Rare Rides: The Extremely Luxurious 1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the extremely luxurious 1958 dual ghia convertible

The Rare Rides series started off in the early part of 2017 with a concept Ghia that was all Ford underneath. A year later we featured the Quicksilver, which wore Lincoln badges. And more recently, a Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia caught our brougham attention.

Time for some change, and to have a look at a Ghia which is all Chrysler beneath its luxury fittings and beautiful styling.

Dual isn’t the name of this convertible, but rather the manufacturer which offered it for sale. The Dual Motors Company was founded in the 1940s by businessman Eugene Casaroll. In addition to building dual-engine (hence the name) military vehicles for use in WWII, the company contracted with Chrysler to take care of its automotive shipping needs.

Working closely with Chrysler, Casaroll took an interest in its cars, and one concept in particular. It was the Ghia-bodied Dodge Firebomb concept, which was designed by Virgil Exner and debuted in 1955. After Chrysler decided it would not build the concept convertible, the automaker sold it to Casaroll. He hired car designer Paul Farago to slightly alter the design (adding fins and passenger space) and ready it for mass production. Dual was going into the luxury car business.

Production began in 1956, and involved the sort of cross-continental shipping Mr. Casaroll was used to. First, Dodge D-500 chassis were shipped over to Ghia in Turin, Italy. There, they took some inches off the wheelbase and attached the hand-built coupe bodies.

200 man hours per car was required to shape the lines we see here, and fit the utterly beautiful interior. This meant production was slow — limited to about a dozen cars per month. Though the body was Italian, and English leather covered the interior, the Dual-Ghia retained an American drivetrain. It’s a Hemi V8, mated to a PowerFlite automatic (two speeds is plenty).

This extreme level of craftsmanship and luxury didn’t come cheap; the Dual-Ghia rang in at $7,500, or $200 more than the pinnacle of American luxury, the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. The high pricing wouldn’t work to Dual’s favor, even though the car found famous owners like Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, and Desi Arnaz. Costs outmatched revenue, and production of the Dual-Ghia was finished by 1958. The Dual Motors Corporation was no more.

All told, just 117 Dual-Ghias were produced. The numbers of known examples have dwindled over the years, now standing at only 30. This particular example received a no-expense-spared restoration to concours-level quality, winning a ribbon at Pebble Beach in 2010.

Everything’s functional and in perfect condition — as well it should be. The seller wants $499,900. An interesting, quick blip in the American car industry, the Dual-Ghia is one to remember.

[Images via seller]

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  • THX1136 THX1136 on Apr 03, 2018

    Nice car! Don't much care for the "tacked on" fins, but I can overlook that. Thanks for the article, Corey.

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Apr 03, 2018

      Welcome! This was one of the ones where I knew the vehicle existed, but not much else.

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Apr 03, 2018

    If only it was possible to custom body an AMG beast to look like this but work like that.... Excuse me while I go dream for a while.

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