After the end of World War II, and for many – the Great Depression, the world was slowly beginning to recover. Over the next decade, people saw a steady increase in income and subsequently, the world saw more demand for the concept of “getting more for one’s money”. Particularly in the automotive world, there was a dire lack in vehicles that were anything but ‘simple and functional’. Cue, an emergence of flagship cars from auto companies such as Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and Ford.
Volkswagen in particular at that time were marketing fairly well in small and efficient cars – the Beetle and the Bus – and had built quite the reputation for being reliable, so they wanted a model to be rather more of an “image car”. Through the desire of W. Karmann GmbH, producers of the Beetle Cabriolet for VW, the Karmann Ghia concept was born.
Chrysler contracted with the Italian styling and coach building firm of, aptly named, Ghia, to build a series of “image cars”. Some of these cars were ultimately produced, but one car that did not make it to production ended up benefiting Volkswagen substantially. That car would eventually become the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. While Chrysler worked with Ghia, Volkswagen contracted with the German coach builder, Karmann to build their “image” car, and Karmann, in need of a design, approached Ghia and somehow the old Chrysler design resurfaced and was modified to fit the floorpan of the VW Beetle.