BRAZIL: Karmann-Ghia comeback mulled
Concept broadly follows 1950s original
Unveiled as a prototype at the 1953 Paris motor show, the Beetle based Karmann- Ghia coupé is 60. To duly celebrate the anniversary, the current owner with full model rights, IPL Industrial in São Bernardo do Campo, state of São Paulo, sponsored a contest for college students to revive the model.
VW's Brazil unit built 41,689 units of the original, Type 14 coupe and convertible from 1962 to 1975. The German plant in Osnabrück made 445,238 units between 1955 and 1974. There were also derivatives - the Type 34 in Germany and the Brazil only Karmann Ghia TC.
These two variations, however, did nothing but spoil the clean design of Italian Luigi Segre. American industrial designer Walter Teague considered the Karmann-Ghia one of the world’s most beautiful product designs of its time.
The coachbuilder’s local subsidiary was sold by the Germans and a Brazilian partner of German origin in 2008 to Group Brasil, an auto parts manufacturer, and, last year, to IPL Industrial.
Reviving the Karmann Ghia sports model is the cherished dream of Jonas Assis, current owner of the industrial facilities located a little over a mile away from the VW of Brazil headquarters and main plant. Over the years, the K G company produced the VW SP1 and SP2 model line, trailers and motorhomes, the Ford Escort MkI and II XR3 convertibles and assembled the Land Rover Defender with 40% local content from 1998 to 2006.
“The long-term project is to resume production of the coupé although it requires a partner besides improving the winning design proposal and evaluating its economic feasibility,” Assis told just-auto.
The contest winners were students Felipe Mazzeo and Rodrigo Scarpetta. One of the contest’s guidelines was choosing wheelbases close to those of models manufactured by large Brazilian makes with the aim of trying to attract some of them.
Their work follows the original lines, interior included, but includes technology like LED headlamps and LCD touch screens.
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