Mike De Silva – 1967 VW Karmann Ghia

We recently had the pleasure of carrying out work for Mike on his 1967 Karmann Ghia. The appreciation for the Karmann Ghia started much earlier in his life, however, which led him to eventually purchase his only daily driver back in the 90s – and what a little gem it is!

1967 Karmann Ghia – The Start of Something Special

Mike was born in Sri Lanka, back when it still went by its colonial name — Ceylon.

As you can imagine, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) wasn’t brimming with Karmann Ghias, with at least one in the executive capital of Colombo (and possibly only a handful across the entire country). This is where Mike’s love for the car came to fruition.

Sometime in the mid-to-late 60s, he spotted a Ghia, and it was then he knew that he wanted one.

MDS: “I saw it, and I just thought it was so unique, with its shape and smooth lines. I loved the Italian style design. There was nothing else like it for me.”

In the early 90s, Mike bought his Ghia, sourced from Monterey USA, from a seller in Mansfield Nottinghamshire – and ever since then it has remained his daily driver of choice!

Trusty Daily Driver

Mike’s 1967 Karmann Ghia has always been more for leisure than for business, and it’s always been his first choice. He’s even taken it as far as the German border side of the Netherlands, to see the monumental “Arnhem Bridge”. His reasoning? —

MDS: “Its beauty is in its simplicity. It’s not exactly fast, but combining Italian styling with German manufacturing makes it a unique and reliable car. It does exactly what you need it to do.”

Of course, it’s possible to enhance the performance of the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, and when done right, it can pack a real punch. But Mike prefers it the way the lovely folks at VW intended it – steady and stylish.

He fondly reminisced to us about times where people would stop and stare, wondering “what on earth” it even was. This was usually followed by a look of further confusion when passersby noticed the iconic VW nose badge.

An Enduring Legacy

Mike found Californian Classics via recommendations for Karmann Ghia specialists. To him, it just made sense to go with a company that deals with Karmann Ghias every day.

Due to a worn interior and bodywork riddled with rust bubbles, it was in need of the Cali Classics magic-touch – and work our magic, we did! We took care of the rusted areas and gave it a fresh repaint; re-trimmed the interior; made some adjustment per his request, and made it into a car he can fall in love with again and again!

MDS: “I wanted to find a Karmann Ghia specialist to work on my car, and Californian Classics came highly recommended. The rest is history.”

1967 Karmann Ghia at Californian Classics
Mike De Silva Karmann Ghia
Mike with his Karmann Ghia after we worked our magic
1967 KG - interior
1967 Karmann Ghia
Mike De Silva's 1967 Karmann Ghia (around 2020)
At that time, the carpets were grubby and the seats used a general purpose cushion to hide all the rips. The bodywork had rust bubbles everywhere but that doesn't show up well in the shots. It was in dire need of the Californian Classics touch!
1967 Karmann Ghia outside Californian Classics, East Sussex, UK
About to go back home...