If quirky, petrol-head design be the food of love, drive on. The Karmann Ghia Owners Club of Great Britain did just that at their AGM on Sunday. The event celebrated the 40th anniversary of their founding and members presented the ME Association with a cheque for £4,109.
The club, founded by Andy Holmes all those years ago, met at a heritage railway station in Gloucestershire to conclude a three-year partnership with the charity which had survived all the rigours of the coronavirus crisis – with no meetings face-to-face and no onsite collections. Instead, they packed all their punch into the sale of their charity calendars, linked to some matched funding from the club itself.
While Andy, husband of MEA head office staffer Theresa Holmes, couldn’t be at Winchcombe Railway Station for the cheque handover, we were represented by Tony Britton, our fundraising manager.
About half a million Karmann Ghia cars were built between 1955 and 1974 but few survive today.
In various models produced over the years, subtly lithe and haunting bodies were built by the German coachbuilder Karmann and put on Volkswagen Beetle chasses. The famously fashionable Italians controlled the look of the motors, as they often do in the world of classic cars, with designs by Carrozzeria Ghia.
Back to the basics of the club’s AGM on Sunday: there are now 667 club members throughout the UK who prize their own cars, with a bigger following of 6,679 people on Facebook, many of them looking in from overseas. They also run a busy spare parts department.
Because of lack of space at Winchcombe Railway Station, most members parked their cars at Toddington Station further up the line on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and enjoyed a steam train ride to the meeting.
“It was a great day meeting people from the club in a beautiful, heritage setting – well worth the journey over”, said our fundraiser Tony. “Thanks to everyone in the club for their support over the past three years.”
The steam railway runs all the way from Cheltenham Race Course to the beautiful Cotswolds village of Broadway. That’s a 28-mile round trip. The railway itself is a multi-million pound volunteer-led public company backed by a successful charitable trust.
The club hope to be making up for loss of contact time during the pandemic with a real showstopper in the very near future. They’ll be at Stanford Hall, Leicestershire, on Sunday, 1st May – with pitches booked in for 40 Karmann Ghias.
Club treasurer Gordon Balmer and events organiser Clive Richardson presented the cheque to Tony after the meeting. Most of the photos were taken by Guy Hartley.
The Karmann Ghia brand has a fairly fabled back story. Motoring writer BRENDAN McALEER adds some depth to it HERE.