Incredible $750,000 1957 Dual-Ghia…On Craigslist?

As it happens, I saw the near double of this Dual-Ghia at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance on October 24th. It was in red, but otherwise very similar to this 1957 show restoration that’s for sale in the Dallas, Texas area here on Craigslist with a $750,000 asking price.

Yes, you read that right, a Concours restoration you’d expect to see in a Bonhams or Gooding auction right there on the List of Craig. The photos are great and show how meticulously restored this blue example is. The underside is as clean as the rest of the car. The actual information is sparse: “Insanely restored!! Has to be the best one out there. Less than three miles on the car. Pebble Beach restoration. No expenses were spared. Will consider some trades.”

But that’s really enough—the quality of the restoration is self-evident. There won’t be Bondo patches on this car. That said, anyone planning to spend three-quarters of a million dollars is going to want to know the car’s full provenance. Who restored it? What’s the history?

The Dual-Ghia story is colorful, and most people know the Rat Pack connection. Sinatra had one, as did fellow Packers Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin (who drives his own car in Kiss Me, Stupid), and Peter Lawford. Other celebrity owners: Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Hoagy Carmichael, Sterling Hayden, Richard Nixon, Glenn Ford, Lucille Ball (Desi Arnaz wrecked that one—or did they have his-and-hers cars?), Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson. The word of mouth must have been great, but it wasn’t enough to keep the company afloat.

For comparison purposes, a very nice 1957 Dual-Ghia was sold by the Owl’s Head Museum of Transportation at the New England Auto Auction in 2018 for $250,000—a third of the asking price of this one. And Hagerty lists a #1 Concours example at $519,000, so $750,000 is a stretch, especially if Sinatra never put it in his garage. A 1958 example once owned by Rick Danko of The Band (one of the rare cars not wrecked by members of that band) made nearly $350,000 in 2015, but I can’t find any examples selling for the asking price of this one. But they’re definitely appreciating—an example did reach $605,000 at a Mecum sale earlier this year.

The Dual-Ghia was an iteration of the Virgil Exner-designed Dodge Firearrow show car (which had versions I, II, III, and IV). It was developed for production by Gene Casaroll, whose day job was moving cars around through his business, Automobile Shippers. Dual Motors produced the Dual-Ghia from 1956 to 1958 only, with 117 escaping into the wild. Only two were coupes. Maybe 50 currently survive, but other sources say just 32.

The Dual-Ghia was powered by Chrysler’s famous 315-cubic-inch “Red Ram” Hemi V-8, except for some 1957s, which got the 361-cubic-inch Dodge D-500 motor. All were two-speed automatics. The Dual-Ghia was a boulevard and highway cruiser, and that suited the celebrity clientele. James Dean would have bought something else. They have a lot of presence in person, and Exner’s styling (with Ghia tweaks) is outstanding from every angle, including those au-courant tail fins. Two-tone upholstery makes the interior pop.

The Dual-Ghia was produced in a transatlantic supply line that Cadillac later emulated for the Allante. In both cases, it didn’t really work financially. Dodge produced the chassis, which then went over to Ghia in Turin, Italy for the body and interior. Back across the Atlantic, Dual Motors finished the cars and installed the Hemis. It might seem that $7,500 would have covered all this back then, but it didn’t.

There’s a reason Hollywood dominated the order book—these cars were fiercely expensive. It was the same price as a Mercedes Gullwing, and more than a Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz.

Dual-Ghias will always be exclusive, and fun to own. This one should have no trouble keeping up with modern traffic, should the new owner actually decide to drive it. Maybe the owner is negotiable… or do you have a comparable trade?

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    I guess there is always going to be someone wanting to cut their auction fees, but seriously,,,

    Like 6
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    I love Virgil Exner’s stuff, but, seeing this, how can anyone criticize the Edsel?

    Like 6
    • Will Fox

      Virgil Exner didn’t design these. Ghia did in Italy. Chrysler provided the chassis/powertrains while Ghia did the bodies.

      Like 7
      • John S Dressler

        And domestic car manufacturers like Cadillac paid through the nose to Ghia to design car bodies for them because they were absolutely artistic in creating beautiful cars esthetically pleasing to the eye. Even Volkswagen created a very popular body style with the Karmen Ghia by virtue of some of that exceptional body styling.

        Like 1
  3. joenywf64
  4. Jack M.

    Very cool find Jim, who submitted this one?

    Like 4
  5. Michael Streuly

    750k for that ugly ass car. I don’t see it maybe 7500.00.

    Like 3
    • MLM

      😂 Lol

  6. Scotia

    Is it just me or am I remembering the movie “the car” yes I know its not the same its the front end and they thick fenders

    Like 1
  7. George Mattar

    For that much, I will pay off my 3 kids houses and buy my 67 Corvette.

    Like 4
  8. Kelly g

    I probably need to pony up for this, as i’ve always seen myself as an undiscovered Rat Packer. I certainly look better and drink more than Sammy Davis Jr.

    Like 7
  9. Tony Primo
  10. ClassicCarFan

    Yes, odd pricing and listing … why choose CL for such an exotic car.

    As for the car itself. it does seem like a very tidy restoration on the face of it. I guess if anyone is seriously going to pay near the asking price they would have a thorough inspection to make sure it is as good under the skin.

    I can’t say I love the styling. I imagine most of the appeal of a car like this to the Hollywood crowd is the exclusivity. or proof that having obscene amounts of money to spend doesn’t automatically mean someone has good taste. If I were spending the sort of money this car sots ( either new, back in the day or today as a cherished classic) I can think of plenty of alternatives that are more attractive looking.

    Like 1
    • Gerard Frederick

      Should I have that sort of cash, I would go to Sbarro in Switzerland and have them built a 1936 Horch 120 roadster on an Audi A8 chassis. As it is I´ll just have to drool over stuff like this gorgeous machine, even if a deuche like Sammy Davis owned one. The rat pack was made up of over-sized egos whose claim to fame was drinking, abusing women, being credit criminals and arrogantly giving everyone the finger. Not really a bunch of emulateable guys. Their popularity always amazed me.

      Like 2
      • Tony Primo

        Well today’s actors don’t raise the moral bar much higher.

        Like 14
  11. Howie Mueler

    With time these will be over 1 million.

    Like 2
  12. Dave Peterson

    You have to admit to the listers genius. This is showing up all over, so his ploy (free publicity) seems to be working. I prefer the Hudson when seeing Italian coach builders with American power.

    Like 2
  13. chrlsful

    Facil Vega for winter? this for summer (both got the Frenchie look to me).
    (ck the dark blue, red’n the black 1s)
    https://www.classic-trader.com/uk/cars/search/facel-vega

  14. Cris

    This looks like the gas monkey car that Richard and Dennis bought. It was vin #1, that’s probably why the crazy asking price. Dennis has a track record of over pricing cars…….. by a lot! Remember the wrecked Ferrari F40 that he shelled out $900,000 for, then sold it at Barrett Jackson for $600k. Ouch. Or the $100k C10 the he sold at Barrett Jackson for 60k. And one of my favourites, his Austin Healy that he valued at 1million but didn’t get bids past 300k. So, that means this car is 500k, tops. ;)

    Like 2

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