Rare Type 34: 1968 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

Update 3/19/20 – This dusty Karmann Ghia has been relisted here on eBay. The seller pulled the last auction early for some reason, so it will be interesting to see if it actually sells this time around.

From 1/12/20 – This 1968 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is an exceedingly rare Type 34 model, a roomier, more luxurious version of the classic VW two-door. Though never officially sold here, plenty of these striking coupes made their way into the U.S., and this one is for sale in Michigan where it’s been stored since 2001. The list of cars I would love to own someday seemingly gets smaller each year as life gets busier, but the Type 34 is one that remains firmly on the list. Find it here on eBay where biding is already north of $7,500.

While some may find its pronounced nose and sharp lines off-putting, I find the Type 34 beautiful, and certainly an improvement over the standard Karmann Ghia. This model enjoyed a few upgrades in addition to the roomier cockpit, as it was built on the Type 3 platform which incorporated the 1500cc engine. In addition, that platform allowed for greater cargo space with front and rear storage compartments. An electric sunroof was even made optional, but this one makes do without one. Rust is said to be minimal and limited to isolated surface spots.

The interior looks quite nice despite its years of inactivity, and although impossible to tell for sure, it doesn’t appear to have the classic signs of rodent infestation. The woodgrain inlay in the dash looks slightly warped, but most of them do by this point. The Type 34 also came with a built-in clock to give the interior a more upscale feel, but this still wasn’t a particularly luxurious cabin. The Type 34 is in limited supply today, with projections of around 2,000 cars still in existence worldwide.

The underside is one of the major bright spots with this rare VW, as it looks incredibly solid. The seller believes it will run again without too much issue, as the engine and transmission were believed to be functionally sound at the time of storage.

It needs a new battery and the seller will not be attempting to start the car prior to sale, so a trailer will be required. The Type 34 may not have wide appeal among generalist collectors, but air-cooled fans know how rare it is to find one of these in any condition, especially a barn find that isn’t completely rotten.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I went to look at one of these with a good friend 25 years ago. Up that point never knew they were made. Unfortunately the tin worm had gotten to her. I remember wondering back then where would you find chassis specific parts for her. This is definitely a car to buy already restored or in original good condition as the cost of restoration would exceed its value.

    5
    • local_sheriff

      The 34 is based on the Type 3 VW so chassis parts shouldn’t be that problematic. IMO the most beautiful VW ever, saw one at a car show last summer plus a guy in my mom’s neighborhood owns one. I never get tired of looking at a 34 KG

      8
      • TC Oztralia

        I saw a fully restored one of these last Sunday at a show day here in South Australia put on by the VW Owners club.
        It was the only one there, there were plenty of the other Karrman Ghias as well as every other VW you could think of, no ‘Things’ though, we never got those here in Oz although the club’s president has an imported one he brought in from Brazil.

        1
  2. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    I guess it would be too much to ask to wash the dirt off of this before taking pictures for an online auction. Let me guess, we’ll let that up to the next lucky owner, just to give them all the options. There is definitely a lot more than surface rust happening on the right front fender and around the lights. This is your typical lazy, lying, deceitful, fraudulent, misleading, dishonest, greedy, no-good, rotten,snake-licking flipper!

    33
    • John

      You need to get off the fence about this guy…

      15
    • triumph1954

      Darn Flippers! Where do they find these cars?

      1
  3. KC John

    Yeah , that horrible rotten flipper should have just left it hidden away in a dark hole. Way better for it to turn into rust and rotted upholstery. I’m sure the folks he got it from didn’t get any money for it. Just in case ya misunderstood me this is sarcasm. I’ve been flipping cars my entire car hobby life. Its how I finance my own projects. Don’t be mad. Go out and find em first.

    34
    • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

      First off, I’m not mad, second, if you are an HONEST person and do not take advantage of people, good for you, I wish you luck! I also buy and sell from time to time, simply because I like cars, but I have never lied to anybody and will never take advantage of someone, which is more than you can say for 80% of EBay flippers. I recently bought a VW Westfalia from an elderly couple who did not have a clue to it’s value. I could have taken advantage of them, but I didn’t, I paid up and offered them what it was worth, and I am happy as can be with the van and they are happy too. You can defend the DISHONEST flipper all you want, but at the end of the day, I believe what goes around comes around. Have a GREAT day KC John!

      19
      • stillrunners Stillrunners Member

        Agree and hope the last seller I bought from gets his….I guess he didn’t think anybody kept copies of what people show they are buying !

