- Detroit power, Italian design, and Hollywood flash
- Well-preserved concours-quality restoration
- Interesting long-term California history
- Absolutely stunning period-correct color scheme
When Chrysler opted out of putting its striking Dodge Firearrow show cars into production, Detroit trucking magnate Eugene Casaroll purchased the rights to the design. By 1957, his Dual Motors, named for the twin-engine trucks that the factory once produced, had a modified version of the Firearrow in production. It was known as the Dual-Ghia, and it featured an unbeatable combination of reliable Motor City-bred Dodge V-8 power and gorgeous hand-formed bodywork by Italian coachbuilders Ghia, of Turin.
Casaroll personally hand-chose his customers from a list of clamoring applicants. Frank Sinatra, who was the brightest of all stars at the time, was a natural choice, as were his friends Peter Lawford and Eddie Fisher. It was this one-upmanship that led legendary Hollywood columnist Dorothy Kilgallen to wisecrack that a Rolls-Royce was the “status symbol for those who can’t get a Ghia.” Presumably, there were a lot of Rolls-Royces delivered in the late 1950s, but only about 100 Dual-Ghias were made between 1956 and 1958. With the exception of a duo of prototype coupes, all were convertibles.
The car offered here, chassis no. 145, is believed to have been delivered new in California. Its history has been traced back to the 1970s, when it was owned by Graham Enterprises, of Los Angeles, whose owner is believed to have been involved in the recording industry. It then passed to Robert Irving Moe, in whose ownership it was known to Dual-Ghia historians. After remaining with Mr. Moe for some time, the Dual-Ghia was sold to a well-known collector in the American Southwest who is known for the high quality of his restorations.
The restoration given to this Dual-Ghia has been performed to an utterly outstanding concours standard. An original letter from Dual Motors to a customer, found in the National Automotive History Collection of the Detroit Public Library, was sourced, noting that custom colors were available. As a result, the period-correct shade of bronze was chosen, and it is absolutely stunning, particularly against the crisp bright red leather interior, which was installed in the correct pattern. Dr. Paul Sable, author of the Automobile Quarterly Dual-Ghia history, was consulted to source correct and accurate parts. The end result is an absolutely breathtaking presentation, well preserved since.
Accompanying this car are the pages of an original Dual-Ghia brochure, as well as their original mailing envelope and a priceless “Prices and Equipment” card, which served as the Dual-Ghia’s “window sticker” when new and is in mint condition today.
In the 1950s, this was America’s most prestigious automobile. One could argue that, over half a century later, the Dual-Ghia still proudly holds that position.