Broad Ripple is one of Indianapolis’s few hip, happening neighborhoods, which makes it a happy old-car hunting ground. I suspect that the street-parked survivors are owned by locals, while the lovingly pampered classics are driven there by people from wealthy neighborhoods who want a little Broad Ripple cachet to rub off on them. This delightful Karmann-Ghia could belong to either group.
I found it parked in front of a natural-foods store, just the kind of place a local would visit. Yet it’s very clear that this car has been pampered and well-loved. In any case, it just seems right to see a Karmann parked here.
We’ve dealt with the Karmann-Ghia before (CC here), but here’s a snapshot view: In the 1950s, Volkswagen was known for reliable but unexciting cars. German coachbuilder Karmann teamed up with Italian design firm Ghia to change all that, at least in the looks department. Ghia designed the body, which Karmann built and then dropped onto a modified Beetle chassis. A total of 445,000 Karmann-Ghias were turned out over the car’s run, from 1955 to 1974.
As a true Volkswagen of its day, the Karmann changed very slowly over the years, which makes it hard to pin down model years. The few things I know about Karmanns tell me that this one is from the 1960s; until 1960 the headlights sat lower on the fender tips, and these are 1960s-style front turn-signal lamps and tail lights. This thread at TheSamba.com, which charts the K-G’s changes in greater detail, helped me triangulate this car’s age more precisely: It lacks a fuel-filler door on the body, meaning it’s pre-1968. Because there’s no Volkswagen badge on the decklid I thought at first this might be from 1962, but the restorer must have left the badge off as this car appears to have the wider rear track that debuted in 1967, plus some other features that date it to later than 1962.