Type 34 Karmann Ghia is a sports car manufactured by Volkswagen which was introduced in the market in 1957 to 1974. It is a 2+2 coupe and convertible built with combined chassis as well type 1 (Beetle) mechanicals. This was stylishly designed by Luigi Segre, the “Itallian carozzeria Ghia” and the bodyworks was the idea of Karmann, the German coach-builder.
This racy sports car was formerly designated internally as Type 14 and it was in 1961 that this was introduced as Type 34 by Volkswagen with a platform of Type 3 featuring the cars angular framework. After this was introduced in the market, this car model sold well that doubled its production where Germany produced over 445,000 of it. The Karmann Ghia was included in the lists of well designed vehicles by Walter Brown Teague.
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The history of the Karmann Ghia’s creation started in 1953 of October when this was showcased in Auto Show in Paris which was then called Type 14.It was Luigi Segre who created the style for Ghia. Volkswagen, who has been manufacturing the Type 1 or popularly known as the Beetle, an economy car, proposed to add halo car and contracted Karmann, the coach-builder to manufacture it. Karmann also contracted Ghia, an Italian firm where the styling theme was explored and adapted for Chrysler and for Studebaker. The Ghia styling concept was even claimed by Virgil Exner which was based on his design of the Chrysler D’Elegance in 1953.
The body panels of the Karmann Ghia went through a time consuming manufacturing processes that involves hand shaping, butt welding, and used English pewter in smoothing it. The result was high quality that also made the racy car more costly. The prototype as well as the design was turned to Volkswagen in 1955 of August and it was in Osnabruck Germany that the Type 14 was manufactured and amazingly sold 10,000 units for the first year that it was out in the market. It was in 1957 that the Karmann Ghia convertible version was showcased. There were changes made with this beautiful sports car in 1961 where it included front grilles which are wider as well as finned, the rear taillights and the headlights were made taller, more rounded, and this was relocated and positioned higher. The idea of the changes in designs was Sergio Sartorelli’s, the Type 34 Italian designer.
More changes were made for Karmann Ghia in 1970 where larger taillights and wrap-around signals were integrated. For USA model Volkswagen made the bumpers large square in 1972, and in 1973 it has included an energy-absorbing bumpers, a modification that was mandated by the “National Highway traffic safety Administration”. In addition to this rear seat was converted to a package shelf which is carpeted.
In 1961, the type 34 or also known as Karmann Ghia was introduced. Its feature includes 1500cc engine. Other name for this Volkswagen sports car are in Germany, “Der Grobe Karmann” or “the big Karmann”, in United Kingdom, “Razor Edge Ghia:, and in the United States, it is Type 3 Ghia. Worldwide, this is known as the Type 34.
The cost of the Type 34 is equivalent to Beetle model car which is expensive at that time. This did not sold well where it was only around 42,505 and only 17 of the prototype convertibles were the total production from 1962 to 1969. This has now become semi-rare collectible where its restored body costs $25,000, $8,000 for the driving project, and $3,000 for the car’s non-driving parts.
Because of the low in sales, the Type 34 was not officially made available in America. However, this has not prevented the Volkswagen enthusiasts in USA to own the Type 34 via Canada and it has been recorded that there are 400 of this that can be found in the U.S. Based from the reliable report, there are still 1,000 to 2,000 exiting Karmann Ghia around the world where great percentage of it is found in Germany which is about 45 percent, 30 percent in USA, about 10 percent in United Kingdom, in New Zealand and Canada 2 percent and 10 percent from other countries.
Comparing the Type 14 and the Type 34, although both have similarity in styling influences, the two still looks different. The chassis of the Type 14 is like that of the Beetle while Type 3 chassis was mounted in Type 34. In addition to this, the Type 34 has a drive train which is similar to the 1500/1600 Notchback, Variant fastback, and to Variant (Squareback) which is known to have a 1500 strong pancake engine. the classifications of the Type 34 is based on the year that it was manufactured and on the size of the engine which made this collectible sports care rarer and more unique. Type 34 that was produced in 1962 and in 1963, the engines that were fitted was a 1500cc with a carburettor that was distinctively pre-draft. The 1964 and 1965 models, it have the same 1500cc however these already has two “down draft carbs” and pistons which are dome topped. This model is referred to as “1500 S”. While the 1966 models, these are fitted with the 1600cc engine, dual carb. The 1967 to 1969 models also fitted with 1600cc engine, dual carb and an electrical system that has 12 volts.
Type 34 is mechanically similar to Type 3s but the rest the rest of its features are uniquely modified like the bodywork, the bumpers, the interior, the glass, as well as its lenses. The type 34 was Volkswagen’ most expensive car model with a larger, spacious, and equipped with luxurious amenities such as fog lights, lush interior accommodations, cigar lighter, vent windows in front and in rear, different wiper controls, electric clock, locking steering, and this has also an option of sliding sunroof which is durably made of steel and it is electronically operated. The parts of the Type 34 are uniquely manufactured that it would be impossible to share with the Type III models.