VW Karmann Ghia History:
The VW Karmann Ghia was a two-seater sports car marketed by Volkswagen, designed by the Italian firm Ghia, and built by German coach builder Karmann. Over 445,000 Karmann Ghias were produced between 1955 an 1974
The body and nose of the Karmann Ghia were handcrafted and significantly more expensive to produce than the strictly assembly line produced Beetle; this was reflected in the Karmann Ghia's higher price tag.
The design and prototype were well received by Volkswagen executives, and in August 1955 the first Karmann Ghia was built in Osnabruck, Germany. Public reaction to the curvy Karmann Ghia was excellent, and over 10,000 were sold in the first year, exceeding Volkswagen's expectations..
Since the first Karmann Ghia used the same Volkswagen air cooled engine, as the Beetle, the car was not suitable as a true sports car, however, the car's styling and "Beetle reliable" parts made up for this shortfall. The Karmann Ghia also shared engine development with the Beetle as the Type 1 engine grew larger with time, finally arriving at an engine displacement of 1584 cc
In August 1957 a convertible (cabriolet) version was introduced. Although this version is often called the "1958 model" by some, the Detroit automakers' trend of calling models manufactured in August of a year as the next year's model wasn't adopted by Germany until at least 1965. In August 1964, the VIN number of VWs started showing the last digit of the year as the 3rd digit of the VIN. All through production, multiple changes were also made to VWs without regard to the "model year" concept. Especially for these earliest Karmann Ghia, "September 1957" would be much more useful as a description of production model than the elusive "model year" that was only used by VW of America in marketing
The car was slightly redesigned for the 1960 model year. The most notable exterior changes were the car's front "nostril" grilles (which were replaced with a wider design), the headlights (which were moved up the fender), and the rear taillight lenses (which became taller and more rounded, sometimes referred to as "cats-eye" lenses). Cars made from 1955 to 1959 are referred to as "lowlights," due to the lower placement of the headlights, and are much sought-after by VW Karmann Ghia purists and collectors.
1970 saw larger taillights with integrated reverse lights, as well as squarish wrap-around turn signals, versus the "bullet" style used on earlier cars. The taillights were revised again in 1972, becoming taller and wider, with more visibility from the side. Large safety bumpers were added for 1973. Additionally, 1973 saw the removal of the unusable back seat as a means of skirting new seat belt regulations. Where the seat was once located, there was now a simple shelf with no back rest
In late 1974, the car was discontinued mainly due to increasing safety regulations and sluggish sales, in favour of it's water-cooled front-drive replacement; the Rabbit/Golf based volkswagen Scirocco.