I’ve always wanted to own one of these beautiful cars.

After a more than a decade as the proud of owner of an Aussie delivered 1976 Beetle – the last of its kind – Volkswagen’s Karmann Ghia seemed like a natural progression.

The bloke up the road had a 356 Porsche, in need of restoration – but for my money the Ghia was a better looking car and cheaper too.

Then I got married, then kids happened and then suddenly the Beetle became surplus to needs  – the last time I saw it BUG-076 it was heading down the road to the Snowy Mountains.

The Karmann Ghia was an incredibly successful transformation of the humble Beetle into a stylish coupe.

Sitting on a modified Beetle floorpan with chic Italian styling from design studio Ghia, the Ghia was also upgraded mechanically with a front anti-roll bar fitted to improve handling.  

This, along with the superior aerodynamics, thanks to sleeker, lower lines, allowed the car to achieve a respectable 116 km/h.  

Car designers around the world are quick to acknowledge the Volkswagen when the conversation turns to favourite designs.

The Ghia was better equipped too, in keeping with the coach-built nature of the new model, with features like an electric clock, push-button radio and cigarette lighter.  

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First produced in 1953, the original Type 14 Ghia remained in production until 1973, with some 300,000 produced over the 20 year period.

Technical developments generally mirrored those of the Beetle, with a full, synchromesh gearbox and more powerful 34 bhp 1.2-litre engine adopted in 1960.  

Along the way Volkswagen also added a highly desirable cabriolet version, with a clever folding hood that proved particularly warmer climates like California.  

Practical, affordable and very cool, the Karmann Ghia has always been popular with enthusiasts seeking a stylish European coupe without the high running costs.

The good news is that Shannons has one of these very cool cars up for grabs at its spring auction in Melbourne.

Expected to fetch up to $30,000, the 1960 Karmann Ghia is finished in Sea Blue with matching blue leatherette upholstery.

It is optioned for the right-hand drive market with yellow tail lights, a speedo in miles-per-hour and headlamps for driving on the left side of the road.  

Delivered in Melbourne, the car has been upgraded with a more powerful 1500cc engine.

Receipts indicate the engine has been rebuilt, while the interior has been retrimmed in cream vinyl.

Now with a white roof, the car is currently registered on non-transferable historic plates in Victoria and will be offered for sale unregistered, complete a sales brochure and handbook.

The Shannons auction will be held on September 25.

Edit: the Ghia went for $25,500 – oh well, maybe next time . . .

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.