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    23/03/2022

    Customer Stories pt. 10: A historic Karmann Ghia

    Customer Stories

    Name: Sian and Rikki Nath

    The classic: VW Karmann Ghia

    ‘It’s my happy place. You get in the seat and it doesn’t matter how rough a day you’ve had; it just makes everything better again. You wouldn’t believe how many people have pulled up next to us saying ‘I love your car!’. 

    Our children love it too, and they have very modern tastes so it’s lovely that they like it so much. It feels incredibly special to have a classic like this one. We both enjoy having classic cars and have always had interesting vehicles, so this one is definitely a keeper!’

    When we speak to Sian and Rikki Nath, they’re both at home at the kitchen table with their own small fleet of classics parked on the driveway. ‘The Karmann was a lucky find,’ Rikki says. ‘Owning one was always Sian’s bucket list, and mine!

    ‘I remember these cars from the early ‘70s because my uncle and aunt had one in the States. This one came up on the internet on Car and Classic and it ticked loads of boxes for us: it was an original UK right-hand drive and had only two families from new. It was also the magic year for us, because it was Sian’s birth year! I was looking for a 50th birthday present for her, as I’d had my 20th anniversary present a couple of years before, so now it was Sian’s turn.’

    However, for Sian and Rikki, there was the small catch of the car being in Cyprus. ‘That was interesting,’ Rikki laughs. ‘It was slightly tricky at first because the dealer wasn’t too sure about us, but we have a few friends in Cyprus who were able to vouch for these UK buyers. Our friend brokered the introductions and a couple of months later, we got the Karmann shipped out to the UK.’

    From that point on, Rikki and Sian focused on two main things. The first was getting the original number plate put back onto the car, which was a straightforward process. ‘The second thing we focused on,’ Rikki tells us, ‘was reuniting it with its first owners. We tracked them down and they were absolutely thrilled to bits!

    Orange Karmann Ghia in the sun
    The Karmann Ghia enjoying some sun

    ‘It’s very first owner was a Scottish lady named Ailsa. She’d bought the car originally, and had then given it to her great nephew Stuart and his girlfriend Margaret, who had sold it to the enthusiast in Cyprus. Although the car outlasted the relationship between Stuart and Margaret, they’re still good friends to this day – Stuart even told us that he’d like the car back in the family if we ever sell it.

    ‘It turned out that Margaret had also prepared a little history of the car when she sold it to the Cypriot family, and those documents came back with the car when we bought it! We’ve also got the original sale of record, which is amazing. It’s an absolutely lovely story with a certain romance to it; we’ve even named the car Ailsa after the original owner.’

     

    Once the Karmann was cleared through customs, Rikki and Sian had it shipped down to their chosen workshop for some TLC. ‘It was there for several weeks getting a full and thorough work-up,’ Rikki recalls. ‘We needed to get it fit for UK roads, although thankfully it was in remarkably good condition to begin with.’ Over the winter period, Rikki and Sian also decided to return the Karmann to the same workshop for a 12-week restoration to freshen it up for its new home.

    Information about Karmann Ghia
    Margaret’s handy information pack about the history of the Karmann

    ‘I wanted to keep the original colour,’ Sian explains, ‘and overall replace as little as possible. We’re actually part of the Karmann Ghia Owners’ Club, and they’re very lenient when it comes to customising classics. I think we might have been prepared to do that, but once we got the car, we realised that it’s just so original and its history is so intact, that it didn’t feel right to mess around with it.

    ‘We’ve got a piece of history here; the original handbooks, colour scheme, serial number, service records, and even the Volkswagen certificate with its date of birth. And so, in classic car ownership terms, we see ourselves as custodians, and want to do our bit to try and preserve it for another generation.’

    Coincidentally, as Rikki and Sian were shipping the Karmann back to the UK, they found another of Sian’s bucket-list cars for sale online: a last-of-the-line VW Beetle. ‘As we’d had so much success with the Karmann, I thought we should try and get this one as well,’ Rikki explains. ‘It was being sold at an online auction and we bought it with just 18 minutes to go! We hadn’t actually read the whole listing, but we were so excited to find it that we just put our bid in.’

    ‘I tend to use the Karmann on the weekends,’ Sian says, ‘and try to use it for work at least once a week just to give it a ride out. I think the furthest I’ve taken it is around 50 miles, although according to its history it was up and down to Scotland regularly for the first fifteen years of its life, and then it was in the West Midlands and down to London every week for the following few years. To top that off, it was used as a daily runner in Cyprus too! It’s definitely got slightly less use since its arrived here, but I think that’s more because we try to use all our cars.’

    Do you have a favourite memory or trip in the Karmann?

    ‘Every trip feels amazing,’ Sian tells us. ‘It’s a real feel-good car. It’s my happy place. You get in the seat and it doesn’t matter how rough a day you’ve had; it just makes everything better again. You wouldn’t believe how many people have pulled up next to us saying ‘I love your car!’.

    ‘Our children love it too, and they have very modern tastes so it’s lovely that they like it so much. It feels incredibly special to have a classic like this one. We both enjoy having classic cars and have always had interesting vehicles, so this one is definitely a keeper!’

    Orange Karmann Ghia drawn by Ian Cook
    Ian’s drawing of Sian’s Karmann Ghia

    Would you like the chance to be part of our Customer Stories project?

    If you’re a Heritage Car Insurance customer and you’d like your classic drawn on one of our live drawing sessions, please send a maximum of 150 words about what your classic means to you and at least 2 images to marketing@heritagecarinsurance.co.uk. We’ll send the original drawing to you for free, as well as a printed T-shirt and mug. It’s a wonderful project to be a part of, so if you’re interested simply get in touch!

     

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