Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's not just a car... it's a Karmann Ghia!

When I was out and about yesterday running some errands downtown, I noticed an Audi TT Roadster and smiled. Now don't you fret, I'm still as anti 'car culture' as ever but I've had a life-long love of beautiful design and the Audi TT Roadster is one great looking car.

The reason it makes me smile is that its silhouette is very familiar to anyone who knows what a VW Karmann Ghia looks like. I had a vague memory of having seen a couple of them over the years but when I met Chris I entered the world of Ghia.
Chris and his mom, circa 1979

When he was little, his mom had a beautiful sky-blue Ghia and Chris rued the day his parents sold that car, vowing to get one for himself when he could afford it. The Ghia is not a practical car by any stretch of the imagination – completely useless as a family vehicle, especially for Canadian winters. It is however a sporty, sassy, gorgeously retro, little summer run-around and it's also available as a convertible!

Chris, being a collector by nature, had an eclectic assortment of Ghia ‘objets d’art’ – mostly acquired courtesy of eBay. These included a set of collector’s cards, a keychain, a sticker, a rubber stamp, a T-shirt, a lapel pin, a ball cap, a die-cast car model, and… a slightly rusty hubcap (don't ask). One of the first gifts I gave Chris was a framed Ghia post-card.

When Chris was accepted into the PhD program, I promised him I would buy him a Ghia as a graduation present. I caught him on more than one occasion perusing the eBay Motors site looking at available models. He never did get to even test-drive one and I’m not sure how he would have squeezed his 6’2” frame into the low, cramped interior but hot damn, he would have looked good driving that car!

“Where to, beautiful?” he would have asked, his blue eyes twinkling behind cool shades, beaming with pleasure as he drove off towards a new adventure. (Damn car culture!)

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