Dual Ghia

Ah, those glorious concept cars. Every big auto show features some. They rotate on their elevated stands, seductively draped in a glamorous model who enthusiastically rattles off feature after amazing feature. How often have we dreamed of ourselves behind the wheel of one of those rolling sculptures, maybe with that glamourous model by our side as we cruise the boulevard? Isn’t that why they call them dream cars? But how many of those dreams actually come true? Even if that beauty gets the go ahead for production, only a few of her amazing features make the cut. Maybe that cool grill stays, but those hand shaped lusciously curved fenders? Victims to the cruel realities of mass production. One dream did come true, however. In the end it was not a profitable dream, but it was a most delicious one. It was the Dual-Ghia.

 

Virgil Exner's Idea Cars

 Starting in 1950, Chrysler Corporation's Design Chief, Virgil M. Exner, penned a series of VOLUPTUOUs rolling SCULPTURES that sought to banish from public awareness Chrysler's lackluster offerings of recent past. Exner's team of designers created more than two dozen IDEA cars that explored a number of evolving design themes. Nearly all were made by carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy. ( www.allpar.com )

Starting in 1950, Chrysler Corporation's Design Chief, Virgil M. Exner, penned a series of VOLUPTUOUs rolling SCULPTURES that sought to banish from public awareness Chrysler's lackluster offerings of recent past. Exner's team of designers created more than two dozen IDEA cars that explored a number of evolving design themes. Nearly all were made by carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy. (www.allpar.com)

 The  1953 Dodge Fire Arrow  was the first version of the second generation of concepts conceived by Exner. Each had a chassis and drivetrain from one of the Chrysler divisions. ( www.coachbuilt.com)

The 1953 Dodge Fire Arrow was the first version of the second generation of concepts conceived by Exner. Each had a chassis and drivetrain from one of the Chrysler divisions. (www.coachbuilt.com)

 The  Fire Arrow  was a sensation on the show circut. But exner could not make a sufficient business case to get Chrysler to put it into production. (www.Carbase.com)

The Fire Arrow was a sensation on the show circut. But exner could not make a sufficient business case to get Chrysler to put it into production. (www.Carbase.com)

Eugene Casaroll: Man with a Dream

   eugene casaroll, owner of detroit based Auto Shippers,   Inc , saw the Fire Arrow while touring the New York Auto show, he was so taken with this beauty that he set about securing from Chrysler the rights to its design. He  contracted with Ghia carrozzeria to produce the cars. They would use Chrysler components - including a 230hp polyspheric head V8 from Dodge's factory muscle car the D-500. (www.pinterest.com)

 eugene casaroll, owner of detroit based Auto Shippers, Inc, saw the Fire Arrow while touring the New York Auto show, he was so taken with this beauty that he set about securing from Chrysler the rights to its design. He  contracted with Ghia carrozzeria to produce the cars. They would use Chrysler components - including a 230hp polyspheric head V8 from Dodge's factory muscle car the D-500. (www.pinterest.com)

 Casaroll not only hauled cars, he raced them, too. One of the most successful was the Auto Shippers sponsored  Snowberger-Offy 1949 Indy car.    Casaroll also owned ANOTHER business, one that made tank haulers for the military. These beasts were propelled by a front and a rear motor and thus his company was called  Dual Motors . The partnership of Dual motors and Ghia studios lead to the mildly awkward hyphenated moniker   Dual-Ghia

Casaroll not only hauled cars, he raced them, too. One of the most successful was the Auto Shippers sponsored Snowberger-Offy 1949 Indy car. 

Casaroll also owned ANOTHER business, one that made tank haulers for the military. These beasts were propelled by a front and a rear motor and thus his company was called Dual Motors. The partnership of Dual motors and Ghia studios lead to the mildly awkward hyphenated moniker Dual-Ghia

 Designs, chassis, engines, The only thing Chrysler wouldn't sell to Casaroll was the right to the Fire Arrow name. Thus Dual-Ghia's first prototype was called the  Firebomb . The car stayed true to the original concept...but the name had to go. (www.flickriver.com)  There were approximately 15 prototypes built before production commenced late in 1956.

Designs, chassis, engines, The only thing Chrysler wouldn't sell to Casaroll was the right to the Fire Arrow name. Thus Dual-Ghia's first prototype was called the Firebomb. The car stayed true to the original concept...but the name had to go. (www.flickriver.com)

There were approximately 15 prototypes built before production commenced late in 1956.

