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1 of 100: 1957 Dual Ghia 146

The 1950s were an era of creativity in design and engineering, and upscale cars like this 1957 Dual Ghia model 146 Convertible carried an element of prestige, more than most cars do today. Produced for only 3 years, around 100 cars were built and an estimated 60 remain. This particular example underwent a rotisserie restoration in 2018 and is gorgeous. You can find it listed here online, being sold by CorvetteMike. There’s no price listed, which means it’s probably a pretty big number!  Thanks to Barn Finds fan Larry D for the tip.

The Dual Ghia was the creation of Eugene Casaroll, the owner of Dual motors. The Ghia was based on the 1954 Dodge Fire Arrow concept car. Since Dodge never ended up producing it, Eugene bought the rights from Dodge, although Dodge supplied many components for the car. Although not many examples were made, it was a very successful model. Since there were no Dual dealers, it was sold from the factory in Detroit straight to the customer.

Just like many other low-volume cars with an Italian coach-built body, no two Dual Ghias were identical. The Dodge frames were shipped from Detroit to Turin, where the Dual team would shorten the length by seven inches before adding a hand-hammered body that was welded to the frame. The interior was added, and then it was shipped back to Detroit for final assembly and drivetrain installation. The cost of this car when new was $7,500, although even with that price Dual reportedly lost money on each sale.

Naturally, this example is in perfect condition, and has received many honors and awards listed on the seller’s website. The paint and chrome glisten, the light blue color is an excellent choice, and the overall demeanor of this car is of luxury and refinement. It has a lot of the styling elements popular in the 1950s like white walls and fins, but they are done in a subtle, understated way. That convertible top probably has a massive blind spot when driving, but I’ll assume most driving in this Dual Ghia is done with the top down.

That is a beautiful interior. The tri-tone color combo of blue dash, tan seats and doors, and dark carpet and seat piping is classy and very attractive. There’s quite a bit of chrome on the dash, and plenty of options like power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and search and seek radio.

The engine is the 315 cubic inch Dodge “Red Ram” Hemi V-8, rated at 230 horsepower, paired to a 2-speed automatic. It could reportedly do a 0-60 time of just under 9 seconds, and top out at 120mph. Of course, this engine is spotless and just as impressive as the rest of the car. This is a unique opportunity for someone to own a stunning hand-made piece of art, and they are sure to enjoy showing it off.

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    This takes me back…. In the mid-1960s, I would often see a black DG, every bit as shiny as this one, parked not far from my parents’ house. I certainly didn’t know what it was worth (a LOT less than now, I imagine) and sometimes thought of knocking on doors and making the owner an offer. I had some money set aside from my after-school job clerking and making deliveries for a pharmacy. Being young and naive, I thought that would probably do it….

    In those days, we had to make tough choices: another woman to whom I made deliveries had a very clean ’54 Corvette in her garage (which never seemed to come out), that also caught my eye. And there there was the woman who drove her late husband’s pristine, original, bone-stock ’32 Ford Victoria to town occasionally. DG, ‘Vette or Vicky? The optimism of youth!

    I wanted all three, but settled for a tired ’59 Hillman Minx.

    Like 22
    • Philip

      My brother had a Hillman Minx back in 1965/66. He used to call it the Hillman Jinx. I used to hotwire it and drive it around when I was 15. Fun car and easy to “steal”.

      Like 1
    • Dave Peterson

      I think everybody who came to be what was called a “Hot Rodder” in our town in the 1960’s has a story much like this. Mine involved a 365 GTB that I was lucky enough to drive for a week. I don’t think the Hillman was such a bad car, at least the ones I drove. The older I get the more it seems as though I am in a “Twilight Zone” episode. VW buses $100,000? GTO’s $75,000? That GTB is closing in on a Million Dollars. I couldn’t raise $20k to buy it in 1979. Time for my reliquary.

      Like 1
  2. jerry z

    Never knew they made that many Dual Ghias. Figured only a handful were built. Good looking cars.

    Like 6
  3. Will Fox

    In this condition, this is a $350K-$400K car. Much like French Facel-Vegas of the same period, which also utilized Chrysler chassis/powertrains. Only the upper crust drove these: Dean Martin, Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day among others had one.

    Like 10
    • chrlsful

      ‘S OK, I thought they WERE made by the same folks. Just gotta sneak between the Alps’n Met. Lotsa car collaboration over the yrs anyway~

  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Very interesting and unique car. I’ve never seen one in the flesh; RayT has, have you?

    I was interested in how many still exist. Wikipedia states there were 117 built, of which 32 still exist, but that number was as of 2006. I would hope that most (all?) of them which existed in 2006 still exist today. The price of $7500 in 1957 is something like $75,000 today; that’s a big number, but there are mainstream vehicles today selling for this amount. And it was significantly less than the contemporary Continental Mark II and Cadillac Eldorado Brougham.

    I hope whoever buys it will bring it out for others to see and enjoy.

    Like 8
  5. Johnny C.

    I saw one of these at an art exhibit in Portland, Or.. These cars are gorgeous and pictures do not do them justice!

    Like 1
    • Howie Mueler

      I was just going to say the same, way better in person!!

      Like 1
  6. John

    I saw one parked in the driveway of the Ambassador Hotel in CA. My Dad and I waited to see it drive off (I was about 8). It never left. My Dad said that it was the most beautiful car he ever saw. I remember that it was blue. But for it to have stuck in my Dad’s mine for 60 years, it must have been really something.

