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.

  • Lou_BC "They are the worst kind of partisan - the kind that loves their team more than they want to know the truth."Ummm...yeah....Kinda like birtherism, 2020 election stolen, vast voter fraud, he can have top secret documents at Mar-lago, he's a savvy business man, and hundreds more.
  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. https://insideevs.com/news/598046/toyota-global-leader-solid-state-batery-patents/Of course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.