‘Donatella’ is a mint 1971 Karmann Ghia Coupe, with black interior and ‘cardinal red’ enamel exterior finish. She was my second restoration, after ‘Bow Wow.’  When I purchased her she had been given an ‘OK’ paint job (some orange peel)  which I managed to buff out over time. Other than the paint job, not much else had been done. There was some rust in the front quarter panels above the wheels, where fresh air (and often water) are drawn into the cabin. The dashboard was cracked and most of the carpeting was pretty roached.


Some work was done to the engine, an original ‘oil breather’ was added over the carburetor. The cars wiring had been barbarized over the years, resulting in an electrical fire. Eventually the car’s entire wiring harness was replaced. The prior owner gave her a set of pseudo ‘Porsche’ wheel rims, with larger diameter tires. I’ve since brought her back to stock with proper WV rims and tires.


Donatella is a fun car to drive that turns heads, often wistfully, in many people my age. We’ve taken her out to local restaurants and often walking back to the car will see groups of people taking turns having their picture taken with her.  She starts up easy, idles beautifully, and could probably drive to California. The sexy Karmann Ghia styling more than offsets the utilitarian 1600 cc engine, which often gave Karmann Ghias the nickname ‘world’s slowest sportscar.’


1971 is kind of a watershed year for Karmann Ghias. it’s the last year that featured the traditional ‘dish rag’ bumpers (the idea being that the upper rails were a good place to dry towels) and the traditional front suspension. Unlike Beetles, Karmann Ghias have front disc brakes so they stop a bit more like modern cars.


STATUS: In my collection

AVAILABILITY: Not for sale