Dusty and Musty: 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

It’s always refreshing when a car claims to be a barn find and looks the part as well.  This 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia definitely needs some work to get it back on the road, but it appears to be a decent starting point for a project.  Found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $3,200, it’s no surprise based on the moss-green tint that this car was found in Redland, Oregon.  With some soapy water and elbow grease, I think this car would clean up pretty well.  Keep reading to see if this project is for you.

You guessed it, along with the moldy growth on the outside, there’s plenty of rust in this car.  The seller states the floor pans need replacing.  The ad also indicates that deck lid has some rust along with various other parts of the car.  Looking at the pictures in the ad, there certainly isn’t a ton of rust on the body itself, so hopefully the paint isn’t hiding more issues.

The interior of the car is rusty and dusty just like the outside.  There is no picture of the engine compartment, but the car is said to have fired right up after 28 years of sitting with no smoke.  The ad has a YouTube link which shows the engine being fired up…supposedly for the first time.  In the video you can see the carburetor is pretty clean, indicating that there may have been a little work done before they attempted to start it.  Hopefully it had only clean fuel ran through it.

This has to be one of the best looking car badges ever!  If you’re interested in the history of Karmann Ghia cars, check out VWHeritage.com.  These are really fun and unique projects that are fairly easy to work on.  A competent metal shaper with a welder should be able to make this into a really neat car.  How about you?  Is this your next project?

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  1. Miguel

    Why are these worth so much now?

    • Mike

      A lot since it was pulled out of a barn and still retains its 28 years of dust/dirt. Very hard to replicate that kind of neglect.

    • giade FLIGHTNING

      fine Italiane lines mature Well~
      ☇}} designe GHIA {{☇

  2. Redwagon

    Cuteness factor.

    • Steve R

      It’s not the cuteness factor of the car, but of the girls that drove them.

      Steve R

  3. Jack in NW PA Member

    They can be kinda cool,here is mine.

    • oilngas

      Really like that front end.

  4. Oingo

    there certainly isn’t a ton of rust on the body itself… rust starts from the inside

  5. Rube Goldberg

    Always thought the K-G was the most under appreciated VW. A bug in an evening gown, I heard it said. Simple cars, nice styling, and good handling. They just weren’t that popular. You saw maybe 20 bugs for every K-G. I’d sure like to have one. While the seller nailed the”barn find” look, I’d have cleaned it up some.

  6. Classic Steel

    I used to own a 66 vert .

    The floors and heater channels are notorious for rusting . (Irony for calling them heat channels as they are great warm weather cars as heat is how you define warm output or defrost ) :-0

    These are cool cars with low HP.

    Clean it up and get a new dash pad and drop a 914 engine or SCAT engine for some ponies under the rear hood 👍

  7. Peter S.R. Member

    Cut the top off.
    Swap in a Subaru.
    Laugh at 356’s…

  8. Rex Kahrs Member

    Remember the old joke “Karmann perfected rust, then licensed it to the Italians!”.

  9. Rabbit

    Car oddly looks pretty good in all the infamous places. The nose isn’t punched in, & there’s no rot above the headlights or at the bottom of the A-pillars. Rockers & floors are no big deal. $3200 still a bit rich for this shape, I’m thinking more like $2K

  10. Jim M.

    If you can find a solid West Coast car, they lend themselves nicely to tuning.
    At 1900 lbs, 125hp can get them moving fairly quickly. With minor suspension mods they can be made to handle quite well too. I have warmed up 1915 in mine with dual 44 webers, and it’s a hoot to drive.

    • Rabbit

      We used to like swapping in Type 4’s with a Joe Cali conversion. Punch ’em out to 2400, throw on a pair of 44s & let her rip. The extra 40 lbs hanging out the back was no issue, but handling was a little sketchy, especially on wet streets.

  11. Jack in NW PA Member

    ” The coldest thing I ever felt was the heat in a Volkswagen”

  12. Dan

    Love mine

    • On and On On and On Member

      That’s a beautiful car Dan. Wheels are perfect. Stock engine?

      • Dan

        Yup. I did put in a Petronic system to eliminate points.

  13. Maestro1

    This is an interesting project if you are not in a hurry to get anywhere. The cars were slow but stylish. The price is too high. This would be north of $4000.00 just to make a driver out of it unless you do your own work. Dan, very nice car. Well done.

    • dan

      Thanks Maestro 1 One thing about these cars is you learn how critical gear selection is .

  14. Philip

    I’ve had many many VW’s, but only on Ghia, and it was really far gone. The previous owner had filled in above the headlights and any other rust with roofing tar. It was sad. I sold it to someone who was going to fix it up. He never did. IIRC, it was around a 65 convertible.

  15. Summitrunner

    My first car was a ’65 same color as this one. I was so proud towing it home with my Dad. I soon found out that it was built out of Bondo, foam rubber and rust. I cut it up for scrap and used the front bonnet as a toboggan that winter, but I still have the rear emblem like the one pictured. Great car!

  16. TDM Member

    Why is it the only Ghia I have ever driven had a fiberglass body on it? All the other ones I’ve seen are steel. Did some company make a fiberglass body for these back in the day? Think about it, take one the jr. rolled over or totalled and swap bodies. Now no rust ever, just dry rot one day.

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