1967 VW Karmann Ghia V10 ‘Blue Mamba’

It is a common practice in the auto industry to name a sporty car after a fearsome or powerful animal. Cars like the Mustang, Impala, Cougar, and Shelby Cobra all borrow their names from the animal kingdom.

Along those lines, Keith Goggin decided to give his 1967 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia the nickname “Blue Mamba.” It’s a reference to the black mamba, a venomous snake found throughout central Africa. They are some of the fastest-moving snakes on earth, and also extremely deadly.

The snake theme is more than just a name, it is the heart and soul of this car. Under the hood is a V10 engine sourced from a Dodge Viper! This absolutely insane swap puts 650 horsepower into a car that weighs just 1,850 lbs! Backed by a T56 6-speed manual transmission, this thing must be a handful to drive.

To tackle this massively ambitious project, Keith called upon the experts at Deanz Rodz and Racecarz in Graymont, IL. They did much of the chassis and machine work on the car, including moving the firewall back about 21 inches and installing a full roll cage. Everything including the dashboard is all fabricated from hand-hammered steel; there is no fiberglass here.

With the engine in place, Keith brought the car over to The Custom Shop in Flanagan, IL to finish up the body work. There, the team shaved the door handles and drip rails for a clean, smooth look. They raised the glass 5/8″ and flush-mounted it with the body. The front grille was scaled up 250% and installed on the car’s clamshell hood.

A few other custom touches give the car its character. The headlights are borrowed from a Mini Cooper while the taillights are from a Suzuki Hayabusa street bike. A set of 18″ front and 20″ rear wheels from Boze adds an agressive stance. Deno’s Upholstery in Huntsburg, IN took care of the interior details to wrap it all up.

I really, really like the idea behind this car. It is basically a life-size Hot Wheels car; like something a 10 year old would doodle in the margins of his notebook during math class. It takes serious dedication to retain that sense of child-like wonder into adulthood, and I applaud the guys who made it happen.

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