Monterey | Lot 152
1962 Ghia L 6.4 Coupe
$577,500 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
19 August 2016
- Offered from the personal collection of a marque enthusiast
- The finest restored example available
- Rare European-delivery model
- Exquisite original color scheme with factory air conditioning
- 2015 Concorso Italiano Best in Class winner
335 bhp, 383 cu. in. OHV Chrysler “Wedge” V-8 engine with a Carter four-barrel carburetor, three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, independent front suspension with torsion bar and tubular shock absorbers, solid rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and tubular shock absorbers, and front Girling disc brakes with rear Chrysler hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115 in.
No one can deny that Eugene Casaroll fought the good fight. The Detroit businessman had taken a Chrysler concept car and developed it into a limited-production convertible, employing such features as reliable MoPar mechanicals and svelte hand-built Ghia coachwork. Not only had the car been successfully produced in only three short years since its 1956 introduction, it had also become the favored automobile of Hollywood royalty. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Lucille Ball all had Dual-Ghias in their driveways.
Nonetheless, by 1958, Casaroll was ailing, and business for the shipping line, which was his bread and butter, had slowed. He was not in the market to continue his success, but Vice President of Dual Motors Paul Farago was, and he and the Ghia designers drew up a second-generation model, a “two-plus-two” fastback coupe with lines refined by Chrysler’s Virgil Exner. Ghia would hand-build not only the body, but virtually the entire car, including the chassis, which was based on 1960 Chrysler suspension, and a 383-cubic inch “Wedge” V-8. As the involvement of Casaroll’s Dual Motors shrunk, the new model was simply christened the Ghia L 6.4, or “6.4 Liter,” which is the metric displacement of its engine.
The L 6.4, priced at an astonishing $13,500, nonetheless brought back the Rat Pack—Sinatra, Martin, and Lawford—as return customers, and no one could deny that the buyer did not get his or her money’s worth, as the Ghia was among the finest-finished automobiles in the world. The price was not the problem; the problem was the cost of production and the complications that came with building a car in Italy and selling it in the United States. In the end, the L 6.4 was doomed to a brief yet glorious existence, with only 26 built and sold.
CHASSIS NUMBER 0319
The car offered here, chassis number 0319, was the 19th of the 26 examples built. According to Dual-Ghia historian Dr. Paul Sable, the car was originally delivered in Italy, subsequently being imported in the 1980s to the United States. Its owners here have included such well-known enthusiasts as Fred Kanter, perhaps the country’s foremost Dual-Ghia collector.
In its current ownership, the car has been completely restored, with the owner recounting that every component was refinished to factory-authentic condition and appearance using either original Ghia and Chrysler parts or precise reproductions where originals were not available. Visually the car is stunning in Rosso Rubino Metallizzato, with an interior in Wollsdorf Nappa Exclusive red leather. The L 6.4 is fitted with the rare factory air conditioning system, as well as with the extremely rare original hubcaps.
While the car was properly restored with correct Ghia “two-light” taillight assemblies, it was originally delivered with the European “three-light” configuration; the original parts for the latter accompany the car, as do a set of fantastic Borrani wire wheels, made especially for the L 6.4 from original plans in the Borrani archive. Included are also authentic period Cibie oval headlights and custom-made grilles, as were used by George Barris on the Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra L 6.4s. These parts allow the next owner the option of dressing up the car further, in true Rat Pack style! The car is also offered with the owner’s extensive collection of published L 6.4 documentation, comprising original sources, including an extremely rare factory brochure.
Since restoration, the car has been judged Best in Class at the 2015 Concorso Italiano, where it was also one of the eight finalists for Best in Show, as well as Best in Class at the 2015 Concours on the Avenue in Carmel. It is ready for further show appearances, and in a recent telephone conversation, Dr. Sable vouched for the quality of its restoration. It is, without a doubt, the finest L 6.4 on the market today and an exceptional, significant addition to any collection.