Rides from the Readers: 1974 VW Karmann Ghia

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1974 VW Karmann Ghia
Rico Rojas

Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, tips@hagerty.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.

Today’s featured car is a 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. These handsome little vehicles combined the Beetle’s frugal air-cooled flat four with elegant Italian styling. Turin-based Ghia designed the petite coupe’s shape, and German coachbuilder Karmann constructed the bodies. With 46 horsepower from its 1585-cc four-pot, VW could hardly market the 1974 Karmann Ghia—or any other year—as a fire-breather. Instead, the car delivered on the promise of stylish, practical everyday transportation.

The final year boasted 14 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seat since, unlike previous years, VW couldn’t market the coupe as a 2+2—the vestigial rear seats weren’t designed to integrate seat belts.

1974 VW Karmann Ghia
Rico Rojas

This particular Karmann Ghia introduced owner Rico Rojas to classic car ownership. Ironically, he only found this Neptune Blue coupe because he was helping his friend shop for one. When Rojas stumbled upon this clean example, he immediately called his friend—who decided the timing wasn’t right. That was perfect for Rojas, who already loved the VW’s styling and the ready availability of parts for its Beetle-sourced engine. This 1974 coupe was too good to pass up … and sure enough, it took up residence in Rojas’ garage that very afternoon.

“The great thing about driving a classic car is that no matter where you go or where you park it, you always put a smile on people’s faces—and most of the time, you hear a fun story from strangers,” Rojas writes. He admits he’s considered selling the Karmann Ghia and replacing it with something packing more than 46 horsepower—”no laughs, please, but … 0–60 in five minutes is all the speed I need to turn heads!”

 

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