Popular 1964 Karmann Ghia / Photos, Model Details

Great looking 1964 Karmann Ghia. In this article we’ll discuss styling, specifications, production numbers and collector car popularity. The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a sports car that was built as a 2+2 coupe from 1955 to 1974 and as a 2+2 convertible from 1957 to 1974.

64 karmann ghia specs
1964 VW Karmann Ghia Coupe

VW Karmann Ghia featured in this article was a sports car sold by Volkswagen between 1955 and 1974. As it’s name implies, the design and construction of this car was mostly the product of two entities. One was the the Karmann coach builders of Germany 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.

Karmann Ghia Styling

Depending on your age, you may or may not be familiar with the Karmann Ghia. Many say the model was the forgotten Volkswagen brand.

The VW Karmann Ghia was designed during the decadeof the 1950’s. During that time there were quite a few sold total of about 445,000 examples. There were thousands more produced during this time in South America. Of significance is that these models totaling near half a million were for the most part hand built. Most hand built brands had very modest production totals so it’s surprising these amount of VW Karmann Ghia’s were produced.

Unlike many automobiles of the era, design suggestions for the Karmann Ghia came from many places. These included manufacturers, artists,and car designers. It was easy for VW to work with Karmann who had worked on the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. Ghia was an Italian coach builder and car designer. Ghia had a design produced for the D’Elegance which we explain more below. Ghia took that design, downsized it and ended up with the VW Karmann Ghia you see at car shows today.

1964 karmann ghia photosThe Connection Between Germany, Italy and Detroit

The VW Karmann Ghia, as mentioned above, was a product of several nations. Here you had a sporty VW that was engineered and produced in Germany and designed in Italy. In the early 1950’s, Virgil Exner previously with Studebaker joined Chrysler in Detroit. Exner was to work as a design head for Chrysler which was known to be top heavy on the engineering side but lacking in aggressive design ideas.

Exner commissioned  Ghia to build a sleek fastback show car called the Chrylser D’Elegance. The D’Elegance had undoubtedly an Italian design appearance but was in essence the work of Virgil Exner’s studio. The D’ Elegance was built on a Chrysler New Yorker chassis but had it’s wheelbase shortened from 125 inches to 115 inches.The D’Elegance ended up being a one off model but it’s styling was before it’s time elegant and this great looking show car undoubtedly brought positive attention to Exner from his superiors at Chrysler.

When the VW Karmann Ghia was introduced in 1955 there was no question but the car and the Chrysler D’Elegance 1953 idea car had uncanny similarities. It was reported that far from being angered by Volkswagen’s new Karmann Ghi’s incredible likeness to Exner’s one off Chrysler, Virgil Exner was delighted to see the new model go into production.

1964 Karmann Ghia Specifications

The 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was built with a 1192 cc 4 cylinder air cooled engine delivering 40 HP. This is the same engine found in the 1964 VW Beetle. Both engines being rear mounted.

Transmission is a four speed manual.

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums.

Dimensions include a 94.5 inch wheelbase, 163.0 inch overall outside length, 64.4 inch width and 52.3 inch height.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below.

The 1957 Karmann Ghia

1974 Porsche 914 Collaboration with VW

Reference material for this article includes..VW Karmann Ghia Gold Portfolio 1955-1974 by R.M. Clarke..Essential Volkswagen Karmann Ghia: The Cars and Their Story 1955-74 by Laurence Meredith..Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide. 

 1964 VW Karmann Ghia Collector Car Popularity

64 vw karmann ghia specsThe Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a popular collector car for a variety of reasons. The Karmann Ghia was a very sporty looking automobile that offered VW an addition to it;s popular Beetle model.

The Karmann Ghia was built through a collaboration between Karmann in Germany and Ghia from Italy and had excellent engineering with an Italian styling flair. Many think the Karmann Ghia was one of the best post war sports cars built.

Current estimated values for a restored, original example in show condition can range from $39,000 to $50,000 plus.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)