1 Of 4: 1955 Chrysler Ghia ST Special

When a special interest car as unique and rare as this one comes on the market, you just never know what deep-pocketed car collectors have got their eye on it.  But my first thought on this one would be how at home it would look in Jay Leno’s Garage, who by the way was released from the hospital on Monday and is thankfully expected to make a full recovery from his recent steam car mishap.  With only four total examples ever produced, this 1955 Chrysler Ghia ST Special was on display at the Turin Motor Show in April of that same year, and it’s even got a Hemi!  This rarity will be part of the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida this January, and if you’d like to take a look it can be found here on the Mecum website.

Barn Finds reader Larry D. brought this one to our attention, and we’d like to thank him for the great tip!  Based on the New Yorker chassis, the historical significance of the Ghia ST Special compliments its rarity, as it was the final design from the partnership of stylist Virgil Exner and Ghia chief Luigi Segre, which began in 1951 and lasted through 1955.  The car underwent a nut-and-bolt restoration which is said to have taken a number of years and was finished in 2014, which presents stunningly in the same Copper/Ivory color that it wore back in ’55.

The car features a 331 cubic inch Hemi under the hood with a 4-Barrel carburetor, making 250 horsepower, fitted to a 2-Speed Powerflite automatic transmission.  Everything under the hood is as neat and tidy as things are outside, with that Hemi looking just beautiful under there and filling up the bay area nicely.  The Ghia is also equipped with power steering, power brakes, and period-correct wire wheels.

The Copper/Ivory theme continues inside and the interior features leather upholstery, with the whole interior looking just as fresh today as it did in 2014 when the restoration was completed, even the carpet.  This is one of those rarities most of us can only dream about owning someday, and with its scarcity, there’s probably going to be some stiff competition before the hammer falls down on this one.  Any ballpark ideas on how much you think this 1955 Chrysler Ghia ST Special may exchange hands for?

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Who cares what it goes for. It’s highly unlikely anyone who visits THIS here site, sportin’ that kind of cash. It is without question, the fanciest ’55 Chrysler seen, in pure Italian opulence. The average American schmoe didn’t really need all the glitz, and a “regular” Chrysler was good enough. I bet old Carl( Kiekhaefer) had a word or 2 to say about what they did to “his” magnificent Chrysler. Sure looks nice, and not sure why Jay Leno came up. Let me just say this, about that. While being burned is tragic enough, and I don’t doubt he was hurt, BUT, this is Hollywood, folks, and every couple years, something happens to him, like the Barracuda rollover, gives his possibly sagging career a little boost. He pays people BIG BUCKS to make his image stick. He’s a great guy, does a lot of charity work, I think his “collection” will fall on deaf ears soon, but after visiting Hollywood, 1st hand, I don’t believe much that comes out of that town.

    Like 12
    • CVPanther Member

      Wow. So now Jay intentionally burned himself for publicity?
      Does the sh*t ever stop spewing from your mouth/hands Howard?
      Seriously, you just can’t seem to help yourself from saying/typing really stupid, bitter sh*t all the time. You’ve gotta be a real joy in person.

      Maybe get some help, perhaps some strong meds that keep you from being able to type or talk so much. It would be a start, anyway.

      Like 120
      • Michael

        Too many diesel fumes or brandy old-fashioneds

        Like 13
      • Howard A Member

        Oh, please, you obviously don’t know Hollywood and yes, clearly a frustrated individual thanks in part to this site and people like you. Crusty? Bitter? You bet, and what, don’t like to hear it? Typical. I’ll let myself out,,,,

        Like 2
      • Kim in Lanark

        Brandy old fashioneds, Michael? Is he a cheesehead? I know Chrysler Corp. made several Ghia speicials and concepts around this time. This one is perhaps the best looking, and maybe the most production ready. Share the chrome and perhaps the inner sheet metal with the production Chryslers and make this the 300. You would have a true Gentleman’s touring car.

        Like 7
    • CCFisher

      I kind of enjoy your crusty ramblings, Howard, but I have to say that suggesting that Jay Leno is staging accidents is probably a bit over the top.

      Like 45
      • Howard A Member

        I never said he “staged” anything, but unless you’ve been “behind the scenes”, like I have, Hollywood is built on fantasy. That’s one thing about some of you people, or most people in general, they listen to half a story, make up the rest so their point seems more valid,, and I’M THE BAD GUY for possibly calling the obvious, but we shouldn’t go there, huh?. Nobody mentioned that I said he was a great guy, or his charity work, just that I think his injuries may be overstated. A guy as popular as Jay, will receive an OUTPOURING of well wishes, and that’s what Hollywood celebrities crave, it’s all about attention.
        * disclaimer*
        It’s okay, I KNOW I’m not the only one that thinks like me, I guess I’m one of the few that expresses like I do. I apologize to most for being vocal on subjects I feel strongly about. Apparently, anyone that has a strong opinion about something, and expresses it in a lengthy text, SURELY must be on something. Nice,,,

        Like 6
    • John temple

      How did you gain all your inside hollywood expertise? We’re you some fringe actors personal butt wiper.

