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      Your path: Home >> Wall-E's World >> Model Cars >> 1962 Volkswagon T34 Karmann-Ghia
1962 Volkswagon T34 Karmann-Ghia
Manufacturer: Matchbox
Release dates: 2013-Current  (This one: MBX Adventure City)
Catalog number: Y0562-0910
Date Purchased: 04-Oct-13
Date Completed 15-Nov-13
Number in collection: 259

I wasn't aware that there were two Volkswagons sold as a Karmann-Ghia until I did research on an older Matchbox issue. The first was based on the Beetle platform, and was sold until 1974. The other was sold in more limited numbers during the '60's, but not officially in the US. That one is the subject of this page. This car was based on the larger platform used for the Squareback/Fastback models, and featured completely different styling than the earlier version.

The release of this car has seemed to cause quite a stir in the collector community. Partially because it is a somewhat unlikely, but very welcome, subject of modeling. Another is that it got very good reviews for its accuracy and level of detail, especially for it's low retail price. I watched my usual stores as soon as I heard about it, and didn't have to wait very long to find out for myself.

Click to zoom Click to zoom
What I started with. Actual car I used for reference.

Pictures of car before any changes were made (click to enlarge)

Disassembled parts Disassembly was done by drilling out the two body-to-chassis rivets. The picture on the left shows the following:
  • A chrome plated, black plastic chassis with wheels/tires and axles held in place by molded retaining pins.
  • A black plastic one-piece interior with the dash and steering wheel molded to one half, the remainder on the other half, hinged at the front of the whole part.
  • The die-cast body, painted light blue with tampo-printed markings.
  • A clear windshield and vent window assembly, that locates to pins on the underside of the body.

The overall level of detail of this car is very good, so I limited most of my changes to details added or enhanced with paint and foil. I did strip most of the plating from the base with oven cleaner. After removing the axles. I spray the cleaner into a plastic tub, then apply it to the middle of the plate with an old toothbrush. That way, I don't strip the chrome plating from the bumpers.

The following is a summary of the changes I made:
  • Wheels and tires: Sanded the tread surface with 220 grit sandpaper. Painted the areas inside the wheel centers with Testors silver.
  • Chassis: Painted entire piece, except the bumpers and areas surrounding them, with Testors acrylic flat black. Engine, transmission, suspension, and exhaust system details were painted with Tamiya steel, aluminum, and semi-gloss black. Areas around the bumpers that would be body color on the actual car were painted with a mix of Testors flat white and light blue to match the body, followed by Testors clear gloss spray. Front turn indicators were painted with Tamiya clear orange.
  • Interior: Seats, dash, and door panels are painted Testors flat white and a mix of Testors flat white and blue to match pictures found of the actual car. Door panel trim and floor are painted Testors acrylic flat black. Remaining interior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, also using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
  • Windows: Covered the raised window frames with Bare-Metal Foil. The strip at the top of the windshield was painted with a mix of Testors flat white and light blue to match the body. Painted sun visors Testors flat white.
  • Body: Covered side view mirrors and all lights with Bare-Metal foil. Trimmed foil from center of front lights so printed details show. Painted tail light and signal repeaters with Tamiya transparent red and orange. Drew in body panel seems and engine cover vents with a metal tipped 'quill' pen and black ink.
Disassembled parts To the left is the car prior to re-assembly.

Assembly was completed by pressing the parts together, filling the old rivet holes with epoxy putty, and touching up the filled holes with paint to match the chassis plate.

Pictures of completed car (click to enlarge)

The proportions of the completed car look very close to the actual car. The table below shows how close they are.

Actual car 
(mm / in)
(mm / in)
Dimensions of actual car based on model scale
(mm / in)
Calculated scale based on model to actual car
Length 4204 / 166.5 70 / 2.74 4456 / 175.5 1:61
Wheelbase 2400 / 94.5 38 / 1.51 2454 / 96.6 1:63
Width 1620 / 63.8 28 / 1.1 1829 / 70.4 1:58
Height 1314 / 51.7 21 / .82 1327 / 52.3 1:63

Matchbox cars are generally assumed to be 1:64, but I have seen different scales moulded into the base plate on several other cars that I have. There is no scale listed on this one, but my calculations make this car closer to 1:63. It may be possible that the dimensions of the actual car aren't totally correct. I had some difficulty finding this information, and each set I found was different. Several sources showed dimensions of the Type 1 based car, although the heading referred to it as a Type 34.

In my opinion, this car lives up to the positive reviews that I read when it was first released. It is a really nice addition to my collection. The accuracy and level of detail is at the high end of what is expected among the lowest price class. Painting the interior in a style closer to the actual car makes the biggest improvement. What surprised myself and others is that they chose to model the convertible version of this car. Very few of them were made, and only in the first year of production. It would be nice to see a hardtop version released at some point, but I suspect that is highly unlikely.

Maybe I can figure out how to make a one.

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