Friday, July 16, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

Okay, this one was a tough call. Almost nobody can look at this and say they've never seen a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. They're still all over the place and a lot of them are in good shape. This isn't even a particularly old example, in fact it is one of the newest models. It's most likely a 1972 or 1973 model, and the Karmann Ghia was discontinued in 1974.
Another thing about the Ghia. It's a sports car, right? It sure looks the part. It has an awfully sexy body for a Volkswagen, and one would think it's rather quick. But it's rear-engined, based on the same platform as the lowly Type 3s (Squareback, Notchback and 1600TL Fastback for those of you still not familiar with VW's early naming policies). It's basically a low-slung Beetle. Mostly show and not much go.
So why is it here? Take one look at it. Tell me that isn't one of the nicest Ghias you've seen. Obama bumper sticker aside, I can't find much wrong with it. Seriously, political bumper stickers on flawless vintage cars? Why?
This is a beautiful example of a Karmann Ghia. Perfect chrome, intact badging (the Karmann Ghia decklid script is nothing short of art in my opinion), straight body, shiny paint. I can't tell if it's been restored or remarkably well-maintained. I'd guess that the paint at least has been redone at some point, because it's just too perfect to be original. The front license plate could use a good straightening and the owner really should take a razor blade to that bumper sticker.
Old Volkswagens are still a tough sell for me and rarely meet my standards for inclusion here. You aren't likely to see an old Beetle here unless it has some redeeming quality that sets it apart from the thousands of other Beetles trolling around the Golden State. Same goes for Microbuses, old Golfs, Rabbits, etc. Hate on me if you want, I don't just feature any old fanboy favorite I happen to find. That said, I'd be more than happy to do a writeup on some more old German iron. California Streets needs more European cars (especially French). But it better be something more special than a clapped-out Mercedes 300D wagon that runs on biodiesel.

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