      Like 18
      • jwaltb

        That’s almost as cold as Howard’s first post. Can we all take a chill pill?

        Like 9
      • Mountainwoodie

        Whoa.whoa……wha’ts going on here?.

        Lets leave the internet ankle biting elsewhere. Its easy to be clever and attack people’s opinions from a keyboard. We don’t need that on BF where we gather to BS, yes give our opinions and laments, on the beautiful cars that BF spends time sussing out.
        While I dont agree with HoA’s take , I don’t attack him. I think he jumped the shark but we share a similar cynical view of modern culture.
        We’re a long way from the idealism of our youth and old iron ought to give us somethin to bs about……….like this beautiful Ghia Chrysler. Just gorgeous.

        Like 15
    • Mike G.

      Total bloviating moron!

      Like 7
    • Rallye Member

      I think Carl loved it. He had his share of non-Chrysler cars. Just the other day a friend retold the story of when he was a youngster climbing over the door sill in Carl’s 300SL Gullwing.

      Bet you get a lot of comments on Leno.

      I had both hands and wrists burned with gas. Nothing to joke about.
      I guess every few years something has happened to me. I’m careful but there’s times when somebody or something (race car/rallye car breaking, goats got me once) will get you no matter what.

      Like 8
    • Mountainwoodie

      HoA- Usually I see you as the Oracle of Barn Finds…but I think you’ve let our shared cynicism for all things modern culture jump the shark.
      I would suspect that Leno needs not our applause nor our money. I doubt there was any publicity stunt involved in getting burned. Shight happens….even to the more knowledgeable among us. I agree about his collection but that’s not really the point of it.
      I could apply the same logic to my own car collection of one vehicle and one truck lol. Aint nobody walking upright today is going to be rushing to buy my stuff. But I enjoy it. When I’m forced against my will off this mortal coil I will be humming an Aretha Franklin tune with visions of Woodies in my minds eye.
      I’m guessing Leno’s motivation is similar despite his years in the limelight.
      Love these Ghia-Chrysler collaborations.just beautiful by the way :)

      Like 9
    • Stan

      🎯 Howard.

      Its called hollyweird for a reason.
      🎬 🎥 🎞

      Like 6
    • Chuck Dickinson

      Jay Leno is not your typical ‘Hollywood Guy’. He’s a regular guy, who likes regular stuff, and just happens to be lucky enough to have made enough money to support his love of cars and collecting–something most any of us would do given the chance.

      Like 6
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Sorry Howard, but why do you assume that no wealthy individuals frequent the site? With millions of readers, we have people from every walk of life.

      Like 3
  2. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I like the car.

    Like 33
  3. Grant

    Several weeks back I plopped down my two dollars on the counter and bought a billion dollar Powerball ticket. To bad I didn’t win because if I did, this in all likelihood would be mine. Is there a better way to spend a billion dollars? Okay, maybe a tad for the church, and those kids on the St Judes commercials look pretty cute, but after that, look out road, me and my Ghia are coming through! That’s right children, I would actually drive it. Us nouveau riche do things a little differently ya know.

    Like 29
    • Kim in Lanark

      It’s probably for the best I didn;t win either. I would buy it and restomod it.

      • Terry

        Nooooooooooooooooo!

        Like 4
  4. Buffalo Bob

    Waiter? Check, please. I think we’ll skip dessert.

    Like 8
  5. Mike

    Between 250-750K?

    Like 7
    • Kurt Member

      At least. I wonder where the others are now and what they are worth.

      Like 2
  6. Michelle Rand Staff

    Love this. I hope it runs! Anyway, here’s some background on the car’s auction experience:

    In 2015, it was offered for sale at Barrett Jackson’s Scottsdale auction where it did not meet reserve. https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1955-CHRYSLER-ST-SPECIAL-GHIA-180484

    In 2017, it went to Amelia offered by Hollywood Wheels. No info on that sale.
    https://www.hemmings.com/stories/2017/02/08/a-hybrid-of-a-different-kind-the-1955-chrysler-ghia-st-special

    In 2018, it sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction for $527,500. https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo18/monterey/lots/r0050-1955-chrysler-st-special-by-ghia/688206

    So it’s had a hard time finding a permanent residence. Too bad, it’s lovely.

