Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Type 341 convertible top parts list
Depending on which version of the story you believe, the VW 1500 Karmann-Ghia Cabriolet (a.k.a. Type 341) was either aborted just prior to production or the production run was halted after fewer than 20 cars were built at the beginning of 1963. Either way, it has to be considered one of the rarest models in VW's history, which is what makes the printed matter for it so interesting. A discussion of early Type 3 parts books on the Samba Type 3 forum led to Neil Mast generously scanning the section of his early copy of the VW 1500 Parts List devoted to the Ghia cabriolet's convertible top (which can be downloaded here).
The convertible section of the Parts List is a supplement dated March 1962. The fact that parts book pages were printed and distributed (in multiple languages no less) is evidence of how close the 1500 Ghia Cabriolet came to a real production run. There's even a page with 1500 Ghia production milestones that lists January 1963 as the date 1500 Ghia Cabriolet was (or rather would be) introduced. It seems like they were really ready to go and only pulled the plug at the very last minute. Speculation on the reason has centered on the car being too expensive for its class, problems with torsional rigidity, and worries about sales competition with other VW convertibles. It was probably some combination of the three. Too bad for us.