After the second World War and into the 1960s, as prosperity increased with the car-buying public, the demand rose for better, more elegant and entertaining vehicles. Up until this time, most manufacturers concentrated on rather bland and functional cars. Volkswagen, of course, produced the Beetle and a Microbus.
Looking for a new “image” car, Volkswagen contracted with Karmann, one of Germany’s oldest coachbuilding firms, to build such a vehicle. Karmann, in need of a design, approached the famed Italian styling house Carrozzeria Ghia. Before this approach was made one of the main overseas clients of Ghia had been Chrysler, which contracted (for around 20 years in total) to build a series of dream- or show-car exhibits. Very few of these dream cars reached production, and one car they did not produce evolved into the Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia.
By 1953, Ghia’s sole owner was Luigi Serge, who is credited with his staff for the design of the Karmann-Ghia. Influenced very heavily by Virgil M. Exner’s Chrysler d’Elegance of 1952, Serge simply scaled down the d’Elegance to fit the VW chassis and gave it a new round nose, which provided ample luggage space.
VW and Karmann were entranced by the prototype, and the car went into production in 1954. The 2+2 coupe was a great success, and 444,300 of these legendary vehicles were produced between 1954 and 1973.
This car was first registered on April 4, 1964, on Torino plate number TO6 19 521, to Giuseppe Rossatto, a resident in San Mauro. It remained in the same ownership until May 1980, when it was sold to Fernando Bassini, also of Torino. Remaining in Torino, it sold again in November 1982 to Alberto Grassoti, who in turn sold it to Silviana Maonolino in July 1983. Around one month later the car was chosen and acquired by Carrozzeria Ghia to become an exhibit in its heritage museum collection. Following a restoration by Ghia, this car has been a static display and is now being sold by the parent company of Ghia-Ford Motor Company-following the closure of the Ghia facilities within the past year.
Overall, this car presents very well but has been in storage for a long time. The interior appears in as-new condition and has probably not been sat in since restoration. It retains all of its original instruments and correct badges on the front and rear. Owing to a long period of inactivity, we do recommend careful recommissioning prior to road use.