Can you glam up a Beetle ? Apparently, it could be and was successfully done in the early 1950s.
Volkswagon engaged the Italian design house Ghia, and German coachbuilder Karmann to create the eye-catching VW Karmann Ghia, and started production in 1955. (up to 1974 in Germany). But the engine was still the venerable rear-mounted flat-four-boxer, air-cooled powerplant that drove all the Beetles. (Later versions had more powerful engines)
My first encounter with one specimen was in the mid-60s – it was all-white, owned and driven by a lady dentist who worked at the Butterworth District Hospital. (She used to do up the many ‘potholes’ on my teeth when I was a kid).
Sleekness and glamour notwithstanding, the signature “chug-a-chug” sound of the Beetle engine was unmistakable. A close look at the badge verified the car’s bugsy heritage.