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In the Garage: 1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia owned by George Nossa.

1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia owned by George Nossa.

THE CAR AND ITS OWNER

1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia owned by George Nossa

WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING

After building the cute and practical Beetle for a number of years, Volkswagen took a designer turn in the 1950s by adding the svelte Karmann Ghia to its lineup.  “It was very popular, with a long production run from 1955 to 1974,” says Nossa. “Many people mistake it for an Italian sports car. This is probably because the car was actually designed by Ghia studios in Turin, Italy at the request of Karmann coachbuilders in Germany. Karmann was already building the convertible Beetle for VW and wanted to introduce the new coupe. VW loved the design and, due to the curvy body style, Karmann was willing to produce the car using labor-intensive, handcrafted methods generally reserved for higher-end cars.”

HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT

Since 2005

WHERE HE FOUND IT

Nossa found it at an online auction site.  The VW, originally from Nevada, had been sitting in an upstate New York barn since the late ‘90s. 

CONDITION

“The car was in great shape with no rust, thanks to its easy life in the desert,” he says. “The stock 1600cc VW motor is always reliable and economical. All I've had to do was a tune-up, replace the carburetor and peel off the cheesy lightning-bolt decals on the doors.”

TIPS FOR OWNERS

“Take your time and find one that is rust-free,” Nossa advises. “The engine and mechanicals are shared with the popular Beetle and those parts are easy to find.”

VALUE

Nossa declines to value the coupe.  Hagerty, the classic car insurer, says an example in top condition is worth $19,800.

THE BOTTOM LINE

“My father also had a yellow 1971 Karmann Ghia when I was young,” he says. “My parents brought me home from the hospital in that car and we used it for many camping trips, which, coincidentally, were very close to where I found mine in upstate New York. I was heartbroken when my dad traded his Ghia in for a VW bus for our growing family. I never forgot the Ghia and vowed to get one of my own one day. The Karmann Ghia is an absolute blast to drive. I use mine almost every day.”

If you have an antique, classic or collectible vehicle to be considered for this page, please submit your information and photo(s) at www.inthegarage.net or contact David Fluhrer, Newsday Cars, at thegarage@optonline.net.

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