    Like 1
  7. Joe Haska

    It amazes me the comments and conversations, that start over a post on C/L. First of all what an absolutely stunning car. I could never own it ,but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming. Then the next thing I know we have turned the conversation to Jay Leno and Hollywood,WTF! I know Hollywood is another world, most of us can’t begin to understand. I do understand, this car is a piece of automotive art, that any car lover would love to have.

    Like 19
  8. gaspumpchas

    Sorry this thread turned off topic. Howard seems like a great guy, and I myself enjoy his posts. I enjoy all the posts here because we can all learn something from them. However! Spewing venom has no place here. Lets keep it clean and respect what a great site this is, and if you don’t like them go elsewhere. There’s enough hatred and disrespect in the world now. My car world is where I go to escape it.
    Cheers
    Charlie

    Gaspumpchas

    Like 35
    • Gerard Frederick

      Absolutely! We are all children of our times and as such have our opinions influenced unduly by the powers-that-be. I know nothing of Leno, except he is a real car guy who apparently knows his stuff. All of this uncalled for crap reminds me on the ¨Nazi garbage about the 1936 BMW and the outrageous implication there was something to be ashamed of having been a Lutfwaffe man. What the hellk is wrong with people to come up with such trash? The same here with Mr. Leno and his Hollywood connection. There is nothing quite as unfair, incorrect and vicious as guilt be association. Let´s stick to the matter at hand, namely the joy of old cars. Incidentally, I wish Leno all the best and God Speed.

      Like 16
    • Solosolo Solosolo Member

      Well said Gas. I’m sure most of us go to our car world when things get us down a bit.

      Like 2
  9. Frank Sumatra

    Howard is here to stay because he helps support the BF business model with his crazy-a$$ view of the world. He brings the eyeballs that drive ad revenue. I do feel sorry for his family though. Everybody gets 168 hours a week to spend as they see fit. Howard spends his time in the most useless way. Pity.

    Like 11
    • Mountainwoodie

      Wow. Just wow. Do you like the car?

      Like 2
  10. Steve

    Beautiful car; hope we find out what it goes for.

    Like 5
  11. Harry

    Years ago every morning on my way to work I would drive by an old body shop. Sitting outside in the elements with access from the road was a 1967 Ghia 450SS. It was a bit rough but I didn’t have a great deal of knowledge of this car at the time and also no internet. I stopped by a couple of times to look it over. It had Chrysler under pinnings and a V8 from I think a Barracuda. It was very cool. Sat for years and one day it disappeared. Hindsight is always 20/20. This was in Alberta ,Canada.

    Like 5
    • Steve

      Most of us have (at least one) story about the “one that got away.” Mine was a Nomad a gentleman was selling for $375 in the late 60s. I couldn’t persuade my parents to loan me the money and being 17 I knew there’s no bank that would lend me the money. Oh well.

      Like 4
      • Mike G.

        At the time, I was driving a
        Morgan+4. My find was a 1930 Duesenberg. Alas, my folks wouldn’t float me the loan, either. Broken dreams!

        Like 4
  12. Ergo

    This is a gorgeous car, especially when considering the competition from the 1950s.

    As to Jay Leno, I wish him the best.

    Like 1
  13. Terrylee86

    I don’t Jay Leno from Adam, but I did see the photos of all of his burns after he was released from the hospital. Ouch, he is permanently scarred on his face and hands. He went through some serious pain. Hollywood is a fantasy land, but those 3rd degree burns cook flesh. No 2nd degree blisters there. Serious pain, cooked flesh has a distinct odor, especially when it’s yours.

    Like 10
    • Frank

      Steam and boiling water will kill you as painfully as fire will, nothing to mess with. We had a steam tractor blow a boiler at a local tractor show some years back. Killed at least one I know of, other injured not sure of

  14. Comet

    Howard, my wife recently accused me of becoming a crotchety old curmudgeon. I showed her some of your comments. She’s now off my back.

    Like 30
  15. Cycle Salvage Kevin

    Bottom line, we all have our opinions. We know nothing of other’s personal lives here on BF and until we’ve walked a mile in their (Howard’s) shoes we should respect those opinions. Howard’s comments over the years have for the most part been a joy to read. Please stop the personal attacks already!

    Like 6
  16. Steve

    In regards to Howard’s comments: pretend this site is the tv, if you don’t like what you’re reading pick up the remote and change the channel.

