Ford returned the Mustang to its roots— an affordable, sporty-looking commuter based on a huge-selling economy car— for the 1974 model year when the Pinto-based Mustang II made its debut. While many now claim that the Mustang II has finally attained true respectability among American car freaks, I still see plenty of Mustang IIs en route to the cold steel jaws of The Crusher. Here’s a heavily-optioned ’78 Mustang II Ghia, complete with V8 engine and screaming orange Stirling cloth interior, found in a Denver self-service yard a couple of weeks ago.
Most of this dialogue happened:
Brian: “My wife and kids are going on vacation somewhere I’d never go (Disney World) so that’s a good time to drive up to Dallas and work on the Sierra.”
Me: “Your family just had to pick the hottest week of the year to dump you on me, didn’t they?”
Brian: “Shut up, Sanjeev! Get over here and work on your stupid brown car!”
The Rare Rides series started off in the early part of 2017 with a concept Ghia that was all Ford underneath. A year later we featured the Quicksilver, which wore Lincoln badges. And more recently, a Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia caught our brougham attention.
Time for some change, and to have a look at a Ghia which is all Chrysler beneath its luxury fittings and beautiful styling.
Today’s post serves as a couple of milestones at TTAC (for me, anyway); 200 articles written, and a year of Rare Rides. Since I did not plan this in any way or think about it in advance, I thought we might make this post a bit special. Bringing us back to the very first Rare Rides entry of one year ago, we have another concept car Ghia designed for Ford which never saw the production green light.
Presenting the 1983 Lincoln Quicksilver.
Early this year, the Rare Rides series began with this Ghia concept from 1979. A lovely red coupe, it was based on humble Mustang underpinnings. Today we return to the concept car bin with this AMC. Much like the Ghia, AMC’s AM Van is a very 1970s concept based on an existing car platform that never moved past the concept stage.
Let’s check out this pearlescent red box.
Our august editor Mark pointed out to me how I might bring some of the rare, quirky, and oddball cars I’m always posting to our internal Slack chat to you. So here we are, with a segment I’m going to call Rare Rides.
Here’s our first entry, from a Hemmings listing, is a fantastic looking Ghia Probe I concept from all the way back before automatic transmissions and air conditioning: 1979.
The Karmann Ghia is familiar to most automotive enthusiasts as a styling exercise intended to turn the Volkswagen Beetle into a slinky “sportscar” using pedestrian internals. The resulting Type 1 Ghia debuted way back in 1955 and added some (more) Porsche styling to the family sedan. Assembled by Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany, with styling from Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy, the curvy two-door offered little performance, but much style, compared to its stablemates.
However, the Type 1 Karmann Ghia wasn’t the only car to bear that German-Italian nameplate.
From the late 1940s into the 1960s, Chrysler had most of its high profile concept and show cars fabricated by Ghia in Italy. Chrysler liked how the Italians did high quality work at prices far below what union labor would have cost them in Detroit, and Ghia liked the work and the revenue as Italy was rebuilding after World War II.
The relationship was mutually beneficial in more ways than just financial. Styling and technical ideas flowed in both directions between Highland Park and Turin. Giovanni Savonuzzi scaled down Chrysler design chief Virgil Exner Sr.’s Chrysler D’Elegance concept into Volkswagen’s Karmann Ghia. Exner, for his part, was perfectly happy to put Chrysler corporation nameplates on concepts that originated at Ghia.
After seeing this 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 on Tuesday and this 1980 Volkswagen Dasher four-door hatchback on Thursday, it’s only fitting that we should wrap up this week’s Junkyard Finds with yet another old VW: a seldom-seen-in-self-serve-yards 1972 Karmann Ghia.
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- Sgeffe Haven’t had any urgent safety issues under recalls in my 28 years of driving Hondas, so in the event something comes out, I’ll usually see when the dealer might have time in the next month or so, then go from there.I’ve been fortunate in that my cars have had proper airbags, or have been traded or sold away before the recalls were issued for the vehicles.