Sunday, March 6, 2016
This 1970 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Cabriolet appears to be very original and fairly well maintained. No, it’s not a Porsche 356, but it sure won’t end up costing as much either! According to the seller, the paint is what it left the factory with and seems to be in pretty nice shape as well. It’s located in Manassas, Virginia and is up for sale here on eBay at no reserve, with bidding a very reasonable $1,875 as I write this.
While there are a few dings and blemishes, I don’t see any rust and I’m pleased that the stock wheels and hubcaps are in place (although I wouldn’t turn down some EMPI’s or similar 8-spokes). The matching boot cover is a nice touch as well, I’m guessing that is factory issue as well. Unusually for a Karman Ghia, the nose doesn’t appear bent either!
The pictures of the underside of the car look pretty good too! Were Karmann Ghias painted body color underneath? I’m really surprised to see the car this solid, although since the seller mentions areas of the floor and chassis have “minor areas of rust” some communication with the seller is probably in order. Of course, with 114,000 road miles, I’d expect some blemishes!
The interior looks like a car that’s been well-used but taken care of, like the rest of the car. I’d probably replace the dash top; new ones are available like this one for $300 or less. I love the picture on the right; the dust and the pretty gauge are just begging to be cleaned and driven!
The engine is shown running, which is a nice thing that not enough sellers do. It inspires just that little bit more confidence in the condition of the vehicle and the honesty of the listing. In this case, we’re looking at the original 1584 cc flat four, nothing that will turn the car into a screamer, but enough to enjoy top-down cruising when the weather allows. I like this one, and while I realize this is no Porsche, it still makes me wonder how this can be a small fraction of the value of a comparable 356? Let us know your thoughts!
From Colin S – Tired of seeing these 1960’s VW 21-window vans? Every year for the past decade what is being pulled out of fields or streams just looks worse and worse as what remains now are slim pickings. These VW’s were first used until beaten to death, then they were left to rot for 20+ years. They are now pulled out of a field with a tree growing through and listed on ebay or CL for crazy money. Take this one found here on craigslist for example. I wonder if the post-restoration buyer of this VW would still want it – whether $200,000, $150,000, or at all – if he saw what it looked like before restoration began?
If this were a one-of-a-kind Bugatti Royale, or Duesenberg, I guess I could better understand the rationale. That being historic preservation. But VW vans were produced in the millions and are ubiquitous, like Model A Fords. Sure, the 21-window van was not produced in such high numbers, but they are really not “rare” by definition. I’m looking forward to reading about these when the market has fallen out / corrected, and prices have dropped to $50,000 or less, where they should be.
A similar thing happened to post-WWII Ford woody wagons. As the market shot up 20+ years ago, speculators were scrambling, pulling wrecks out of fields. The wood bodies on most were shot. Rotted out. Still, people were asking $30,000 for what amounted to wrecks. Sellers would tell you these sell for $120,000 to $150,000.or more once restored. What they failed to say was the high figures they were referencing were for original, largely unrestored Ford Woodies, not for rotted out wrecks with reproduced bodies with pieces cut from some outfit in Florida that would supply all the wood pieces as a kit.
When it comes to vintage cars, I generally define “rare” if fewer than 100 of a type of vehicle survives worldwide. Woodies, like these VW vans are nice vehicles, but they are not “rare”. No doubt about it, many cars that would have been considered “too far gone” even 10 years ago are now being restored. The question of “what can be restored” is now in direct conflict with “what should be restored” (and what should not) I see these questions being asked more and more now. The argument between commerce, profit and ethics. ie: Legalities aside, is cutting the VIN tag off a rare, wrecked car, then welding it on another car ethical?
These questions are being asked now as the pool of restorable vintage cars depletes. I note that what should be restored, and what should not, is becoming a more important issue in the collector car world. This is also an on-going theme and area of concern for many Barn Finds followers.
The issue we need to debate and come to some consensus on is – if a vintage car – whether a classic Mustang, Camaro, Super Bee, Dodge Charger, etc is pulled out of a field (rusted out, burned, previously wrecked in a collision, with countless bullet holes, a tree growing through it, etc) and then restored using mainly reproduction parts, where only perhaps 10% – 20% of the original car remains – what is it then? And what’s it really worth?
*Attached are 2 photos I took of a 1948 Ford Woody I came across for sale in western, Mass in July, 2012. The price was firm at $30,000. The seller told me it was a sure money-maker. I did the math and concluded it was not.