Sunday, July 31, 2022

Orange You Glad You Had a VW?

 For this week we have two cars that have little to do with each other, except for the fact that they are orange, are about 2 1/2 inches long, and happen to be Volkswagens. Is that enough to make me group them together in one post? Apparently, yes.

First, we have a Tonka (a Mini Tote, to be exact). This small car is from 1970 and I think it's just fun! I have no memory of where I got it, but I imagine I got it out of the "car bin" at Goodwill many years ago. You could really find treasures in that "car bin," but, alas, the internet came along and people started being able to research what they had. Goodwill started putting boxes of (mostly junk) cars on auction in the store, and now they put them online. Great for profits, but tough on treasure hunters. 

Now, where was I? Oh yeah! Here is the Tonka Mini Tote VW!

As I said, this is just a fun car. The huge wheels and bright color just scream "70s!" to me! (Not literally. That would be freaky.) I've had this guy sitting on various shelves for a couple of decades now. Not an expensive car, but one I just like.

Now the next car is actually brand new. You could walk into a hobby store and, if you're lucky, find one today. Here is my Auto World VW Karman Ghia slot car!

Now why would I put a brand new car in this blog? Because it comes with a bit of a story, that's why.

You see, when I was growing up, my dad bought a bright orange 1973 Karman Ghia, that this one looks a lot like. The main difference is that Dad's had a luggage rack. And his was much bigger. And his was eaten by a truck. 

When I saw this one in the store, there wasn't a doubt in the world that I had to buy it. If my dad was still with us, I would have given it to him. Alas, Dad passed away in 2008. So, in his honor, this tiny orange Karman Ghia sits in my display case. I only wish it was a full sized car!

So there you have it; two VWs with little in common, but that fit together after all! I hope you enjoyed them!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!


  1. Orange is my favorite color, so I am already predisposed to like these cars! And I love Karman Ghias too. My brother used to call them "chick cars", and I never understood it. They look so cool! Yes, they had something like 40 horsepower, but who cares. I've watched many videos of people restoring old beat up KGs to mint condition.

    1. Yeah, there was a commercial of a Karman Ghia zooming down a beach (or something) and then bouncing off a paper wall. The tagline was something like "The most economical sports car, but not the most powerful." I never really saw the selling point there, lol!
      I'd love to have one, though!
      I drove a Mini for a while. People called it a "chick car." I just called it an "unreliable car." I replaced it with a Toyota. I would have rather replaced it with a Karman Ghia. ;-)

    2. I had three VW Bug myself as a kid. One was a huge (or so it seemed at the time to my small hands) red Tonka Beetle. Another was an odd, two-wheeled caricature of a Beetle, also red. It was balanced so you could roll it along the floor, with one wheel on each side. Hard to describe. The third was a green, plastic see-through Bug with an internal spark generator that would spark inside the car when rolled along the floor (you remember toys like that, right?). That's the only one of the three I still own, although it's wrapped up in storage somewhere. and I haven't seen it in probably 16 years or so.

      Around 2009, Walmart started selling four-packs (or maybe five-packs) of true HO-scale cars. I found one that included a mint green 1976 AMC Pacer that looked identical to one my grandmother had. Like your orange KG, I had to buy it for similar reasons.

    3. Chuck, I can picture that two wheeled car perfectly, I think! Did it have little "front" wheels that were fake so it would always look like it was pulling a wheelie?
      Those big Tonkas were so cool! Huge hunks of metal that you might scratch up, but were almost indestructible!
      I know exactly what you mean on the sparking one. It seems like they had several toys like that- ray guns, etc. A bug would be cool!
      I've always liked the Gremlin, the Pacer, not so much. Of course, if my grandmother had driven one, that would probably change everything.

    4. Ahhh, the Gremlin, Pacer, Pinto and Vega. They all make me smile!

      Fun post, Stu!

    5. Stu,HERE’S that two-wheel VW I had. I remember the “wheelie” ones you are talking about, though.

      THIS is the big Tonka one I had. Loved that thing - there’s even a couple of photos of me sleeping with it. I also had an aqua-green Jeep Wagoneer in the same scale that had been my cousin’s that didn’t survive an encounter with the left rear wheel of a 1/1 scale 1972 AMC Ambassador wagon.

      Finally, HERE’S An example of the clear green sparkler I still have.

      Thanks for “sparking” the memories!

    6. Whoops! I’m sure you figured out who left the last comment by context alone.

    7. And because I’m nothing if not an obsessive completist, HERE’S a video of a guy restoring a vintage example of the Wagoneer I had. He doesn’t get the color quite right, but it’s still a pretty good job. My example would not have been able to have been restored without access to a miniature body shop.

  2. Both cars are so cute and cheerful! And "just liking" something is the best reason to put it in your collection. And there's no way you could have passed up the Karman Ghia; I'm sure your Dad would have loved it.

    Orange was my "class color" in high school. I love it, but it does NOT look good on me. So I owned exactly one orange shirt that I'd pull out of the back of the closet one day a year for Class Color Day. I remember one year, one boy pulled up the waistband of his underpants to show the teacher the tag was orange. She counted it!

  3. Wow, Chuck, those are cool! And I love resto videos! I've done a few Hot Wheels. Maybe I'll do a post on one of those?

  4. Thanks Melissa! Fun IS what it's all about!
    My Jr. High was orange and white. We were The Bisons, although I can't recall ever seeing a bright orange bison. I had a school jacket that I wore. Everybody else did too, and it was a sea of orange!
    I don't thonk I had any underwear with orange on them, though, lol!


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