On The Floor

1965 Karmann Ghia | Gazzo

Purists, you might want to look away right now. While we’re certainly not drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa, this 1965 Karmann Ghia is getting some rather radical customizations. Think of it as a reimagination of what the original designers would have done… if they got another shot at it today.

The juicy details:

  • 1776 cc Dual Port Engine
  • Stage 2 Freeway Flyer Transmission Built by Aircooled Werks
  • 4-Wheel Wilwood Brakes
  • Fancy Schmancy Audio System from Pioneer
  • 356 Air Grills in the Deck Lid
  • Pro Car Racing Seats
  • Chrome? Nope. Nada. Niet. None.

As we're making some significant modifications to this 1965 Karmann Ghia, you can see we get that custom... means Kustom. Before you scrap a design idea that seems too out there, let's talk about it.

It's been a long haul with this project. We've enjoyed turning a "Poor Man's Porsche" and turning it into a real one. While it's not going to win races, it'll get so many points for style that nobody will notice. This ride looks good, and most importantly, it's exactly what the client imagined.

Did you notice the custom 356 grilles? How about the smooth deck lid? And what about those beehive turn signal lights integrated into the front air intakes? Also, check out the shaved doors... poppers take the place of the handles.

There are more modifications than you might notice at first. It just speaks to the versatility of the classic Volkswagen canvas. There's not much you can't do to a Ghia to get it to look just like you want.


Rough, forgotten, and inhabited by cats and their leftover prey, this 1965 Karmann Ghia wasn’t exactly enticing to the casual observer. It had been in Onnie’s family from the day her great aunt bought it new.

When Aunt Alice died, the Ghia sat in the New Mexico desert for years until Professor Jack finally got the family’s sign-off on restoring it. He reworked the motor and got it running, then took it out to get serious about the restoration. A friend planned to help – until life happened, as it does. Jack went looking for a shop he could trust to turn that Dub into the one in his dreams.

That's when he came to the Darkside. This is one of those restorations where you can't help but say, "Mmmm mmmm,' when you walk by. It's been said that the Karmann Ghia is the poor man's Porsche. Given the beauty and luxe feel of this one, we beg to differ.
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