        5
  4. Air Boss

    The 3.0CS of Ghias.

    7
  5. Angel Cadillac Diva

    One of my father’s friends in the merchant Marines married a German woman, and boy could she cook! But more of that later. When they came back to the United States she brought her Type 34 with her. I have always been facinated by these. I guess it’s the styling but have always liked them more than the regular Karmann Ghia. Any ways, long story short, I was pawned off on her one summer, I guess I was around 14 or 15. They had a summer house in the Poconos. One night coming home from dinner she let me drive it. I was in heaven. It is such a cool car. I’ll never forget that night or that car.

    20
    • KevinLee

      Angel Cadillac Diva, I gave you a thumbs up for having the coolest moniker

      2
      • Angel Cadillac Diva

        Why thank you, KevinLee !

        2
  6. Bruce Jackson

    I get as annoyed as anyone when someone tries to sell a car in an online auction, but then doesn’t clean it up, which can make it difficult for a bidder to reasonably assess.

    On the other hand, some people like to think that they have found a real “Barn Find”, whether it is being sold by a Flipper or not…so, personally cleaning it themselves is akin to unwrapping a present at Christmas.

    That said, there are a few deceitful types who get a bag of cement and sift it down onto the vehicle in question in order to make it look like a genuine barn find, when in fact the BF has been staged.

    That last group aside, I fall into the group who would like the car to be clean, who don’t like “patina”—whether real or manufactured—and who like a reasonable number of photos (15-20) that represent the interior, exterior from all four sides, the engine compartment and the underside.

    To his credit, this seller has taken more photos than most.

    But what really should matter to a prospective buyer: this is a car of which not that many were made to begin with, and per the Barn Finds article, about 2,000 remain (I would love to know the source of that info—most sources tell you how many were made and that is it), out of a total of 42,000 produced during the Type 3’s 1961-1969 production period (source “Volkswagen Karmann Ghias and Cabriolets, 1949-1980” by Richard Copping, copyright 2012 if you want the reference).

    I will also add that these cars are “dogs” in terms of performance. When the 0-60 time is the same as the time in the 1/4 mile (about 20 seconds, give or take), it explains why many of the standard (Type 143) KG’s end up being modified. Still, keep in mind, over half a million of the standard KG’a were produced—hence not nearly as rare—hence, keeping a Type 3 original simply because of its rarity makes a lot of sense.

    Bottom line, regardless of what any of us may think of flippers, this Type 3 is very rare, and IMHO, the price on this car has quite a ways to go (now up over $9,600 as I type this).

    7
    • Fred W

      To those deceitful flippers who sift a bag of cement on a car to make it appear to be a barn find, may the morning dew mix with the cement and make your life miserable!

      2
      • Bob McK Member

        There is a reason that there are so many “used car salesmen” jokes out there.

        2
  7. Bob S

    I always knew of the type 34’s, but had never seen one until about 7 years ago at one of JC Whitney’s annual car shows in north central Illinois. I received my license in 76, 1st car was a 69 bug, 3rd one was a 69 type 3 fastback, which was one of my favorites, save for the troublesome fuel injection. Seeing the 34 really blew me away, and could only wish that v-dub would of imported them, cause I probably would of had a few of them! Rare treat to see, good luck to the new owner!! (Jealousy setting in!)

    6
    • MikeH

      This one is still carbureted. That’s interesting because by ‘68, type 3s were 1600cc and had the troublesome FI. So either these Ghias were different from the regular T3s or something is fishy.

      2
  8. fstedie

    So this is what the Corvair was trying to be…

    2
    • On and On On and On Member

      Huh? I don’t see that one at all. Please explain fstedie.

      3
    • Major Thom

      The Corvair was faster and way better looking. Try again.

      4
    • Gordon D.

      fstedie, The other way around IMHO, I also think the 65-66 BMW 2 series designers were influenced by the looks of the Corvair.

      3
      • Gsuffa Gsuffa Member

        Interesting observation. I once stretched out an image of my 2002 and was surprised to be looking at a 65 Corvair.

        Not sure anyone really invented setting a box on a box though.

        2
  9. Arthell64 Member

    I always liked the styling of this car. Seemed like VW went the extra mile in the styling of this car.

    3
  10. Larry

    Which is it? “An exceedingly rare Type 34 model” or that “plenty of these striking coupes made their way into the U.S”?

