Total Production: 42,000
In 1950, Karmann approached Volkswagen with a design for a new vehicle. Karmann had a working relationship with Volkswagen that went prior to this project that included the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. The idea was initially rejected by Volkswagen so Karmann approached the coachbuilding company Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin who built the first prototype of the vehicle, completing in 1953. In November of 1953, Nordhoff, the head of Volkswagen at the time, gave approval for the vehicle to be built by his company. On July 14th in 1955, the vehicle was unveiled to the public.
There were basically three types of the Karmann-Ghia's built during its life span that included the type 14, type 34, and the TC.
The type 14 featured a round body-style that received very little modifications through its production life-span, dating from 1955 through 1974. Most of the modifications that did transpire were head and tail light modifications, bumper and side air vent changes.
During which time about 340,000 coupes and 81,000 convertibles were produced in Osnabruck Germany.
Manufacturing continued from 1962 through 1972 in Sao Bernardo do Campo in Brazil where 176 convertibles and about 23,000 coupes were produced. These type 14 models were basically unaltered for the original design except for different bumpers, taillights and vent windows.
The Type 34, or 'Razor Edge', was produced from 1961 through 1969 during which time 43,000 examples were produced. It was introduced in September of 1961 at the Frankfurt Auto show. The Type 34 were 'boxier' than their Type 14 counterparts and cost more to produce. The interior was larger and better equipped, the structure was stronger, and the engine was faster. They were built in coupe design only, however in 1963 a sunroof could be had. The engine was initially 1500cc in size but later increased to 1600cc.
The 1600 TC, which stood for Touring Coupe, was produced in Brazil from 1970 through 1975. They were based on the design of the type 34. During its lifespan, 18,000 examples were produced.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2009
Technically referred to as the Volkswagen 1500, the Volkswagen Type 3 was a range of small vehicles manufactured by the German manufacturer Volkswagen. Originally launched in 1961, the Type 3 came in two varieties, the Karmann Ghia 1500 with a coupe body, also known as the Type 34, and the Notchback with a notchback saloon body. The Squareback, the original Variant came with an estate body, arrived in 1962. To this day, VW continues to name all of its station wagon model variations Variant. In 1966, the Fastback, a fastback coupe version was unveiled. Though it did not enter into production, a convertible was announced with the original model range.
Introduced to diversify Volkswagen's product range to a level beyond the Type 1, the Type 2, and the Karmann Ghia, the Type 3 was a way for Volkswagen to manufacture a much more sophisticated vehicle. In order to bring distinction to their line, Volkswagen introduced the Type 3 in 1961 to diversify its product range past the Beetle and the Bus.
The Type 3 line was not exported to the U.S. through Volkswagen of America until the 1966 model year, though the line was available to much of the world.
Based on the air-cooled flat-4 engine found on the Type 1 models, the 1500 was outfitted with a 1.5 L (1498 cc) engine. To make allowances for a much lower engine profile, the long block remained very similar to the Type 1, but was drastically enhanced. The Type 3 now featured increased area for cargo stowage along with the ‘Suitcase' or ‘Pancake' engine.
Eventually the engine's displacement was increased. Starting out as a single or dual carbureted 1.5 liter engine, the Type 3 engine received a larger displacement of 1.61 1600 cc. In 1968 it was modified to now include fuel injection and a fully automatic transmission. The Type 3 became one of the first mass production consumer vehicles with this feature.
Another large advancement from the Type 1 to the Type 3 was the front suspension. The Type 3 was the first Volkswagen system to incorporate transvers torsion bars, rather than the Type 1's torsion leaves. The torsion bars on the Type 3 were cross-mounted to connect each individual torsion bar to both front wheels. Pioneered by Bosch, the Type 3 was the world's first volume produced car to electronic fuel injection.
Allowing for much more luggage space than the Beetle, the motor was located under a panel in the rear boot. The Type 3 model also featured an air conditioner and wall-to-wall carpeting.
In 1967 Volkswagen expanded their product line with the introduction of various Type 3 models. These were basically body style variations, Fastback, Squareback, and Notchback models that were based on Type 1 mechanical underpinnings.
The product line expansion again occurred in 1969 with the Type 4 models, unpopular to the public, known as the 411 and 412 models. These models differed drastically with the introduction of uni-body construction, a more reliable powerplant, fully automatic transmission and electronic fuel injection.
After receiving much acclaim for the ‘Type 1', Karmann-Ghia decided to create the Type 3 on a variation of the Beetle chassis. The result was the Karmann-Ghia 1500. This new model shared the chassis, engine and transmission layout of the Variant, Notchback and Fastback models of the Volkswagen 1500. Production began late in 1961, with all of those early models sold as 1962 model year vehicles.
With a total of 42,432 models produced, the final Type 3 Ghia was built in June 1969.
In 1968, the notchback Type 3 was introduced in Brazil. Unfortunately the model was met with little success due to its boxy shape. The Zé do Caixão, nicknamed after a poluar Brazilian movie character was eventually exported to Mexico where it was sold as the Brasilia.
The Volkswagen TL, a fastback/hatchback version sold slightly better, and was produced from 1970 to 1976. Originally produced as a 2-door version, a 4-door model later came on the scene. Neither the 2-door model or the 4-door enjoyed as much success as the Variant though.By Jessica Donaldson