1974 Karmann Ghia
There's a story behind this iconic german automobile – for me at least.
For most of my life it has reminded me of a time in my life that was much simpler. It was the summer of the early 90's and my grandpa was the coolest grandpa in the Mission District to own one. Hard to believe that he'd own one, but my grandpa was a different kind of guy. For better or for worse, he was a rebel, a guy who lived by his own rules, again for better or for worse.
My grandpa was in his 50's at the time when he owned a '74 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Phoenix Red (aka Orange). While most grandpa's were driving old traditional grandpa cars - he drove a "poor man's Porsche". I recall the days of zipping along the 101 from the Potrero district to the San Jose Flea Market. It was a place we'd frequently visit - almost every weekend if I recall correctly. No power steering and 4 speed was all it had to get him from SF to SJ in under 30 minutes. Yes, he drove pretty darn fast. That was possibly some of the best times of my life.
So fast forward to 2012, my grandpa has been gone now for 20 years, he passed in 1992. My uncle (my grandpa's son) recently brought back all those amazing memories of my youth and the time I spent with my grandpa and his 74' Karmann Ghia. He bought one nearly identical to the one my grandpa had. It was a mixture of emotions to say the least. I was excited and in full reminisce mode over seeing the VW. I said to my uncle that seeing this car - 20 years later as an adult - gives me an opportunity to share what my grandpa saw when he bought it. It's a petite car with a great sense of style, design and 20 years earlier my grandpa recognized this.
I convinced my uncle to allow me to photograph it. As I made photographs of the Karmann Ghia, I thought silently of how I'd approach this as if my grandpa was standing there next to me. What would he say? What would he want photograph? Why orange? I hope that these images capture the spirit of the my relationship with this car and the history behind it.
My wish is that my uncle flips it and restores some of shine and ....keeps it. But alas it will be for sale again soon. I will someday own a Karmann Ghia.
Thanks for reading.
Dedicated to "Wito" July 26, 1992 // Always thinking of you.