  11. Philip Bregar

    Bob S, was it a light yellow Ghia? A policeman in Spring Valley had one, and I’ll bet he still does. He may have been showing it at JCW.

    For me, I’ve always liked the original style Ghia’s better.

    2
    • Bob S

      Phillip, it was a blue one owned by a local school teacher, he said he restored it, and he also had a nicely restored wooden boat that he trailered behind it. Absolutely beautiful! I think I still have pictures of it in an old tablet.

      2
    • Bob S

      Phillip, up until about 6 years ago, I was living in that area, and never saw the one you’re talking about, if I had, I’d probably have a cop for a friend! 😂

      1
  12. Retrogreg Member

    I owned a blue/white top one in 1965-8, remember it fondly but suggest potential buyers inspect the rocker panels. Being a Canadian model it had the optional gasoline heater and in it’s day was described as the only car that would deliver better mileage at 80MPH than 40MPH -that heater was thirsty little thing:-)!

    2
  13. Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking Karmann Ghia. I’ve only seen one like this in person. It’s a shame that Volkswagen didn’t change to this appearance after a while. However popular a look may be, nothing stays the same.

    1
  14. Rick D Borstein

    I’m in the Chicago area and would love to see a Type 34 sometime. I was at the big VW show in Fox Lake this summer which had about 200 cars, but I didn’t see one of these.

    1
  15. Paul

    It looks like they stole the body design from the 1964 Corvair

  16. Bob S

    Rick D, is that an annual show? I’m in the Aurora area, and I’ve never heard of it. Would love to attend that one!

    1
    • Rick D Borstein

      Yes, now that I looked into it, the show is actually at VW of Crystal Lake at 5213 W. Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake, IL. The last two years, there has also been a corvette show across the street. Lots of cool VWs, bugs, Karman Ghias, Transporters, Dokas, etc.

      4
  17. Bob McK Member

    Wish it were a convertible.

  18. Will Irby
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Link didn’t work, but found it with a search of current inventory.

      Really? I don’t think this one is better condition, there is rust bubbling up all over the body! And for $27,500?

      It will be interesting to see where the bidding goes….

  19. Bob S

    I just read an article about the type 34, and according to what I read, the biggest reason I could come up with as to why they didn’t import them here, it that they were over twice the price of a beetle. As much as I like them, that would be a pretty hard pill to swallow, especially in the 60s.

    3
  20. Fred W

    I remember being fascinated with these when I ran across one in a junkyard in 1971 at age 14 . The car was in about the same condition as this one. If it had a title, I probably would have dragged it home to “restore”, but would have incurred the wrath of my dad (A WW II vet) about buying a “Krautwagen”.

    3
  21. Bullethead

    It looks like a very solid candidate for sympathetic restoration: freshen the mechanicals and paint, detail the interior and drive it. The mileage is likely 114,850km as these have 5-digit odometers, and while it is clean it has definitely gone further than 14,850 klicks. Maybe double that since 114,850 is just 70,000 miles.

    As the owner of a ’63 T34, sales prices are naturally of personal interest. Rough projects to “patina”-ed air-bagged rats to dead nuts originals will have wildly different asking numbers. Recent sales have been between high $20s and low $40s, the latter for a no stories, exceptional original. This car could be a bargain if bought right. One thing to keep in mind though… while the chassis is Type 3 with parts availability, EVERYTHING ELSE is specific to this model. Most replacement trim, interior bits and lighting are nearly unobtainium. Thankfully rubber weatherstripping is available, but not all. Buy one like this that’s largely intact and you’ll be way ahead.

    1
  22. Todd Van Winkle

    As a longtime VW fanatic, I’ve always loved these type 34’s..way high on the cool factor scale, as well as being so gorgeous! I hope she gets cleaned up and driven, like all VW’s were meant to!!

    1
    • Chris M.

      Any relation to Rip?

      1
  23. bog

    My two cents worth…these weren’t imported (this is a ’67, not a ’68, BTW), because VW (hence Karmann) didn’t want to modify them to pass the new US safety and smog regs. Therefore, they have carbs and those lovely bumpers and quite interesting styling. They are “slow” because they were never meant to be true sports cars, and even though bigger engine, also bigger car. I was fortunate enough to be stationed in the Army in West Germany when these came out and saw them on the street regularly. Lots and lots of wonderful (and quirky) cars on the road then. I had a brand new ’67 GTA (real) Fairlane and that car dwarfed nearly everything on the road except trucks , LOL ! Miss those years…and the prices on all those fabulous Euro cars too !

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