HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1968 VW Karmann Ghia with a colorful 1-family...

Pick of the Day: 1968 VW Karmann Ghia with a colorful 1-family history

Bought new by the mom, who also rescued it from a devastating California fire


Sometimes, family stories about a collector car seem greater than the car itself, as is the case with the Pick of the Day, a 1968 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia coupe.  Not to take anything away from the Ghia, which is a fun sports car in its own right, but this one-family-owned classic has quite the back story.

The Concord, California, dealer advertising the Ghia on ClassicCars.com includes the lengthy tale from the current owner, whose mother bought the VW new.


Here’s his story as told in the ad:

“My mother bought this car new in 1968. She had suffered a medical setback and ‘felt a little down’ as she put it and she had always wanted a red sports car. It made sense that a Ghia was her choice because my parents had owned several Bugs starting with a 1956 with the only gauge being an odometer/speedometer and a flip valve when you ran out of fuel.

“Mom was so coordinated she could flip it when she ran out so quickly she did not have to restart the engine. My parents drove to Washington D.C. from Berkeley twice and dad told me the fuel bill was about $200!


“In 1991, when the Oakland Fire Storm hit, and took our old family home, my mom had a tough decision as the fire approached because there were two cars in the carport, my dad’s old Mercedes (a nice car) and the Ghia. Mom chose to drive the Ghia out and thus save her. The Mercedes was lost, and mom had recently spent over $3,000 for needed upkeep.

“I got a call from mom about three weeks after the fire. She expressed doubt that she had made the correct decision vis-a-vis the cars. I said, ‘No mom, you made the right decision!’


“Mom drove the car until she was 87. Having moved to a home on Grizzly Peak Blvd. at the top of Marin Ave. in Berkeley, she traversed Marin (an extremely steep street) with the down shifting and driving skill needed.

“At that point she gave the Ghia to one of my older brothers. He did some fixup including having her repainted and then I took her over about 10 years later. I have had her for about 13 years and significantly redid much of the interior and addressed the other compartments and upkeep.

“Mom had the engine rebuilt in 1995. Even though that was 25 years ago, the mileage since then is less than 8,000 miles.”

The Ghia looks quite nice in the photos with the ad, aside from a couple of significant dents on its left side, one on the rear fender and one in the door. But it is apparently a running piece that could be enjoyed as is.

“My hope is that someone will take good care of her and continue to restore her to the best of their ability and enjoy a beautiful car relic,” the owner concludes.

The asking price for this family heirloom is a modest $13,950.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. I had 2 Ghias in the past. Great cars,the poor mans Porche. The early one was red with a black top and 1250 cc’s I think. The later one was a ’67 1600cc with a few engine mods,95 mph and 31 miles per gallon. went to the Montreal World’s Fair in that one and averaged 30 mpg on the trip.

  2. I flew from California to Maine to purchase my current ’71 Ghia and had her trucked back. This is my 3rd one. I still have “True Blue” (also a ’71 but she needs body work and paint). My first one (a ’67) was actually rolled and totalled by a former boyfriend. Dumped him and bought True Blue.
    I’m 73, so I loved reading about the 87 year old that still drove hers.

  3. His mom made the right decision. Old Mercedes does nothing to me but those old Karmin Ghia’s are really sweet machines.

  4. As a one owner myself, I understand the attachment to the Ghia line of cars. Coming back from Viet Nam in 1972 I was looking for a good looking sports car to drive wile attending colledge. I have always been an admirer of Ghia’s, so when the opportunity presented itself I jumped on it, mine is a 1973 that I drive off the showroom floor of San-Diego Motor Imports in 1973, as it was the last Ghia to be sold by the dealership, at a total cost of $2,956.00. Since then I have re done the car twice and have enjoyed the car ever since, I’m hoping to hand it down to my grandson one day.

  5. I had a 68 . Spent a year and a half restoring it back in 1990 …. loved it .. drove for a little while and then couldn’t hardly give it away 😕. I think I got $1600.00 out of it .. sad


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