16-17 August 2013

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Lot 151

1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe

  • Chassis no. 0305
  • Engine no. 0305

Sold for $352,000

335 bhp, 383 cu. in. Chrysler OHV “Wedge” V-8 engine, Carter four-barrel carburetor, Torqueflite three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with torsion bar and tubular shock absorbers, solid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and tubular shock absorbers, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115 in.

  • The 1962 New York Auto Show car
  • The fifth of only 26 built
  • Four enthusiast owners from new, with 28,000 miles
  • Completely original and unrestored
  • An Italian-American masterpiece

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 reliable MoPar mechanicals and svelte hand-built Ghia coachwork. Not only had the car been successfully produced, but it had, in only three short years since its 1956 introduction, become the favored automobile of Hollywood royalty. Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and Peter Lawford 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 Ghia designer Paul Farago was, and he 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 L6.4, or “6.4 liter,” which is the metric displacement of its engine.

Priced at an astonishing $13,500, the L6.4 nonetheless brought back Sinatra and Ball as return customers, and no one could deny that the buyer didn’t get his or her money’s worth: the Ghia was among the finest-finished automobiles in the world. It wasn’t the price that was the problem. It was the cost of production, and the complications of building a car in Italy and selling it in the United States, that was the problem. In the end, the L6.4 was doomed to a brief yet glorious existence, with only 26 built and sold.

As confirmed by noted Dual-Ghia historian Dr. Paul Sable, this car, chassis number 0305, was the factory’s New York Auto Show car in 1962. It was sold off the show floor to Bernard Berman, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, a noted enthusiast and car collector who acquired several Dual-Ghias over the years. While in Berman’s care, the pristine L6.4 appeared in Dr. Sable and John Matras’s benchmark Dual-Ghia history that was published in Automobile Quarterly, Volume 35, Number 3.

Berman retained this car until the early 2000s, when it was sold to its second owner; it has traded hands only twice since, most recently to a noted collector of 1950s Chrysler products, from whose hands it is offered today.

What makes this L6.4 spectacular is not only its long-term original ownership by an enthusiast, but how beautifully it has been preserved as decades passed. The term “time capsule” is perhaps overused, but one cannot help but bring it to mind when examining the nearly perfect original paint, interior, and chrome of this car, all of which is much as it was in 1962. All the original Sekurit glass is in place, as is all the original wiring and decals under the hood. Even the factory air conditioning still keeps things cool. The car is filled with abundantly fine detail, including beautifully finished trim on the dashboard and headliner.

Behind the front seat is a set of the original fitted luggage, with which this car was supplied new; the luggage is also preserved in near-perfect condition, and it appears to have never been used in the 28,000 miles that the Ghia has been driven since 1962.

All great automobiles are a reflection of their time and place. The Ghia L6.4 was built at a time when American automobiles were at the peak of their grandeur and when European design was beginning to make inroads in the field of American good taste. It was an era when successful people of a certain income could, thanks to Eugene Casaroll, Paul Farago, and some very talented craftsmen in Turin, buy themselves the next best thing to a concept car.

The L6.4 offered today, kept for all these years virtually exactly as it was when it was new, represents an opportunity for a lucky bidder to revisit that time and place, to capture that feeling again, and to enjoy hand-built motoring at its finest, just as 26 lucky jet-setters did at the start of the Space Age.

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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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

+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