ROI Potential: 1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

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The seller of this rusty, rough 1971 VW Karmann Ghia here on eBay claims that the value for such vehicles has shot up 50% over the last few months. I don’t follow the air-cooled market that closely, but I don’t think prices or demand have jumped that much. However, with a starting bid of $0.99 and an engine that turns freely, perhaps this Karmann Ghia represents a potentially cheap buy as a good source for parts or long-term project.

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The car is located in Sanford, Maine and there is currently no bidding activity. Sanford isn’t too far from Kennbunkport, which is a popular seaside community for summer-time travelers. I wouldn’t be surprised if you find a few expired beach pass parking stickers on this Karmann Ghia, and if it’s been parked for extended periods of time with its nose facing the ocean, that might explain the heavy corrosion up front. The permeation of rust continues to the floors, frame rails and heater channels, according to the seller.

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The rust challenges are why I think this convertible VW has a future as a parts car. There appear to be some good components left, from the top to the interior to the drivetrain. The windshield glass appears solid, and trim bits like the door handles, mirrors and tail lights could all be useful to someone. The doors and engine lid also could be harvested for another project car, but these aren’t necessarily hard parts to find. Nice parts to have, sure – but the Buy-It-Now asking price of $3,200 seems steep to me for a car of this condition grade.

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It would appear this convertible received a likely-cheap respray in red, which is a shame considering its original color may have been yellow (a more desirable paint code, in my opinion). If motor turns out to be savable, that’s a bonus – but it’s anyone’s guess if the numbers match. Although I personally hope this car returns to the road, I don’t believe the seller’s claim about the uptick in value. Even if some pricing guide made such a declaration, Karmann Ghias still have a long ways to go before they begin to appreciate like an air-cooled Porsche.

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  1. Rabbit

    ACVWs are in fact appreciating in value. Plus, you can almost build a Beetle or Ghia from aftermarket parts. The real issue is the investment of time & money. Is it worth it? Likely not.

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    • DrinkinGasoline

      And would it be built from original…..or scrap parts ?

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  2. Bob Hess

    Agree on the values going up but the only thing getting shot up here is the car. Parts only for a fraction the the asking price….

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  3. DrinkinGasoline

    Rabbit, You are obviously on the low end of Wherever You believe You are.

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  4. bcavileer

    We should do a REALITY check of the costs of restorations. No one wants to pay what is truly involved to make these cars RIGHT. Why do you think they are barn bound barn finds… again, fix it cause you love it or GTFO.

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  5. brakeservo

    The value for “such vehicles’ has shot up 50%?? Gee, maybe one guy offered him $10 six months ago, and the other day he was offered $15 – yeah, that’s a 50% increase in a few months!!

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  6. Cassidy

    Regarding the seller’s claim that Common Ghias have hit a huge uptick in the market: 99% of all precentages are made up. I sincerily doubt that uptick has hit the ugly and rusty of this breed and won’t any time soon.

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    • Doug M. (West Coast)Member

      Cassidy, I hate to dispute your statement, but actually 87% of all percentages are made up! ( I know, because I just made this one up! so actually, you may be more right than I am!?… Ok, it’s getting late!)

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      • grant

        No no no. Made up percentages make up 78.5% of all made up statistics. 9 out of 10 dentists say so.

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  7. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    For the record, I’m a die hard air cooled guy, so don’t take the following as an indictment of old VWs:

    Okay, first up: This isn’t a ’71. Big rear lamps indicate this is ’72 or later. (Probably build date is in ’71, hence the confusion…) This would’ve had the battering ram bumpers. And, it appears the main focus of bodywork to this point has been to fill in the air intakes in the nose!

    I had a ’70 in ’74; it was starting to rust then. A sea-side Maine vehicle? Bring a shovel. The body seams were all hand leaded at the factory and every one of those seams started rusting the day they were finished.

    Yeah, you can pretty much build one of these from scratch, but this isn’t a Ferrari 275 GTB; you’ll never recoup your investment. And, the condition this is in, the VIN tags are probably all that’s salvageable…

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    • fordfan

      I I r c70 and up karmen ghia and type 3 had the larger tail lamps

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      • Ernie the Dancing Weasel

        @fordfan: ’70 & ’71 had unique tail lamps that were Ghia only; larger than the ’69s but smaller than the ’72s. Because of these lamps, the quarter panels were 2 year only as well.

        Google 1970 Karmann Ghia under images.

        When the ’72s first showed up at our dealer we all knew the end was near for these cars. It was clear VW just didn’t care any more. Carrozzeria Ghia should’ve sued for vandalism…

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  8. Alan Brase

    Right. There was a ragged rusty 72 Ghia Convert at an auction in Iowa on Saturday. No engine, but rather complete including the bumpers. $350. Kinda cute cars, but I’d go for an early one. Battering ram bumpers. Not very pretty.

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  9. JW454

    He may have acquired this one to go with his coupe then realized it would be too much work. I’m thinking $500 would be a high price for this car.

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  10. rangeroger

    When I bought my MG 3 years ago I gave away a ’69 and a ’70 coupe to clear space. I had driven the ’70 until the main seal started leaking oil onto the exhaust and I really couldn’t afford to build an engine the way I wanted. And the rust. Everywhere.
    No heat to the front which is a major problem in North Idaho winters.
    Both were Pacific Northwest cars and were extensively rusted. The pan is different from the Beetle pan and they never sealed properly.

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  11. jaymes

    coulda at least washed it and separated the parts for a picture, glws

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  12. Air cooled fan

    Want to check prices on other Ghias go to the site for all your high priced deals on cars.

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