Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 14 (1955 – 1974)

Million dollar looks from Volkswagen

Volkswagen decided to go for something more exotic, despite the success of the Beetle. The Type 14 or Volkswagen Karmann Ghia debuted at the 1953 Paris Auto Show as a styling concept for Ghia. The 2+2 coupe had hand-shaped body panels smoothed with English pewter normally used in the production of top end cars. The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Tpe 14 adopted the same floorpan and engine variations as the Beetle and so it always looked a lot faster than it actually was.

Production of the Karmann Ghia started in 1955 with the public reaction succeeding expectation selling 10,000 cars in the first year. In 1957 Volkswagen introduced a convertible version of the Karmann Ghia that was heavier then the coupe due to extra strengthening but it was never about speed for the type 14 with those gorgeous curves it was of course all about style.

Years Produced1955 - 1974
Performance0 - 60mph 26.5sec / Top Speed - 77mph
Power & Torque 30bhp / 56Ib ft
Engine1192cc flat four / 8 valves
Drive-train Rear engine RWD
TransmissionFour speed manual

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 14 (1955 – 1974)

The Karmann Ghia has risen in value as part of the VW bubble, take a look at how prices have changed over the last 5 years.


Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 14 Convertible (1955 – 1974)


The Karmann Ghia is Volkswagen prettiest invention by far and with its basic Beetle components is easy to maintain and cheap to run. Find a good one and it will do you proud. The classic VW’s Achilles heel is of course rust and the Karmann Ghia is no exception. Check everywhere as rust can lurk around the headlamps, in the nose, the wheelarches, quarter panels and door bottoms. Get underneath and take a closer look at the sills, jacking points and floorpan. Look out for bodged repair work while you’re there as this can be more difficult to repair than cutting out original rusty bits.

Remember topless cars tend to have rotten floors so be extra careful if you’re looking for a convertible they are also more expensive than a coupe. Engines are identical to the beetle and are normally solid, check for end float by tugging the fanbelt pulley and beware of too much blue smoke which points to worn valve guides. Interiors are typically tough try to find one with the original interior and beware of missing trim as it’s getting harder and more expensive to replace.

Steering can be a problem, check for excessive play at the wheel and underneath to see if the steering swivel pin mounted on the beam has any play. New pins and bushes can be tough to fit.

INSURING A Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 14 (1955 – 1974)

Classic Volkswagen insurance is our specialty. However as an executive classic prices are very competitive indeed. At Heritage Insurance with 50 years experience behind us, we offer a tailor made package for one or more cars. We include both our in-house agreed value service and salvage retention should the worst happen at no extra cost, and with limited mileage and club members discounts our annual fully Comprehensive policy proves excellent value for money. Here are some typical examples of how little your insurance could be.

  • This quotation is based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 60.

Annual premium – £83.32 with a £100 accidental damage excess.

  • This quotation is based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 45.

Annual premium – £97.27 with a £100 accidental damage excess.

  • This quotation is based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 30.

Annual premium – £125.89 with a £100 accidental damage excess.

*NB: All insurance quotes are based on the same criteria: The vehicle being garaged overnight. Accident, claim and conviction free and a limited mileage of 3000 per annum with full use of a main car daily. All quotations are based on an Agreed Value of £15,000. Prices may alter depending on individual criteria.


When the Karmann Ghia was finally replaced by the VW Scirocco on 31 July, 1974, Karmann workers decorated the last example with a sign that read: “Du liefst so gut, Du warst so sch*, Doch leider musst du von uns gehn.” (You ran so well, you were so beautiful, but alas, you must leave us now.)

Mark Wilkinson (Managing Partner of Heritage Classic Car Insurance) says

“With the help of Italian design house Ghia, VW’s first sporty car was indeed a success. What it lacked it true sports car power it made up in Looks with its hand-made body was styled to perfection. The VW Karmann Ghia is one of the most beautiful cars in the world and in many ways still priced competitively. German engineering and Italian style what more can you ask for.”

INSURING A Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 14 (1955 – 1974)


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