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Stored 30 Years: 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

The Karmann Ghia was a sports car marketed by VW as a 2+2 coupe from 1955-74. Internally known as the Type 14, some of the mechanical bits of the Karmann Ghia was borrowed from the VW Beetle with styling by Carrozzeria Ghia (Italy) and hand-built bodywork by coachbuilder Karmann (Germany). Though not as popular as the Bug, some 445,000 copies were produced over two decades. This 1969 edition was parked in a barn 30 years ago and left to fend for itself. Located in Johnstown, New York, this coupe is available here on craigslist for $1,700. Thanks to Connbackroads for the barn find tip!

It might be surprising to learn that some of the Karmann Ghia’s styling cues can be attributed to Chrysler’s head designer Virgil Exner who was responsible for the Chrysler d’Elegance and K-310 concept cars, which Ghia had been tasked with prototyping (see the last image in this review to pick out the similarities). Several iterations of VW engines would find themselves in the Karmann Ghia. For 1969, that would have been the 1,493-cc air-cooled flat 4-cylinder motor that was rated at 53 hp and 78 ft-lbs. of torque. We assume this set-up is under the hood (or trunk) of this auto, but since no photos are provided in that area, we don’t know.

Other than the rear bumper, which is rusty, we can’t tell about the overall condition of this VW. There are no dents and obvious other rust, but that’s strictly based on the right side of the rear section of the car. It’s been inside a barn since the 1990s and may not move on its own, and it could be stymied by all the stuff around or near it. The seller refers to a “repairable automatic clutch” but we’re not sure what that means as a 4-speed manual transmission was standard fare. These were simple cars, so restoring this VW might not be too hard if the body and interior are okay.


  1. nlpnt

    VW offered a semi-automatic transmission as an option from ’68 until the aircooled cars started their phaseout around ’74 or so.

    Like 1
  2. SMS

    My 69 Ghia started life as a semi auto. It is now a 4 speed. Not too difficult but found that there are some differences that make it fiddely to get right.

    Are great cars to ride around in and love the looks.

    This car might be a great project or one to leave and go find one that costs a bit more to buy but is cheaper in the long run. Bring a friend along that knows where to look for trouble as there are a few spots

    Like 3
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    the Ghias are neat cars. No telling how neat this one is with 3 lousy pictures and and an ad that doesn’t tell you anything about the car.

    Like 3
  4. Dmcarr

    Coming from the north east I would expect it to be a victim of the tin worm. Even then it would make a good donor.

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