History of Model

In 1874 Wilhelm KARMANN set up a car factory in Osnabruck. When in 1885 Karl Benz created the first vehicle powered by an internal-combustion engine, Karmann adjusted his factory to the new market situation. Since 1902 he commenced a car body production. After the Second World War the factory in Onsbruck was ruined. Only in 1949 the car body production for Volkwagen was started. Karmann designed for him a few prototypes of beetle cabriolets which was a great success. Unfortunately Karmann died in 1951 and the company is take over by his son Wilhelm Karmann.


One autumn evening Wilhelm Karmann who co-operated with a succesful Volkswagen company proposed his friends from a Turin company GHIA a collaboration in designing a new sports car. The basic assupmtion was to lower the production expense by using already checked beetle sub-asseblies. The first prototype is created in 1953.


The result of that collaboration was presented on 27 September 1955 to the then boss of Volkswagen, Heinz Nodhoff, as KARMANN-GHIA. The constructors managed to carry out their assumptions obtaining a price of the first models marked as Type 143 at the level of 7200 DM in Germany and 2280 USD in the United States.


The first models were characterised by small, two-piece rear lamps and small ait intakes in front, which in 1960 were enlarged and stayed that way until the end of production. In 1957 a first-night presentation of the Type 142 – cabriolet had place. Here many changes were provided, mailny conctructional. A petrol gauge was placed between the speedometer and the clock.


In 1960 the premiere of Type 144 was planned. The sillhouette was considerably changed, all the roundness and curves were diminished, the fron headlights were changed and the front suspension was modified. Another construction changes were introduced in 1961. The 1200cc and 30 horsepower (22kW) engine which was manufactured since January 1954 and placed in the Beetle, became replaced by a new 34 horsepower (25kW) one. The cooling system was improved, the Solex 28 PCI carburettor was replaced with the 28 PICT with a electric suction mechanism.


A new one-piece gearbox was placed with the new engine. Also a new fuel tank with a mechanical fuel gauge was installed. Some cosmetic changes of the emblems were introduced. In 1964 a heating knob in the floor was replaced with two cables.


The years 1965-1966 brought another major mechanical changes. The construction and the placement of an air filter were changed, as well as the engine, up to 1300cc, 40 horsepower (29kW). A new Solex 30 PICT carburettor was used. It had an extended lever of an acceleration pump with two opennings with cotter pins in order to change the quantity of fuel injection.


The 1500cc, 44 horsepower (32kW) engine became a hit in 1967. A new four-bolted rim fastening was used as well as new front disc brakes. One more option was introduces, a three-gear with half an automatic transmission gearbox. The fuel inlet was moved over the front right wing.


The new engine with 47 horsepower and 1600cc was introduced in 1970. Again the rear lamps were enlarged. In 1971 the engine got double inlet manifolds obtaining 50 horsepower. In 1972 appeared the last major changes: thicker bumbers, and again the rear lamps were enlarged.


Until 1974 when the last Karmann Ghia left the production line Volkswagen manufactured 486,798 cars. 363,401 coupe, 88,899 cabriolets, 42,498 coupe Type 144. I am a proud owner of one of them.