 The Dual Ghia’s rolling chassis were produced by Dodge and shipped from Detroit to Italy. They were finished with bodies and interiors by Ghia craftsmen and then then sent back to Detroit to have drivelines and electricals installed. This made for the world’s longest assembly line. (www.carstyling.ru)

The Dual Ghia’s rolling chassis were produced by Dodge and shipped from Detroit to Italy. They were finished with bodies and interiors by Ghia craftsmen and then then sent back to Detroit to have drivelines and electricals installed. This made for the world’s longest assembly line. (www.carstyling.ru)

The First Dual-Ghia

 Of the  99 Production Dual-Ghias built from 1956-1958,  many found their way into the driveways of the famous and the powerful. President Dwight D Eisenhower and the sha of Iran each had one, so did Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher and Peter Lawford. Lucille Ball and Desi arnez had his & her Dual-Ghias (Dual Duals?). His Dual-Ghia (or was it hers) was apparently a major bone of contention in their divorce settlement. Ronald Reagan also had A Dual-Ghia when he was GOVERNOR of CALIFORNIA, But Legend has it He lost it in a high stakes poker game to president Lyndon Johnson.  (www.ebay.com)

Of the 99 Production Dual-Ghias built from 1956-1958, many found their way into the driveways of the famous and the powerful. President Dwight D Eisenhower and the sha of Iran each had one, so did Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher and Peter Lawford. Lucille Ball and Desi arnez had his & her Dual-Ghias (Dual Duals?). His Dual-Ghia (or was it hers) was apparently a major bone of contention in their divorce settlement. Ronald Reagan also had A Dual-Ghia when he was GOVERNOR of CALIFORNIA, But Legend has it He lost it in a high stakes poker game to president Lyndon Johnson.  (www.ebay.com)

 Ol' Blue Eyes had a dual-Ghia, and so did most of his "Rat Pack." Dean Martan wanted one but was turned away. For reasons that are unclear, He bought a Ghia-designed Facel Vega instead.   ( www.myntransportbog.com )

Ol' Blue Eyes had a dual-Ghia, and so did most of his "Rat Pack." Dean Martan wanted one but was turned away. For reasons that are unclear, He bought a Ghia-designed Facel Vega instead.   (www.myntransportbog.com)

 The Dual-Ghia's connection to Hollywood, if not washington, endured. This one had a role in 1987s  Beverley Hills Cop II.  it was not likely wearing a factory paint job   ( www.imcdb.com )

The Dual-Ghia's connection to Hollywood, if not washington, endured. This one had a role in 1987s Beverley Hills Cop II. it was not likely wearing a factory paint job (www.imcdb.com)

  the 1957 Dual-Ghia  carried a $7650 price tag when it was new - only Rolls Royce, The  Continental Mark II , the Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz cost more. Despite its stratospheric price, It was estimated that Eugene Casaroll lost $2000 on each car he produced. Eugene was rich but not that rich. sadly, at the end of 1958, Dual-Ghia became another make that didn't make it. Today, an original Dual-Ghia can bang the gavel at close to Half a million dollars ( www.RMAuctions.com )

the 1957 Dual-Ghia carried a $7650 price tag when it was new - only Rolls Royce, The Continental Mark II, the Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz cost more. Despite its stratospheric price, It was estimated that Eugene Casaroll lost $2000 on each car he produced. Eugene was rich but not that rich. sadly, at the end of 1958, Dual-Ghia became another make that didn't make it. Today, an original Dual-Ghia can bang the gavel at close to Half a million dollars (www.RMAuctions.com)

The Second Coming of Dual Ghia

 with Casaroll's withdrawal, Dual-Ghia’s hyphen of partnership is disbanded. Ghia design decided to go it alone. For continuity's sake it kept Dual in the name. They created a second generation Dual Ghia that was more of a european GT that an American boulevard cruiser. The redesigned  Dual Ghia 6.4L  still used a Chrysler-built V-8 under its hood, but it was now cradled in an ITALIAN built aluminum space frame. 

with Casaroll's withdrawal, Dual-Ghia’s hyphen of partnership is disbanded. Ghia design decided to go it alone. For continuity's sake it kept Dual in the name. They created a second generation Dual Ghia that was more of a european GT that an American boulevard cruiser. The redesigned Dual Ghia 6.4L still used a Chrysler-built V-8 under its hood, but it was now cradled in an ITALIAN built aluminum space frame. 

 The Dual Ghia 6.4L cost about double the previous car. The plan was to craft 50 of them over 2 years, in fact, they made only 26 from 1961-64 ( www.bringatrailer.com )

The Dual Ghia 6.4L cost about double the previous car. The plan was to craft 50 of them over 2 years, in fact, they made only 26 from 1961-64 (www.bringatrailer.com)

 ...At least in 1:1 scale anyway. Many thousands of substantially smaller, cheaper and more profitable Dual Ghias were sold by  Corgi Toys of Britain . Big or small, this lovely coupe was seared into the consciousness of future car collectors everywhere. (www.modelly.com)

...At least in 1:1 scale anyway. Many thousands of substantially smaller, cheaper and more profitable Dual Ghias were sold by Corgi Toys of Britain. Big or small, this lovely coupe was seared into the consciousness of future car collectors everywhere. (www.modelly.com)

  A Dual-Ghia 6.4L on the storied lawn of the Pebble Beach Concours d'elegance (2014) 

 A Dual-Ghia 6.4L on the storied lawn of the Pebble Beach Concours d'elegance (2014) 

Copyright@2018  by Mal Pearson