Corvair-powered Karmann Ghia - today's tempter 2

By: Guy Allen, Unique Cars magazine


Unusual but inspired engine choice

Corvair-powered Karmann Ghia - today's tempter 2
Karmann Ghia is running a Corsair engine.

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We have to confess to doing a bit of a double-take on this - a highly modified Karmann Ghia asking $55,000.

Karmann Ghias used a Volkswagen Beetle type 1 floorpan, matched to unique styling that these days has found a very strong following. They were built over a lengthy period, from 1955 through to 1974 and over 400,000 were made.

Despite the huge numbers, they don't seem all that common today.

Mechanicals included an air-cooled boxer four, starting at 1200cc and moving through the Beetle powerplant progression to 1600cc. Transmission was a four-speed manual.

Putting a new engine in one of these isn't so surprising and, typically, you might expect an air-cooled Porsche powerplant as an upgrade.

However the builders of this car looked to the USA and fitted an air-cooled boxer six out of a Chevrolet Corvair. That car was a rear-engined model built 1959-64. It suffered a poor reputation for handling with the original series running a swing axle rear. A change of design to a more conventional independant rear fixed the issue, but the car struggled to get market traction.

The six came in three different capacities: 2.3lt, 2.5lt and 2.7lt. There was also a turbocharged variant. This car claims a 2.8lt capacity and runs a four-speed manual.

A closer look at the photo gallery reveals this Karmann has had a lot of custom work done, including a unique centra console and interior trim. Overall, a really interesting project.

It's located in Qld and is priced at $55,000.

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