Santa Claus. I’m not sure why nobody has ever mentioned it but Santa Claus has a Latinate first name or title depending on how you want to look at it, and a Germanic surname. Further confounding the situation, Santa is feminine and Claus is man’s given name, or it can also serve as a neutral surname. So it may be that Santa Claus is a male or female, because it is apparently an ambisextrous name which could be given to an individual of any chromosome and/or self-identification combination. Yes I just made up a new word and I kind of like it, thank you very much. It feels pretty good to be on the cutting edge sometimes.
If Santa Claus was here, it wouldn’t be impolite to ask what the deal is, given the potential for confusion. Especially since one might suspect someone with this sort of name to originate from any of the following countries: Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, as well as Central and South America (except Guyana and Belize which are officially English-Speaking), as well as many Caribbean islands, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Namibia, and Indonesia. Santa Claus is indeed a global citizen.
As is apparently the Karmann Ghia.
Karmann was, until about 10 years ago, the largest independent auto manufacturer in Germany whose services included design and contract production for other car makers. At the end of it’s days it was ingloriously parted out to VW, Valmet and Webasto. All things considered though, Karmann had a good long run given the fickle fortunes that tend to frequently flail through the auto business.
Among the many complete vehicles it manufactured since it’s founding in 1901 were various production runs of the Porsche 356, 911, 912, 914, and 968; the Triumph TR6, the VW Beetle convertible (for a whopping 31 years), the VW Scirocco and Golf, and of course they were also the panel beaters for the Karmann Ghia.
On the other hand, there’s Ghia. Ghia is the Santa to Karmann’s Claus. Officially, it is known as Carrozzeria Ghia which in Italian basically means “Ghia’s Bodies”. This is actually a reference to the fabrication of the sheet metal components of vehicles and not a strong-arm intimidation tactic that yields the inconvenient-to-dispose-of byproduct of a Soprano’s style “legitimate business operation”. I should know as I’m of Italian descent and from New York. So you can trust me. Really.
Anyway, Ghia is a design and coach-building company based in Torino (aka, Turin), Italy. Interestingly, when you lay a map of the state of Florida over top of a map of Italy, Torino would be considered the Tallahassee of Italy. I don’t know why anyone but me would do that, but let’s just say that one could if one were so inclined. Even if it is completely irrelevant, which it clearly is.
Like Karmann, Ghia has had a good long run. But unlike the defunct Karmann, yet similar to the white haired and toothed gentlemen in Viagra ads, it is still going strong. Simmering their special sauce since 1916, Ghia designed bodies for (among others) the trifecta of Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Lancia, like a “nice-ah Italiano boy” should. As luck would have it, they also designed the body for the VW Karmann Ghia.
While it’s up for debate as to whether Karmann got it’s salty bratwurst in Ghia’s gelato or Ghia got its creamy gelato on Karmann’s bratwurst, what isn’t up for debate is that together they gave birth to a strangely delicious and sporty variation of the VW Beetle’s chassis and mechanicals.
Apparently I’m not the only one who thought so, as these handmade sports-ish cars were manufactured for nearly 20 years with over 445,000 produced; 41,600 of which were made in Brazil. Engines came in a variety of increasing displacements over time, beginning with what amounted to a large rubber band and ending with an approximately 1600 cc flat-4 air-cooled unit. They were the same units that as found in the Beetle, which in 1600 cc incarnation put out 60 hp. Not exactly heart pounding to be sure, but a good match for the vehicle it was mounted in the trunk of.
This particular Karmann Ghia has the 1600 cc power-plant which has been fully overhauled and mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. The white with black roof over black interior 2+2 is said to be always kept covered, and has all new rubber seals on doors and windows. The seller states that the body has no dents, has brand new tires as well as new grille vents, stereo with speakers and antenna, sun visors, and new dashboard. Milage is not listed on this California car, and the asking price is $21,995.
You can contact the seller HERE on Autotrader for more information on this hand-built classic from VW et. al.