    Like 3
    • chrlsful

      no thanks, BaT sucks. HA livens up this piece of computerized pict-o-graphs. Petrolicious is a bit better…
      If I see HA comin I just hit skip.
      Any place “offa da cars” is one I pass by as that’s what it’s about, not stooopid
      personalities. I’d go ta Ppl Magazine or sompin if it wuz~
      Stay on’um!

  17. TheOldRanger

    I like Jay Leno, he loves cars, but he also has a hands-on approach, which is quite something for someone in the entertainment business. I totally disregard Howard, I know people like him, and he “gets off” on people commenting on his comments… so if you want to get to Howard, just ignore him. I’m sorry Jay got burned, but then he is always on the edge in several areas, that is just his personality and style…
    but I seriously doubt Jay looks for “press”… he doesn’t need it, not with his money and his personality. He loves cars and he loves life… sometimes things just happened…. I have a shirt that says “I’m sure my last words will be…. well, crap, I thought it would work” and I think that fits Jay.

    Like 8
  18. Oregonman

    I seriously could not care less about Hollywood and the going’s on that the industry produces. Most of it is bad and destructive to society. I and everyone else live in the real world. That being said we’re all here to enjoy old cars so I suggest IMHO let’s let leave Faith and Politics and our opinions about the society around out our forum. There’s plenty of other places to spread that and in doing so we may avoid saying anything that we may regret. Let’s plow ahead and critique the heck out of these old cars and express our yay or nay but not attack one another….long live Barn Finds!!!

    Like 7
  19. RUSSELL5

    Can we get back to cars? Does anyone know of a Chrysler powered Ghis bound for the NY Auto Show at the old Coliseum? It was said to have gone down in the hold of the Andria Doria? True or one of those early 60’s teenage rumors…when cars were dreams?

    • Solosolo Solosolo Member

      It was, and still is, on the Andrea Doria.

      Like 2
  20. Neil

    I have to laugh at the thought of Leno needing to “prop up his sagging career”. The guy ” retired ” with more money than God.
    About the car. Does anyone else see Studebaker in this design? It most certainly is a beaut.

    Like 8
  21. RUSSELL5

    Never mind guys…..good old Google to the rescue

    “The Chrysler Norseman was a four-seat fastback coupe built in 1956 as a concept car. Although designed by Chrysler’s stylists, actual construction was contracted out to the Italian coach-building firm of Carrozzeria Ghia. The concept car was lost during the sinking of the SS Andrea Doria”

    Like 1
  22. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    If my memory of the 1954/55 Chrysler Ghia ST Special cars is still ok, Chrysler Corp allowed Charles LaDouch, the official importer of MoPaR cars & trucks, and the owner of France Motors of Paris [the Chrysler-Plymouth dealer for France], to build up to 16 Ghia coupe bodies on the New Yorker chassis. From various sources it is believed that 12 cars were constructed in 1954 & 55, and possibly as few as 4 bore 1955 chassis numbers. Of the 4 cars, 2 went to France, and 2 remained in Italy.

    Note that the only external trim pieces on the Ghia ST Specials are the front bumper and the bar above it housing the turn signals, and the same bar was used on the back for the back-up lamps. The taillights and chrome rings around the headlights, while at first glance appear to be Chrysler parts, they are for Ghia ST Specials only.

    One other version of the Ghia ST Special, the 1955 Paris auto show car [Black with red roof] was sold about 5 or 6 years ago in Europe for just shy of $300,000. Note that while the car was a nice unrestored example, it had a teal green color change from decades ago, and as it was no longer an original color vehicle, the car really needed a full restoration. I suspect this gold example, in it’s superior condition, will sell in excess of $750,000.

    This car was run thru the Scottsdale auction block in 2015, but didn’t meet reserve [no published reserve price]. This car was then offered at the Hollywood Wheels auction at Amelia Island in 2018, but I don’t think it sold, as there is no reference to a selling price. [A non-official source put the reserve at $800,000, but I can’t confirm it.]

    I’m fairly knowledgeable concerning these cars because I owned the one-of-one 1956 Chrysler Imperial sedan that was assembled in Paris by Facel, for LaDouch’s France Motors, and shown at the Paris auto show. In researching my car I also “found” the Ghia specials.

    On thing to remember, these Ghia specials were not Chrysler Corp show cars, and were not imported into the USA when new. However I suspect Chrysler execs knew that by allowing LaDouch & Ghia to build a few cars, they would garner the parent company plenty of European press, and tie-in with the new 1955 Chrysler “Million Dollar Look”.

    Like 9
    • Kim in Lanark

      After a diligent search (a few minutes on duckduckgo) I was not able to locate anything on the LaDouch Imperial? Can you help a brother out?

