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Corvair Power: 1971 VW Karmann Ghia

1971 VW Karmann Ghia

Well, this isn’t something you see every day. This 1971 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia found here on eBay sports some seriously flared fenders and a Corvair powerplant, putting some bark behind the body’s bite. The staggered wheel and tire setup fills out those rear arches nicely, and I imagine with the 4-speed manual and Corvair engine, the wide rear rubber is helpful in keeping this Ghia going straight. It’s not without its issues, however, as it may have bad transmission synchros and there is some rust in the floors – but neither problem seems to stand out as big concerns to the seller. You’ll have to check it out yourself to see if they’re deal-breakers or helpful in knocking the price down a few bucks (though, the auction is already set at no-reserve). I’d love to know the history of this bad Bug variant as it seems like at least one of the previous owners had quite an imagination!


  1. James Walker

    According to the add the car is no longer Corvair powered

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  2. David Frank David Member

    This Ghia is not corvair powered, it’s VW powered as the description states and the pictures show. This car would be dangerous to drive as it is now. The floor pan on one side has been patched on one side (with pop rivits?) and it’s rusting through on the other. And a bolt on roll cage? Looking at the other work done, I would be suspicious of how those flares are attached. I can’t imagine why bidding is going so high on this Ghia. I guess some people must really like the looks of this monstrosity. Perhaps they haven’t read the description carefully or looked at the pictures very carefully.
    (and what would make this a barn find?)

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  3. Bobsmyuncle

    Unless I’m missing something it appears the Ghia IS…the Corvair engine.

    The seller mentions the car was fitted with one but now has a 1500 cc flat four. He calls it the original however I’m pretty sure it would have been a dual port 1600 cc in ’71.

    While I love that the flares are steel I can’t say they are terribly flattering to the Ghias beautiful natural lines.

    Perhaps a little lower and with some better wheels…

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  4. DREW V.

    Corvair Powered??? “The car had a Corvair flat 6 cylinder engine in it while it was used for racing. The motor in the vehicle now is the original 1500cc 4 cylinder mated to a 4 speed manual transmission.”

    You guys shouldn’t tell non truths to get readers to look at your posts…

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      I’m sure this was an unintentional mistake.

      And a minor one at that.

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    Funny cause this Ghia is for sale about a mile away if that from my house.

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  6. Horse Radish

    ” You will not find another around that looks like this one! ”

    Nor would you want to.

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  7. shiro1303 Member

    About a 5-6k car all day looks like the flares were actually done fairly well floor pans are an easy fix the rest of the car looks pretty solid. I didn’t see the roll cage or any evidence that there was ever a corvair engine in there looks pretty unmolested outside of the body mods and older restoration in the interior. looks like a DP engine could be 1500 or 1600

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  8. Jim

    I can see no evidence that there was ever a Corvair engine in it. I built a Bradley GT back in the 70’s with a Corvair Corsa powerplant using a Hadley kit. I have never heard of any other method of mounting a Corvair engine in a VW of any type and the Hadley kit hung the engine out the back quite a ways.
    I’m playing the BS card on this one.

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  9. Rick

    I agree with shiro. I don’t see any outward extensive rust, though the fresh paint could be covering a multitude of plastic patch areas. Some rust on the flare mounts, that would need to be investigated. The driver’s floor pan is surface rust.. common. The passenger side pan.. also a common fix since replacing the pans on these cars frequently means removing the body. The engine is quite tired as seen from the massive oil spots on the cylinders. The flares don’t bother me.. drop a warmed T4 in there and enjoy the ride.

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  10. alan

    It would appear that the Corvair allusion is just a story as there is no way a Corvair engine would fit in that engine compartment without all the surrounding sheet metal being cut out to accommodate it. The sheet metal still looks virgin to me and no evidence of modifications allowing it to be made modular for removal. No pictures to prove it was ever installed.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Good eye! Unless this car had extensive and high quality work to cover up its history, this has never sported a Corvair engine.

      BTW what class would have welcomed such a car?

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  11. jim s

    needs a new pan, motor and transmission rebuild, and rewired. does look like a dual port head motor. a lot of extra holes cut for speakers. still bidding at almost $6000.

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  12. fred

    Had a Corvair powered VW dune buggy in 1974 and did my first and only 360 in the median of a four lane highway. May have had something to do with the rain and the huge drag racing slicks on the back.

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  13. Ward

    I’ve had several beetles and type 3s and the owner of this car made the classic mistake of placing appearance over function and mechanical safety. 1st rule of restoration: sort out the bodywork and mechanics before focusing on appearance.

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  14. bcavileer

    Got a bridge for sale too, in brooklyn. Ghia’s are kinda pretty, this one is ah, well
    not. Sorry.
    Just like waking up next to the ‘hottie’ you met at the pub last night. Buy it and you might just want to chew your arm off to get out of there in the A.M.

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    • francisco

      Cayote ugly,

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  15. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    The flares are interesting, they look done well, but they don’t work with the Ghia lines. A good way to widen the body for the wider wheelbase would be cut it down the middle, and stretch it, I wonder if that’s ever been done?

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  16. francisco

    Giacinto Ghia is turning in his grave.

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    Do have a EJ205 Subaru WRX swapped Ghia by me that cruises around. Also the Ghia is closer to a Thing pan wise than other VW’s. That and the Corvair engine spins backwards so the transmission would have had to have the diff flipped in the case if it had been done at some point?

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    Well EBAY sale ended a while ago but it is still sitting behind the gas station.

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