Karmann-ghia Lowlight Registry

ID-166: VIN 1124243

CoupeYear: 1956

Driven, not trailered.
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VIN Number: 1124243
Body Number (behind the spare tire):: 2810
Karmann Tag Number (56,57 & some 58s): K01011/: 2784
Engine Number: 1345404
Date_of_Manufacture: March, 1956
Original Destination: Germany
Current Location: USA
Body Color: Pelican Red
Roof Color: Black

Full Description: Approximately 115,000 km on the original drive train. Fully restored in 1998 to as original as I could make it. European spec Ghia with proper headlights and tail lights.

For sale: http://www.carandclassic.com/car/C137144/

Produced March, 1956. Body #2784, European specification, originally purchased in Germany by a member of the US military, then shipped to the US. I have the “birth certificate” from Volkswagen showing the build date and original colors (not the original “dealer sticker, it is a letter from VW you can obtain by writing the factory).

This first model year car has the following unique to 1956 features: separate vent controls for the driver and passenger, using a twist knob, front bonnet support frames are steel stampings (became square for 1957 onward years), unique front seats with screw style back rest adjusters, footwell heater outlets with aluminum trim rings, original rubber mats, rubber center tunnel cover, and footwell rubber (all 1956 model only). At body #3000 several running changes were made to address early design problems, including correcting the rear glass fit to the body (it gaps in the corners and is not water-tight).

The 1956 – 1959 Karmann Ghia body features a different front and rear contour, known as the “low-light Karmann Ghia” due to the position of the headlights and tail lights in the fenders. This gives the car a sleeker shape and reflects the original design intent of the Ghia design studio. The body lines changed in 1960 to their final shape (through 1974). The rear quarter glass is fixed (they became swing openable in 1960). The front air inlets are smaller and feature a two slat trim, as opposed to the 1960 and later inlet.

Other features that make this car extremely rare include: Original European specification car, all original glass (including solid tempered windshield), non-sealed beam headlights (separate “V” fluted lenses), yellow and red rear lights (as opposed to solid red for USA) with original red glass reflectors, original green tinted clear plastic sun visors, kilometer speedometer (approximately 114,000 km, or roughly 70,000 miles on the vehicle); European license plate hole pattern in rear deck, correct large Karmann Ghia deck lid script, original front VW enameled nose badge, and correct “bat-ear” Karmann coachwork badges, along with an original German dealer plate applied to the drivers front fender, original VW VIN plate and Karmann Coachwork body ID tag; original drivetrain, chassis and suspension (the original 36 horsepower 1200cc engine was rebuilt approximately 12 years ago and runs like new); original wiring and 6V electric system; all original doors and bonnets, original fuel tank (with reserve tap – these cars did not ship from the factory with a fuel gage), correct owners manual, original glove box decal (in German), Firestone “gum dipped” whitewall tires, original steering wheel (restored).

The car underwent a full body – off restoration in the late 1990's. Every nut and bolt was cleaned and all the chassis pieces were given a full gloss finish. Paint is Glazuit urethane, color matched to the original glove box door (Pelican Red, with a black roof, as shipped from the factory). The underside of the car is as nice as the rest of the body. Every attempt was made to find original interior materials, including “oatmeal” colored German square-weave carpet, correct headlining materials, vinyl and corduroy for the seats, and piping. All the chrome was re-plated except for the exterior mirrors (installed by the original owner, re-applied to maintain originality – exterior mirrors were also not factory supplied until later models). I have all the receipts for the restoration, and an album of photos showing what was done.

Since its restoration this Karmann Ghia spent two and half years in Volkswagen of America's corporate museum (when they were located in Michigan), and then has spent the rest of its time in Ohio. The car is driven a few hundred miles every year.

There are several “low-light Karmann Ghia” registries on the internet, based in the US and in Europe. The total number of 1956 Ghia's made was approximately 4500, with less than 300 accounted for today. Most are either rusted shells, VIN plates only, or have been modified (big engines, etc.). The total number of bone-stock original and restored 1956 Karmann Ghia's is much less than 20 worldwide. As a first model year example in fully restored condition my car represents the rarest of the rare examples of this model, more so being European specification. The car has been finished to a very high standard, and consistently wins awards in every show it is entered in (I have a collection of trophies and plaques as a result). Simply put this is the best example of a first year Karmann Ghia I know to exist.

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Listed by: a_kennison

Info: owner of a 1956 Ghia