Volkswagen’s Karmann Ghia was a looker, but inexpensive, making it a perfect collectible car, if not for its propensity to rust. But in the model car collecting world we don’t have to worry about such mundane matters.
So collecting a 1962 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia now is easy. Ghia’s were the cute rounded thing that so many of our buddies drove in their teens, or early 20s. They were, like the Beetle, reliable and inexpensive, but way sportier looking. Dare we say sexy?
Finding a super value Ghia is rare, but WhiteBox has one now in 1/43 scale and is sold in the States by American-Excellence.com. Our review model from A-E was a bright orange with a smooth seamless paint job.
The sporty Karmann Ghia was based on the Beetle chassis, but designed by Italy’s Carrozzeria Ghia and built by Karmann, a German coachbuilding company. It was made from 1955 to 1974 and was offered as both a coupe and convertible most of that time.
Design credit for the car has been shared by many designers at Carrozzeria Ghia, but everyone agrees it was inspired by Virgil Exner’s Chrysler d’Elegance show car and the first Karmann Ghia imported to the U.S. market was given to Exner as a gift. Reportedly he found the Ghia beautiful.
Like the Beetle the Karmann Ghia wasn’t a powerhouse, but did provide more interior room and storage space than the Bug. Its flat 4 engine made from 34 to 49 horsepower, depending on the version. Top speed ranged from 75 to 93 mph.
Ultimately the Ghia was replaced in VW’s lineup by the Golf-based Scirocco.
Window trim, lower body chrome stripping and door handles are all painted silver, but are neatly applied. There are twin chrome wipers and a driver’s side mirror though, plus the front and rear bumpers are chromed plastic, as are the rings around the headlights. Headlight lenses are etched clear plastic and there are twin chrome tailpipes in back.
The tiny front grille mesh is handled with decals and a European-style black license in back is a decal with Volkswagen imprinted on it. Taillights and amber turn signal lamps in front are painted on, as is the silver VW emblem on the front hood. The black mesh grille atop the rear trunk (engine) cover are painted black.
The only bugaboo I found was the size of this Ghia’s rear bumper. Most extended only to about the rear taillights, while this one wraps around the car’s rear fender slightly. Still, not a big deal for this price.
Inside is a plain gray plastic interior with black two-spoke steering wheel and gear shift lever. Up close the interior looks like an inexpensive model, but in its case and on a shelf the exterior looks fine and you won’t be eyeballing the finer points of the cockpit.
I’m all for inexpensive, well-executed 1/43 models because they are easy to stack and display in their acrylic cases. This WhiteBox Karmann Ghia is perfect for that.
Vital Stats: 1962 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Stock No.: 194611 or WB064