    Like 3
  7. Steve Clinton

    “There’s no price listed, which means it’s probably a pretty big number!”
    I’m bettin’ it’s 6 figures.

    Like 2
  8. Steve Clinton

    Absolutely beautiful…in spite of the 1957 era add-on fins.

    Like 1
  9. malcolm boyes

    Three members of The Rat Pack had them, Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford. When they went to their favorite bar on Sunset Blvd., Lawford told me, all three cars would be valet parked by the front door in a row..with Sinatra’s closest to the door of course ( God help the valet who parked it elsewhere!). Now that must have been one gorgeous sight!

    Like 6
  10. Vince H

    I saw 2 early last year. Both were in a restoration shop near me.

  11. Richard Kirschenbaum

    Frankly this car leaves me cold. I can think of a half dozen better looking domestics. i.e.Mark ll Continental, ’55 Imperial coupe, ’53 Skylark or Brits like a 120-140 Jag. The styling of the Dual is a hashed up amalgamation of plagiarized details none of which work to make a total statement. I read in Special Interest Autos a chronicle of a DG restoration that had the restorers encountering as much as a quarter inch of factory glazing putty (actually thick primer applied with a squeegee-bondo didn’t exist then) So much for European coachwork.

    Incidentally I saw the Talbot Lago T150 teardrop coupe at the Brooks Stevens museum in ’85 and the panel work was atrocious. This may have been due to a transport accident that rolled it or another Talbot, but if you see this car today and it’s straight, you can bet it;’s been to the local bondologist.

    Like 3
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      When I restored my 1962 Tatra T2-603, we discovered similar heavy coatings of thickened primer that after decades were finally flaking off. Spent weeks of time making just the roof ready for paint.

      While the Tatra, in theory, was a production car, in reality the production numbers included many older versions that were returned to the factory for updating and given new serial numbers. While they showed a production of 20,000 cars, the reality is the number was closer to 4,000 to 5,000. This helps understand the low quality of mostly hand formed body panels.

      Like 3
  12. Gerard Frederick

    The rat pack owned some? Well -rat pack- was a fitting name, a bunch of arrogant, disdainful, disrespectful guys whose talents consisted of behaving atrociously in public and being drunk and vile permanently. Phony as a three Dollar bill, or as this car, for that matter.

    • Richard Kirschenbaum

      Look Gerard, I don’t think much of this car either. It was conspicuous consumption personified, but calling Sinatra, Martin and Davis no talents is head up the posterior. ignorance or just sour grapes. And these guys never got in the kind of trouble today’s “talent” does. They kept their politics to themselves as well as celebs like Di Niro should. If you want to buy an overprice hashed up low production car, it’s your money.

      Like 4
      • Philip

        Sometimes, one’s concerns about the character and mental stability of a self proclaimed “stable genius” needs to be publicly scrutinized.
        Sinatra was a proponent for civil rights and did public service videos.
        I love these Italian marques with Detroit power. They may not have always been to everyone’s tastes but they were trying to offer alternatives.
        So many choices in this world.

        Like 3
    • Mountainwoodie

      Fellas…….NOW we’re on to ‘cancelling’ THESE cultural icons? What has the car world come to! Apparently some of us are holier than others. Not sure what makes a car ‘phony’…..perhaps putting a Corvette body on an Amphicar chassis?

      Like 5
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      So what car did you design and produce in the 50’s ?

      Like 1
  13. George Mattar

    I know Mike Vietro. If he is selling a car, it is right, but not cheap. He has been around many years in the business and probably took this on trade on a six figure 67 435.

  14. Larry D

    Thank you, too, Nick.

  15. JohnfromSC

    I agree with George. I bought an estate car Corvette Mike was selling on behalf of the family of one of his long term customers. His team took a ton of additional pictures at my requst. After we negotiated a price, I flew out to Anaheim. They picked me up at the airport and spent almost 4 hours with me as I reviewed everything, including on a lift. Found a couple of faults they hadn’t found, which were remedied no questions asked. A great buying experience One of the best in the business. I had learned of him from a NCRS judge who had sold him a 63 SWC big brake tanker years ago.

  16. tiger66

    Correctly, Dual-Ghia is written with a hyphen as it was a collaborative venture between Dual Motors and Ghia and the name reflected that. The Corvette Mike listing has the name right.

    Lawford’s D-G can be seen in the late ’50s “Thin Man” series he starred in and Dino reportedly drives his own D-G in the 1964 movie “Kiss Me Stupid.” Dino, Frank and Lucille Ball were among the owners of the even rarer early ’60s follow-up model, the L 6.4. Previously, Lucy and Desi had his and hers examples of the original.

    Like 1
  17. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Tiger66,

    Back in the early 1980s I found a beautiful & near mint original 2-door hardtop with an Italian body, a brand I had never heard of. It only had the hood emblem marked Ghia L6.4. There was a small decal on the windshield for Barris Customs. It was part of an estate, and I bought it cheap, because no one wanted it. When I got the title, it was marked Ghia in the “Make” section. The only reference to the car was a brief mention in G. N. Gorgiano’s Automobile Encyclopedia.

    Had one hell of a time selling the car because it wasn’t a Dual-Ghia, and it had been customized. Had it at the big Carlisle show, lots of people liked it, but not a single offer. Finally sold it to a guy, who as soon as he had paid for it and had title in hand, said; “By the way, this was the last Ghia L6.4 made, and it was owned new by Dean Martin”. Last I heard, the car sold at auction for around $120,000.

    Ya win some, ya lose some. At least I’ve got a photo of me sitting behind the wheel!

    Like 5

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