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Lot 50
1957 Dual Ghia Convertible


Selling on Wednesday

CHASSIS NO: D5007716

• 1 of just 117 produced
• Show-car inspired styling; Italian design and construction
• Expertly restored by marque expert
• Dodge Hemi V-8 engine
• Not shown since completion; Fresh with only test miles
• Likely the finest Dual Ghia extant

Addendum: PLEASE NOTE: This car has only 5 miles added on the odometer since restoration.

315 cid Hemi OHV V-8 engine, 230 HP, single four-barrel carburetor, PowerFlite two-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with torsion bars, live rear axle with leaf spring and shock absorbers, power-assisted four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 115”

During the early and mid-1950s, America’s car companies were producing “cars of the future” on a regular basis so as to whet the appetites of the consumers who were pretty much buying up everything Detroit was putting in the showroom. Chrysler Corporation had turned to Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy for many of their show cars. One such creation was a rather attractive cabriolet badged as the Dodge Firebomb. This handsome, two-seater sports car had little or no chance to see regular production by Chrysler, but its beauty caught the eye of Eugene Casaroll, owner of Automobile Shippers, Inc. His plan was to buy a bare Dodge chassis fitted with the D-500 version of the famous Hemi V-8, along with a number of interior parts, and have the shops of Ghia create a limited production very exclusive automobile. Ghia was on board for the project and, to celebrate this partnership, the name Dual Ghia was selected. Firebomb’s Chief Designer was Luigi Segre, with some possible influences from Chrysler’s VP of Styling, Virgil Exner. A few engineering changes were needed to make the Firebomb design adaptable for production, and these were conducted by Paul Farago, who added a few more inches for passenger comfort and a bit more space in the luggage area. Chassis were ordered straight from Dodge, shipped directly to Ghia’s shops in Turin, Italy, where they were shortened and reinforced before the all-steel body was installed. There, the Ghia artisans applied the paint, installed all glass work, and applied the basic wiring and bright chrome trim to the bodywork. The cars were then shipped to Dual Motors shop in Detroit where the Dodge-provided Hemi V-8 engines and PowerFlite transmissions were installed, followed by installation of the custom-built interiors including the soft leather bucket seats and folding soft tops. With an advertised starting price of $7,200, this was more than twice the price of either Chevrolet’s Corvette or Ford’s Thunderbird and was about equal to the Cadillac Eldorado convertible. When the Dual Ghia’s availability was announced, it was hailed as one of the most attractive production vehicles of all time and celebrities lined up to get theirs. Several members of the fabled Las Vegas Rat Pack, guys with names like Sinatra, Martin, Lawford and Davis, all had one. Others included entertainers like Debbie Reynolds, Vic Damone and Hoagy Carmichael, as well a number of business leaders all wanted to drive and be seen in one of the most elegant production motorcars ever produced.

Our consignor acquired this car in the mid-1980s and enjoyed taking it out for occasional drives and showing it to the curious. Several years ago, he decided it was time to return his Dual Ghia to its original condition. He turned to well-known Orange County California-based restorer Mike Damon for the job. With dozens of award-winning restorations under his belt, he had come to specialize in these hand-built Italian sport-luxury cars, having restored a half-dozen others before chassis #124 came his way. Over the next several years a painstaking task ensued of making sure the metal work was at or above the strict standards of Ghia’s craftsmen. Our consignor’s bill for metalwork alone was well over the $200,000 mark on top of the $60,000 that was invested in the application of the paint. Chrome trim was sent to one of the best platers on the West Coast and the engine, transmission and all other mechanical systems were completely restored to like-new condition. Today, this Dual Ghia is presented in dark blue, appropriate for is classic design, with a matching navy blue soft top. Finished in top quality leathers, the seats are fitted with white bolsters and dark blue inserts, a color scheme that is carried over to the inner door panels and onto the full-width dashboard. Sharp-eyed enthusiasts will recognize the knobs, controls and instruments as coming from 1956-era Chryslers and accessories include fresh-air heater-defroster, push-button AM radio, power windows with controls mounted under the radio, and the speedometer and tachometer centered over the steering wheel for easy viewing. A new set of Coker radial wide whitewall tires adorn a set of special chrome wheels which have been restored to their full glory and which accent the car’s sporty profile.

Delivered to our consignor from the restoration shop within the last year, this stunning Dual Ghia has less than five, yes five, miles added on the odometer since restoration. It has been stored in a climate-controlled environment since it was returned and its appearance at Worldwide Auctioneers Scottsdale sale will be its first ever public appearance. It is believed that 117 Dual Ghia automobiles were produced for the 1957 and 1958 years combined. Starting with serial number 100, the first few models are considered prototypes and were used for car shows, displays and exhibitions. All but two of these cars produced were cabriolets with two experimental coupes assembled. Today, about 70 of these cars have been accounted for, of which about half that number are still roadworthy. Of the survivors of these magnificent automobiles, we believe this freshly restored example, one where the consignor says, “no corners were cut, no shortcuts were taken” is most likely the finest Dual Ghia extant. We are confident that the new owner of this car will have several invitations to display this car’s beauty at the finest exhibitions throughout the world.

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