The Type 14 debuted at the October 1953 Paris Auto Show as a styling concept “by Ghia.” In August 1955 the first Type 14 was manufactured in Osnabrück, Germany. Public reaction to the Type 14 exceeded expectations, and more than 10,000 were sold in the first year.
In contrast to the Beetle’s machine-welded body with bolt-on fenders, the Karmann Ghia’s body panels were butt-welded, hand-shaped, and smoothed with English pewter in a time-consuming process commensurate with higher-end manufacturers, resulting in the Karmann Ghia’s higher price.
The Type 14 was marketed as a practical and stylish 2+2 rather than as a true sports car. As they shared engines, the Type 14’s engine displacement grew concurrently with the Type 1 (Beetle), ultimately arriving at a displacement of 1584 cc, producing 61 PS (45 kW; 60 hp).