corvair Corsa was a 164 cubic inch six turbo-air delivering 140 HP. The engine had four carburetors.

corvair corsa dashboard

Interior and dashboard on the 65 Corvair Corsa

Transmissions available were a three and four speed manual along with a Powerglide automatic.

The Corsa's wheelbase was 108.0 inches and it's outside overall length was 183.3 inches, the width 69.7 inches and the height 51.6 inches. The curb weight was 2,800 lbs.

During the 1965 model year there were a total number of 28,600 Corvair Corsa models produced.

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The Corvair Like NSU Prinz

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Two books you should find interesting on the Chevrolet Corvair includes...Corvair by Chevrolet : Experimental and Production Cars 1957-1969 by author Karl Ludvigsen....The 1960 to 1969 Corvair by Wayne MacHan and Bill Bruggen.

corvair engines

65 Corvair Corsa engine

 Chevrolet Corvair Collector Cars

The Chevy Corvair's following is pretty impressive. The Corvair is not for everybody but it is an impressive automobile.

There are many Corvair car clubs around the nation. Members generally blanch when Corvair critics call the car unsafe. There are those that feel strongly that the Corvair as never an unsafe vehicle regardless of Ralph Nader's book. Corvair owners relish their underdog status and have a passion for the unusual.

1965 Chevy Corvair asking prices are very reasonable. The Corsa models are more rare in as much as they were only produced in 1965 and 66. As of this writing, prices asked for range from about $6,000 to $29,000 depending on degree of restoration, if any, and mileage and general condition. This price range would apply to fully running Corvairs.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)



Chevy Chevelle Malibu of 1965 / Photos and Specs

The automobile featured in this article is the 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu. Chevy introduced the Chevelle model in 1964 as a mid-sized offering. The Chevy Chevelle was to compete directly against the Ford Fairlane. The higher powered Chevelle V-8's competed mainly against the Pontiac GTO and Ford Torino.

1965 chevelle malibu

65 Chevy Chevelle Malibu

The Chevelle was also Chevrolet's entry into the 60's muscle car battles.The muscle car battle of the 1960's was, in part, an extension of the public's desire for more powerful vehicles for an improved highway system. When you look at total production numbers, muscle car sales was a small fraction of the total but did receive outsized publicity. This publicity likely helped the automaker immensely. Some might call it bragging rights.

General Motors built the Chevelle model in three generations for the 1964 through 1977 model years. The Malibu was the top of the line subseries for the Chevelle.

Chevelle Served a Wide Car Buying Public

The Chevrolet Chevelle, a mid-sized automobile, was available in six body styles and with a choice of six engines. Four straight six and two V-8's were offered. By mid-year 1965, a 396 cubic inch 375 hp big-block was optional. The car appealed to families, businessmen and muscle car enthusiasts, quite a large market.

1965 Chevrolet ChevelleChevy's Chevelle, with it's crisp, clean styling, had two major redesigns, one in 1968 and one in 1973. Chevelle's were built as coupes, two and four door sedans, convertibles and station wagons.

The Chevelle Malibu SS

The top performance / top of the line Chevy Chevelle for 1965 was the Chevelle Malibu. The SS models had the V-8 power plants and top end trim. The 1965 Malibu SS was available in both sport coupe and convertible models and with both straight 6 and V8 engines.

1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Specifications

As mentioned above, the 65 Chevy Chevelle was built with a choice of six different engine versions. The SS models came with a 283 or 327 cubic inch V-8. The Chevelle Malibu also had four straight six engines available. Later in the year Chevelle came out with a limited edition 396 cubic inch engine known as the Z-16 Package.

The Malibu ranked number one in Chevelle sales. The model had high end tailored fabrics with metallic thread accents. Adding to the Malibu's popularity were the many available options which included the sport coupe, convertible, 4-door sedan, and 2-seat wagon.

Transmissions included an automatic and a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel power disc.

1965 chevy malibuThe 65 Chevelle Malibu had a 115.0 inch wheelbase. Interestingly enough, the wheelbase matched that of the 55 Chevrolet. Total outside length was 197.0 inches.

Chevy's Chevelle weighed 3,160 lbs which was relatively light. This light weight helped with performance. The car could take either a small or large block engine without difficulty.

Over the thirteen year Chevrolet Chevelle production run, over 5 million models were built. The Chevy Chevelle was one of Chevrolet's most successful models.

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 Ford's 1969 Gran Torino GT Muscle Car

1967 Pontiac GTO

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1955 Olds Rocket 88 Specs and Photos

Two excellent source books on the subject of cars from the 1960's include...American Muscle Cars by authors William G. Holder and Phillip Kunz....American Cars of the 1960's: A decade of Diversity by author John Gunnell.

Chevrolet Chevelle Collector Cars

The Chevy Chevelle is a popular collector car and you'll most likely see one at most car shows and swap / meets. You'll certainly run across restored and unrestored Chevrolet Chevelle's for sale. You may have also seen two door Chevelles that were cut up to race as stock cars.

Chevy chevelle

Chevelle Malibu dashboard

Because there were so many different body styles with the 1965 Chevelle, you'll find just about any one of them for sale in a variety of conditions. Exact model, originality and car condition will determine the asking price.

As of this writing we see restored 65 Chevy Chevelles priced in the $25,000 to $35,000 range. The SS (Super Sport) models will be on the higher end. For restored Chevelle Malibu models you may see prices in the $45,000 to  $60,000 plus range and more. Non-restored Chevelles of course will be priced substantially lower.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)