Dual-Ghia is a rare, short-lived, automobile make in the United States between 1956 and 1958. The idea for Dual-Ghia came from Eugene Casaroll, who formed Dual Motors in Detroit, Michigan.
The origins of the Dual-Ghia date back to 1953, when Chrysler commissioned Ghia to build a number of advanced show cars based on a design by Virgil Exner. Included in these Specials was the Dodge Firebomb. Eugene Casaroll negotiated for and successfully acquired the rights to build a car based on this unique design.
Casaroll's Dual Motors Company shipped modified Dodge chassis to Italy, upon which Ghia fitted the 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.
Approximately 117 Dual-Ghias were built from 1956 to 1958, and the vast majority were Convertibles. The Coupe is quite rare. 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", Sterling Hayden, and Richard Nixon, quickly adopted it as their car of choice. Desi Arnaz owned one, but he wrecked it. Ronald Reagan owned one, which he lost in a high-stakes poker game with then-President Lyndon Johnson, who kept the car for several years.
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. Out of the 117 cars produced, just over 30 are known to still exist today.
The Dual-Ghia Coupe in this gallery was first owned by Gary Morton (Lucille Ball's second husband) and was later modified by the 'King of the Kustomizers', George Barris for Dean Martin. It came with a set of custom fitted calfskin luggage matching the tan leather upholstery. Dean Martin can be seen driving his Dual-Ghia in the film "Kiss Me, Stupid".
Sources: RM Auctions and Wikipedia.
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