Pick of the Day: VW Karmann Ghia gets Pro Street modification

Small-block GM V8 powers this small German sports coupe

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1969 Karmann Ghia
This 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia has undergone Pro Street modification

Well, this is a different twist on the Pro Street formula…

Pro Street is a popular way to modify vehicles, especially muscle cars and pony cars and such. The idea is to bring the look from the drag strip to the public roadways. Hot Rod magazine traces Pro Street’s heritage back to “Grumpy” Jenkins and his first tube-frame Pro Stock Chevrolet Vega that competed in NHRA events.

But the Pick of the Day isn’t the typical Pro Street candidate. Instead, it’s a 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that has undergone the Pro Street treatment.

1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

“I’ve just turned the corner on age (74) and not surprisingly, my past is now taking its toll on my health, so the one hot rod I’ve been holding on to needs a new home,” notes the private seller in Bellingham, Washington, who is advertising the car for sale on ClassicCars.com.

“I’ve built many short-wheelbased Pro Street cars in the past, a few Anglias, Willys, Austin, Morris, and at least 20 more, and this one has won every show it’s been in and gets people running for their camera.

“A guaranteed head-turner like none other,” he adds.

1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

This Karmann Ghia is built on a full, rectangular-tube-frame chassis, and has a GM positraction rear, as well as coil-over shocks and 4-link suspension. Rear wheels are 15X15 Billet Specialties Street Lites wrapped with Mickey Thompson radial tires.

Volkswagen originally built the Karmann Ghia with a air-cooled 4-cylinder engine in the rear. The Pro Street conversion moved the powerplant to the front and shunned the flat-4 for a “semi-mild” 350cid Chevrolet small block V8, which is linked to a Turbo 350 automatic transmission. 

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There’s a front lower air scoop and a reverse hood scoop to exhaust excess heat from under the hood. A crossflow aluminum radiator with two Flex-a-lite puller fans keep the engine running between 165 and 180 degrees, the seller says, adding that it “has never overheated!”

“For grins, a pair of remote (on dash) controlled electric cutouts were installed just after the “H” pipe in the exhaust system.

The car also has a custom-built 17-gallon fuel cell. 

“The fuel pump is mounted on a plate bolted to the frame, with an extra one already mounted to a plate should the pump ever fail,” the seller notes. “Hate it when that happens.” 

1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

Inside are two electrically adjusted bucket seats with a center console. A new dash was fabricated. The windows are tinted and comply with Washington state regulations, the seller adds. The color is deep maroon over a gold base. 

“Since I am no longer building cars, I also have a nice assortment of performance parts and accessories that will be included as part of the sales price,” the seller says. “I’d estimate the value of them to exceed $2,000.”

The odometer shows 2,779 miles, the distance the car has been driven since the dashboard was redone, the seller says.

The car is being offered for $27,000. To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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