My 1972 Karmann Ghia Story
I bought my first Karmann Ghia in 1971, a 1959 black coupe. I used it to drive it to and from work for about 4 years. I loved the gas mileage, but it took almost the entire trip to work in the morning before the passenger compartment started to get warm. Not a great car for cold winter mornings.
In early 1975 I saw an ad for a used 1972 Karmann Ghia in the Bellingham Herald, our local newspaper, and decided to check it out. The car was originally purchased by Mr. Maynard Palmer Feb. 3, 1972, from Lange Volkswagen in Bellingham Washington. As shown in the maintenance records, the car was maintained by Lange VW, Rothausen VW, and Huggins Texaco through 10-2-1973 (23,423 miles).
The Langstraat’s bought the car from Rothausen Volkswagen Dec. 15, 1973, with 25,950 miles on the odometer, as recorded on the Used Car Guarantee. My understanding is that Mrs. Langstraat intended to drive it to/from work, but after buying the car she found out that she could not drive a stick shift, so they decided to sell the car after having it only a short time.
When I spotted the ad for the Karmann Ghia, it was listed with low mileage and sounded good, so I went to Lynden to look it over. I bought the car from the Langstraat’s February 2, 1975, with much of the original paperwork (owners manual, Vokswagen Diagnosis Coupons, Volkswagen Passing, Braking and Tire Reserve Load Data pamphlet, Volkswagen Distributors and Dealers in North and Central America booklet). I still have the paperwork for the car, including the Used Car Guarantee from 1973 and the 12,000 and 18,000 mile Volkswagen Diagnosis and Maintenance Test Reports.
I drove the 1972 Karmann Ghia to/from work in Mount Vernon, about 25 miles each way, from 1975 until 1981. I found it to be a nicer car than my 1959 Model and the passenger compartment heated up much, much faster. It was warm in about a half a mile or less; which was much better on cold winter mornings.
Our longest trip in the car was to and from Springfield, Oregon in July 1975, to visit my daughter and son-in-law. We hauled two tricycles in the back, with the seat folded down, for their two daughters. Most of the rest of the miles on the car were from local Western Washington trips and to/from work.
Being a mechanic by trade I maintained the car myself, changing oil, rotating tires, and doing any other required maintenance. Maintenance records and fuel mileage are recorded in my “little black book” that is available with the car. The car was last licensed for road use through March 1990. It’s been sitting in my garage, covered, most of the time since then, with an occasional excursion outside for cleaning and making sure it still runs. In 2014, my son and I replaced the brake calipers and brake hoses, and replaced the steering dampener. We also found that we couldn’t keep it running at idle, so overhauled the carburetor. We tried several things to get it to idle right, to no avail, so replaced the carburetor with a new one. I have the original carburetor with the car, in case it can be fixed.
We also recently cleaned up the voltage regulator because it wasn’t charging correctly (as noted by the red “brake” light on the dash being on). After cleaning up the voltage regulator, it now charges correctly.
The interior of the car is almost entirely original, except the leather covering on the steering wheel and the under-the-dash mount for an 8-track tape player, that is available to go with the car.