Go Green: 1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible EV – SOLD!

Jul 2020 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Topless Thursday

September 1st Update – While updating our past Topless Thursday listings, we confirmed the private seller deleted their Craigslist post, so we’re calling this electrified Karmann Ghia “Sold!”

These days a freshly and properly restored Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible can reward its seller with a tidy profit as values and desirability continue to climb.  Another emerging trend on these cars is to convert the original woefully underpowered air-cooled flat-four engine to a torquey and quiet electric motor.  An EV conversion vastly improves the performance of the original car, as long as the converter provides suitable battery storage for a decent range.  Unfortunately, we believe the limited 50-mile range of this otherwise pretty 1971 Karmann Ghia Convertible recently listed on Craigslist in Eatontown, New Jersey is what has the seller listing it for only $8,500. For reference, that asking price compared to the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool comes it at $1,900 less than the #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) level of $10,400. 

During its eighteen-year production run from 1956 through 1974, Volkswagen’s Type 14 or Karmann Ghia remained largely unchanged, save for minor changes needed to meet changing safety requirements over that time.  The stylish designed by Ghia in Italy never really needed to change as it was and remains a timeless design to this day. The beautiful body was actually very complex to build, however the costs of that were offset by relying on Beetle running gear to keep the car affordable.

With fresh paint and interior in a great color combination sporting gorgeous period-correct mini-lite wheels, this is our preferred way to go green.  The Achilles Heel of this Ghia is the limited range.  However, the beauty of the EV conversion craze is that the technology is constantly evolving.  In this example, the dated and heavy lead-acid Chevy Volt batteries installed in 2016 could likely be replaced with a much more powerful pack such as this  Tesla Model S Lithium Ion Pack currently offered by EV West.  We argue that with some solid planning and fabrication, the Tesla battery pack could be placed in the frunk for much better weight distribution and a much more realistic range that will only increase the car’s fun factor and value.  That’s a winter project you can start planning and designing now while you enjoy the warm top-down weather, albeit only fifty miles at a time.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible Electric Vehicle
Fresh paint, new top, new upholstery, new tires, new brakes, new wheels & tires, and LED headlights. Converted in 2016. Has bluetooth phone connection, radio & USB ports.

Electric drivetrain includes:
Netgain Warp 9 Series Wound DC Motor
Evenetics Soliton JR 600 amp Controller
180 volt 16.5 kwh system with Li-ion batteries from Chevy Volt with battery balancers
Range: 50 miles
Charges on 120 or 240 volt power

Do you have a Karmann Ghia story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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