I don’t spend a lot of time talking about air-cooled models on these pages, and that’s a huge gap in Volkswagen’s history. It’s also not so long ago that VW continued to crank out brand new Beetles alongside their water-cooled replacements. The proliferation paved the way not only for the water-cooled replacement models I tend to favor, but some pretty awesome air-cooled examples, too.
Of those my favorite certainly must be the Type 34. I dissected Volkswagen’s first attempt to move upscale in an article on The Truth About Cars last year:
Volkswagen’s Other Karmann Ghia: the Type 34
Basically, like the Phaeton, the Type 34 was a sales failure. It was too expensive – costing about 50% more than a normal Type 14 Ghia. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t a very good looking failure. While the underpinnings were shared with its less exotic 1500 cousins, the upscale Karmann Ghia was aimed squarely at making peasants feel like landed gentry and certainly looked the part. Sweeping character lines ran the length of the car, giving it its signature “razor” nickname. Added to the upscale look in terms of desirability today is rarity. Never imported to the United States, the Type 34 only achieved about 42,500 units – less than 10% of the total number of the more popular and familiar Type 14 Karmann Ghia. But we’re lucky to find one today in Michigan:
Kit cars don’t get much love on these pages. Well, to be fair, they don’t get much love, period. But kits cars do offer something; exotic(ish) looks on a pedestrian budget. And strangely enough, some kit car and limited-manufacture cars have begun to be considered collectable in their own right. So when I came across two unique Volkswagen-based bits, I thought “why not?”
So today we have two very limited production examples of fiberglass laid over a VW chassis. Which is the winner? Let’s start with the Bradley GT II:
I love the Unimog for its massive capability as a work truck – but also its general insanity as a road-legal vehicle. Today’s 1983 U1500 model (square cab, short wheelbase) was restored in 2000 to the state we see today. The Gumby-green is a playful choice, with the side graphics and hilariously large tires conspiring to help this resemble a childhood toy of mine. It’s a bit of a reverse-mullet, all party up front with the color and laughable size, but serious business out back with a bed that doesn’t just dump backwards, but in three directions. Though very clean and well cared for, it’s also ready to rumble – be that in the mud, shipping yards, or apparently an odd automobile-themed birthday party, according to the pictures. The one hangup for all of that business and pleasure is a pricetag way above the usual (albeit older) Unimog’s we see.
During the first few years of my life, there were two cars in my parents’ garage. My mother’s 1978 Fiat 131 2-door and my father’s commuter workhorse, a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. This was a big year for the venerable People’s Car, with a number of upgrades on tap. For starters, a new 12 volt electrical system replaced the old 6 volt system. A larger engine with more horsepower could be found under the hood and a few refinements such as rear backup lights, two speed wipers and a external passenger side mirror were included. If one looked closely, they would notice a slightly different face on the Bug, with sealed beam headlamps to meet ever tightening US regulations.
The green 1967 Beetle I grew up with wasn’t my father’s first Bug, nor was it his first 1967 model. He was a fan of this model year and often waxes poetic about the ’67 Beetle he had when he was a bachelor, with a bored out engine, painted white with the chrome trim blacked out. It was a purposeful looking little thing, but sadly after he got married and moved to San Francisco, that locale wasn’t the best place for my mother to learn how to drive a manual gearbox. I’d like to think if he had to do it all over, a 1967 Bug like this one for sale in South Carolina would be at the top of the list.
A rare bird amongst older Volkswagens, the Type 34 isn’t well known despite being one of the best looking products to come out of Wolfsburg. This is in part because the Type 34 was never officially offered in the U.S., but despite this hurdle a reported 400 out of the known remaining 2000 models reside here. With hints of some older Mercedes-Benz models and even the similarly rear-engined Corvair, the Type 34 was a very pretty – though very pricey – option that hoped to take Volkswagen to a new market. Today’s example has already undergone all of the hard work and merely waits for the next owner:
Model: Karmann Ghia Type 34
Engine: 1.5 liter flat-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 43,500 mi
Price: $25,500 Buy It Now
This Car is for Sale by Owner, No middle men Involved. Earlier listing with consignee did not work out so I am selling it directly. This car is in Tennessee and buyer can pick it up after full payment is made. This is a beautiful car and has never been shown after restoration. INTERIOR IS EXCELLENT. I believe that this is the absolute best restored T34 anywhere in the world. All chrome is triple plated. All guages works including clock, Missing bulbs for fog lights. Electrical SYSTEM has been thoroughly serviced. Mechanically this car is excellent.
Read more: http://nashville.ebayclassifieds.com/classic-cars/nashville/1963-vw-t34-karman-ghia-fully-restored-all-numbers-match/?ad=29855590#ixzz2hHedb7uY
Light “Pacific Green” and white seem to be the go-to colors for older Volkswagens and look great on this car. The interior does look excellent, chrome is redone, and the car is reported to be mechanically sorted. Great, the hard work is out of the way! The photos don’t really seem to do the car justice but it does look good. Value? A bit hard to peg; top dollar on these Type 34s is $30,000 – but that car was sold in Europe where they’re more rare, and it was completely original. Hagerty pegs the value of a condition 1 show Karmann Ghia at about $20,000, but that’s the more common coupe rather than the rare Type 34. I would say this car is probably in between condition 1 and 2 and would guesstimate the value around $20,000 – but at that price, you’ve buying a car that someone has taken care of the major restoration headache. You can therefore be happy to drive to shows and meets in a car that few people know about and even fewer have ever seen; this is a special car, indeed!