1958 Dual-Ghia ConvertibleSOLD
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Estimate: $225,000-$300,000 US

Sold: $209,000

230bhp, 315 cu. in. D-500 V8 engine, two-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and semi-elliptic rear leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115"

The origins of the Dual-Ghia date back to 1953, when Chrysler commissioned Ghia to build a number of advanced show cars based on Virgil Exner’s design for the Thomas Special. Included in these Specials were the four Dodge Firearrows, which created such a sensation at their debut that the public demanded a production version. While Chrysler declined to expand on this opportunity, Eugene Casaroll negotiated for and successfully acquired the rights to build a car based on this unique design.

Casaroll’s Dual Motors Company, based in Michigan, shipped modified Dodge chassis to Italy, upon which Ghia fitted stylish, handmade bodies that were hammered into shape over wooden bucks. Once returned to the Dual facilities in Detroit, the cars were fitted with Chrysler D-500 Hemi V8 engines and Powerflite transmissions. Production continued briefly from 1956 to 1958, with the original styling only mildly changed. While the original Ghia-built Firearrows did not have tailfins, growing public acceptance of this feature encouraged Casaroll to instruct Ghia to add a small and subtle tailfin to the already established body design.

Approximately 117 Dual-Ghias were built from 1956 to 1958, and the vast majority bore the Convertible body of the car featured here. Priced at a lofty $7,646, the Dual-Ghia was $1,000 more expensive than the ultra-luxurious Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, and the most renowned celebrities of the 1950s, including the members of the “Rat Pack”, quickly adopted it as their car of choice. It was Casaroll’s intention to build and sell limited quantities of just 150 cars per year, but his refusal to compromise on quality proved to be the company’s undoing, as Dual Motors reportedly lost money on every car produced.

The first known owner of this particular car, chassis 191, was Mrs. Grace Danko of Woodstock, New York. In fact, 191 stayed in the New York area for many years as it was then sold to Mr. Peter Balis of Baliston Lake, who in turn sold it to Wayne Huie of Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Huie ultimately sold 191 to an enthusiast in Canada, where it has resided ever since.

Beautifully presented in every respect, the car has since benefited from a professional, show-quality restoration. It is finished in Eggplant, the same color with which it left the factory, as evidenced by paint remnants uncovered during the restoration. It is a striking finish, made all the more stunning by a burgundy/cream interior, Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels, dual rear antennas and the lack of rear fins, which were an omission on later Dual-Ghias, reflecting the eventual move away from the flamboyant aerospace-inspired designs of the 1950s. The vendor believes this car to be one of the rare Dual-Ghias to leave the factory without fins, although no documentation is currently available to support this. In fact, the owner even went through the trouble of having molds made for these fins and elected not to use them after being convinced it never had them to begin with. Furthermore, many of the experts and judges who have viewed the car attest to its authenticity and factory correctness.

Given the sheer quality of its restoration, this Dual-Ghia may very well be one of the finest examples in a class of cars that has been tremendously exclusive since its introduction over fifty years ago. In its time, it was said that a Rolls-Royce was reserved for those who could not obtain a Dual-Ghia. Its powerful Hemi and sexy Italian styling have certainly lost none of their allure and luster.

Reference Number 38576

as of 2/10/2009

Car 1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible
VIN DG191 
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