      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        Kim [and other BF readers],

        In 1974 while living in central Germany I was cycling past a 2nd rate used car lot when I spied an older US car on the back line of cars for sale. It was a 1956 Imperial, and had the special “Chryslers-Plymouths USA, France Motors, Paris” date plate instead of the normal 1956 Chrysler firewall data plate. It also had a smaller plate with the words Assemble en France, Facel-Metallon, Paris. I bought the car for 300DM, [about $100], and used it as my everyday car, bringing it back to the USA with me.

        When I bought the Imperial, I was told by the car lot owner it had been built for the Paris Auto Show, but at the time I just thought it was something he said to encourage me to buy the car.

        I have done what research I can on the internet, and so far the only photo I can find shows the roof of a black 1956 Chrysler sedan in a photo taken at the 1957 Paris show, as the photo was for a different car behind it.

        For a short time I had a 1947 Bentley MKVI with a fastback coupe body by Facel-Metallon, and I used to own the 1960 Facel-Vega Excellence # 101, so I am familiar with Facel, and know they did contract work like final assembly or finishing of Chrysler Corp cars imported as unfinished vehicles. So while I am pretty sure from the information I have including the car’s firewall plates, that my Imperial was the actual Paris show car for the January 1957 event, but I really want to find a photo of the car at the show.

        Sadly, the Imperial was one of 18 cars I had in a warehouse when in 1995 the building was struck by lightning, and everything was a total loss.

        Like 2
  23. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Forgot to include the original color photo of the Paris auto show example!

    Anyone care to guess if these cars influenced the side view of the 1955 Imperials, especially the wheel openings?

    Like 2
  24. Cadmanls Member

    Hey out of the gutters folks, no names but no name, talk to someone. These cars are probably the best looking cars that ever wore the Chrysler name in the 50’s and even into the early 60’s. Definitely will be out of my price range, but hey there is always the lotto! This one will be a million plus to never travel the roadways again. Cheers to the new owner. By the way Jay was a poor comic at one time and still has his Buick!

    Like 4
  25. chrlsful

    Facel: stole my wind, beat me toit, I was gunna say.
    I see the strict Italian-American in the above but there’s some of that French in there too.
    Brit-German, French-Italian some of the best car designs from history. Mex/USA some of the best trucks.

    Like 2
  26. Frank

    Love the Chrysler show cars, especially the Norseman that is in a hold on the Andrea Doria.

    Like 2
  27. MLM

    Chrysler sure made some beautiful show cars in the 1950s especially the Adventurer 1( not the DeSoto). They were some head turners and show stoppers.

    Like 1
  28. Little Hope Member

    Howard’s total negativity turns many people away from BF !

    Like 4
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Little Hope,

      Actually, comment for comment, Howard tends to generate more positive than negative comments, however on some occasions his comments can provoke outrage from others. Overall I would consider his appearance on Barn Finds to have a positive effect.

      Like 4
  29. Happy Thanksgiving Member

    Jay Leno, the Vast majority of us “car people” wish you a quick recovery

    Like 7
  30. Bearman

    Mean while back at the ranch !!!!!

    That’s a very nice car, I’m sure it will go for big bucks.
    Thank you for posting but it’s out of my price range

  31. Mitch

    A beautiful car in beautiful colours. I think this not might
    break the bank when its auctioned because 1 of 4 ever
    built. Where do you find parts? Tricky for some. Insurance?
    Very costly.
    1 of 4 as the ad says it was built as study or better to
    understand for the most, as 1of 4 prototypes.

    My estimate here is 150’000 as fair value

  32. George Birth

    Beautiful Car, wouldn’t mind owning it. I do believe that it is going to bring some serious money before the auction hammer falls. I wish I could afford to bid on it. Unfortunately I have champagne taste on a soda pop pocketbook.

    Like 1
    • Kim in Lanark

      You can afford soda pop? Lord it over the rest of us, Mister Fancy Schmancy

  33. Alex

    I can’t believe all the BS in these comments that started all because of a rare 1955 Chrysler Gina ST Special . It appears to be in pristine condition, and I’m sure Jay Leno, being a car collector would probably juggle the thought of obtaining a vehicle so rare. I have no idea what it would auction for, except looking at past sales.

  34. Bunky

    Pardon me for going off-topic; but the Chrysler Ghia is a beautiful and historic car. Amazing what it’s valued at- but still free to look and admire. My Brother in Law was a collector and restorer, and had many interesting friends in the hobby. 50+\- years ago he took me with him to visit his friend who, believe it or not, had two Chrysler Ghias. They were super rare even back then. I don’t remember specifics about them at this late date.

    Like 1
  35. Civileyes Civileyes Member

    I’m rich and I like BF 😊

    Like 1

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