Monterey

16-17 August 2013

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Lot 113

1957 Dual-Ghia Convertible

  • Chassis no. 100

Sold for $330,000


230 hp, 315 cu. in. Dodge D-500 “Red Ram” V-8 engine, Carter four-barrel carburetor, Chrysler Powerflite two-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115 in.

  • Believed to have been the first production Dual-Ghia built
  • Formerly the property of Ken McBride
  • Freshly completed three-year restoration by Joe Morgan


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-engined trucks that the factory once produced, had a modified version of the Firearrow in production. Known as the Dual-Ghia, it featured an unbeatable combination of reliable Motor City-bred Dodge V-8 power and gorgeous hand-beaten bodywork by noted Italian carrozzeria Ghia of Turin. Exhaustive attention to detail and extensive handcraftsmanship resulted in a beautifully finished automobile, with a luxurious interior that featured such sporty notions as front bucket seats and a dashboard with a full set of instruments, set against engine-turned aluminum.



Casaroll’s genius was in recognizing the value of social status and upper-class appeal. Long before the Ferrari factory studied how many of a car they could sell and then built one fewer to ensure demand, the father of the Dual-Ghia personally hand-chose his customers from a list of clamoring applicants. Frank Sinatra, at the time the brightest of all stars, was a natural choice, as were his friends Peter Lawford and Eddie Fisher. Writing in their seminal Dual-Ghia history, published in Automobile Quarterly, John Martens and Dr. Paul Sable recounted a would-be buyer in Brooklyn who refused a car on the grounds that one had already been delivered there. He then offered to move to Connecticut, only to be told that one had already been sent to the Constitution State as well.



It was this one-up-manship 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, as 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 shown here is believed to be chassis number 100, which would make it the very first production Dual-Ghia built and, as a result, one of the most historically significant Dual-Ghias surviving. It is important to note that prior to this car’s discovery many years ago, chassis number 101, Casaroll’s own, was thought to be the earliest surviving car; it is believed that this car, built prior, was a late-stage prototype.



Formerly owned by noted collector Ken McBride, the convertible was eventually acquired by the respected historian and enthusiast Joe Morgan, whose knowledge of these cars is exhaustive and his reputation for high-quality work is well known. Mr. Morgan spent three years restoring this car to as near original condition as possible; he recalls, “We took it down to the bare bones,” returning every nut and bolt to pristine form. The motor and transmission were rebuilt, the driveshaft remanufactured, new wiring installed, and the rear axle properly rebuilt.



Importantly, this car retains the many unique detail features only seen on the first handful of Dual-Ghias, including a single support arm for the trunk, padded trim around the dashboard, a unique steering wheel, and no ashtray. It was originally fitted with hand-cranked windows, but these proved impossible to restore properly, so correct power lifts, as installed on the vast majority of Dual-Ghias, were fitted.



As a result, this Dual-Ghia surely stands among the best remaining examples. Equally important, the car has not been publically shown since the restoration’s completion, allowing the new owner to proudly flaunt this automobile at the show or concours of his or her choosing.



This is a very special and prestigious example of one of the most elite and exclusive automobiles of its generation.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more