Never This Nice: 1968 VW Karmann Ghia

One thing that drives me nuts about Karmann Ghias is this: they are such pretty, graceful cars, and possess the best combinations of style and character with dirt-cheap mechanical components. However, that last part tends to be the reason why so many cars show up as trashed, worthless projects. Fortunately, someone has taken care of this 1968 model here on eBay that wears all of its original parts, right down to the windshield. 

Although their sleek styling made promises the powerplant couldn’t keep, there’s still plenty of driving enjoyment to be found the Beetle’s better-looking cousin. Wearing period-correct California black plates, this Karmann Ghia is for sale by a dealer that notes few KG’s are left in this condition, and anything else this nice has likely been restored. There are no details on who the previous owner(s) was, which would make for an interesting story explaining how this car has survived the test of time.

Everything – from the seating surfaces to the uncracked dash pad to the carpets – is factory original, just as it left the production lines. The seller has performed minor maintenance in their likely short time with the car, including a new clutch and “freshening up” of the brakes. In some instances, I’d call the flipper lazy for not doing more, but truthfully, it’s hard to see what else this Karmann Ghia would need, especially with under 100K miles on the clock.

Located in sunny Newport Beach, the VW’s West Coast location likely played a big role in not having rusty floorpans or corrosion in the heater channels. While the market for Karmann Ghias isn’t exactly a hot one, enthusiasts know when a specimen is hard to repeat. I think this car fits in that category, and while it’s early in the auction and the reserve remains unmet, I have little doubt this Karmann coupe will find a new home.

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Comments

  1. ccrvtt

    My ex-brother-in-law had one of these. If you knew him you’d understand why he had a KG instead of a Mustang or Camaro. And also why he’s my ex-b-i-l.

    I never understood these cars. In my youth the VW was a throwaway car, like a Neon or a Kia Rio is today. Tarting it up with a smooth but sort of dated-looking body made no sense to me then. Now I kinda like them and appreciate the real quality of the bodywork. Nice find. Someone’s going to like this little gem.

  2. dirtyharry

    Well I assure you the wood on the dash isn’t real this time. These things dissolved faster than sugar cubes in boiling water anywhere near snow. I live nearby and even if they were around the beach and salt air, they turned into Swiss cheese. I bet the reserve is real high and if you love the Ghia, this is a rare opportunity. They were difficult to fix if “hit” in the front and I often had people bring them as trade-ins, after a poor nose job following an accident. I thought they were a great idea and the simplicity of VW mechanicals make them a great classic to drive and own. Now I see them being a hot rod with industrious folks coloring them with Porsche and Suburu parts.

    1
    • 68 custom

      you can make crazy horsepower with aftermarket blocked 2+ litre VW motors and a turbo. no need to swap in a Porsche or Subbie motor. beautiful example right here!

      • Rabbit

        My issue with building the Type 1 motor is the loss in reliability. I prefer to convert a Type 4. They’ll handle 2400cc and then some without the potential sacrifice.

  3. Rick

    Not enough photos to make a decent decision. While it looks nice, it also looks like a recent respray. The water stained headliner by the back window says it all. No telling what horrors are hiding in the rockers, behind the headlights and everywhere else these things rust. It may not rain in Newport Beach, but there is certainly salt in the air… just sayin’…

  4. Tirefriar

    PIG 485, could this be some sort of a clue?

    • David Frank David F Member

      The clue here is those are not original “Black Plates”. These “Legacy Plates” are available now as a $50 option in California. Even new cars are sporting black plates these days. You will notice there are no year stickers on this license plate, so the plates are new and may not even go with the Ghia. I’ll agree with Rick on this one and say this lovely Ghia would need a very close look. It’s wearing a lot of Armour All and tire slick, a dealer’s favorite option.

  5. whippeteer

    Definitely had a restoration along the way. It’s too clean for a 100K car. Also the light scratching on the chrome, but not a blemish on the paint. The interior is also too clean for the mileage with the scratching on the driver’s window sill does speak to long use.

  6. Andy

    I almost hope it is a scam, because if it were original, it would be a sin to drop an 1800cc dual carb out back and make it a practical driver.

    • Dave

      For all you naysayers and know it alls, Google Colome Motors or look up Drew Colome and study the history of the dealership and the class of over the top high quality VW’s he deals with. As a ghia collector I have studied these cars intensely for years and I agree with every statement he has made by looking at the pictures alone. Easily a $20k coupe. And he never claimed the tag was original to the car, or else he would be including it in the sale.

      • Roy

        What did it sell for?

    • Rabbit

      A motor swap can always be put back, especially with ACVW’s. I’ve converted a few of them to built Type 4 power plants & put them back to sell. As far as the body goes, it looks great, but I’d be checking under the bonnet for repaired damage. Because the body almost sticks out further than the bumper, I’ve seen very few Ghias that haven’t been punched in the nose.

  7. macvaugh

    I don’t know why the author calls it an original windshield, because it certainly is not. The seller calls it “matching”.

    The staining of the headliner is actually caused by deterioration of the adhesive holding it in place, not water leakage.

    • Dave

      Absolutely original glass. Look at the logo.

  8. HBChris

    @David F

    Legacy plates don’t come in the ABC123 format. These may be YOM plates that have been reregistered to this Ghia as a 68 would most likely have had a plate beginning with W or X, the plate starting with P would have been 65/66.

    • Oldog4tz Member

      HBChris- can you elaborate on the process of “reregistration” in CA?

      • Woodie Man

        In Cali you can buy a set of “cleared” original plates. Original California plates of what ever variety, black letters on yellow, yellow letters on black, yellow letters on blue and put them on a car whose year matches the plates that would have been on it originally. This is the YOM , year of manufacturer, program

        So a 1970 Porsche as I once had, came with blue/yellow plates. Mine happened to be the original plates but if you had a 1970 Porsche you could go to the swap meet of Ebay and buy yourself a “cleared” set of blue/yellow plates , register them with DMV and voila……you appear to be one of the chosen ones.

        To complicate matters ,DMV recently started offering as an option and an extra fee, Black plates with yellow characters ala the sixties California plates. Easily discernible from the original as they have a number letter system that is modern, ie lettters and numbers run together.

        Sometime in the early eighties so many cars were being registered that they started using seven letters/or digits run together (still) on the blue and yellow plates until they switched to the white plates , no longer a six character plate as most were through the late seventies or so.

        When California switched from black/yellow to blue yellow for the 1970 year, commercial vehicles through 1972 could have either black/yellow, blue/yellow plates.

        It used to be that the originality of a plate could tell you how long the car had been in California. No longer with the YOM system. For example I found a set of commercial blue/yellow plates and put them on my ’72 Chevy C-10 just cause I hate the white plates lol

  9. rdc

    cool car, I had several beetles, Ghias interest me more and more.

  10. Rustytech

    The pretty wife of the ugly bug! Believe me I love both. They were fun to drive, dependable, and great gas mileage. This car looks very nicely done, and personally I think the price is very reasonable so far. Great find!

  11. David Miraglia

    Always like the Ghias. Always loved the Beetle in my youth. Can never get enough of the air cooled engines.

  12. Melissa R

    Here’s my barn find… 95k original miles and all original inside and out, no rust. New paint and engine at 85k. No, not perfect, but perfect for me.

  13. Aaron

    How can it be both original, and “never this nice”? I thought “never this nice” was reserved for over restored cars?

  14. Aaron

    Also, is has to be a restoration. The door pocket elastic would never last that long.

    • Dave

      The only restoration door panels on the market are padded and lack the chrome strip and bead around the outside edge. Again, absolutely original.

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