Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dual-Ghia L6.4 Coupe (1961-63)

Eugene Casaroll, with some Chrysler cooperation, opened Dual Motors in Detroit in 1956 to build a gimmick-less 'Italian American car' to appeal to the Rat Packs on both coasts. Richard Nixon, Ronald Regan, Lyndon Johnson, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin all bought the Ghia-built-body-on-a-Dodge-frame car, the design based on that of Virgil Exner's Firearrow show car. The Series 1 Dual-Ghias (1957-58) were relatively light and most of the 117 cars produced went rapidly because of the 315 cubic-inch Dodge Hemi short-stroke V8 under the hood.

Realizing a new model was needed, Vice President of Dual Motors Paul Farago and the designers at Ghia later drew up a second-generation model, a 'two-plus-two' fastback coupe with lines refined by Chrysler's Virgil Exner. Ghia hand-built the body and the entire car, including the chassis, which was based on 1960 Chrysler suspension, and a 383 cubic-inch 'Wedge' V-8. The cars were offered in hardtop coupe form only. They carried a price of $13,500 - a substantial figure for its era. The price along determined its exclusivity, but it also meant the buyer was getting one of the finest-finished automobiles in the world. 

Sadly, the glorious existence of the L6.4 came to an end after just 26 examples (plus a prototype) were built. The high cost of the automobile and the equally steep cost and complications of producing the car in Italy and selling it in the United States brought it to a premature end. (conceptcarz.com)

1962 Dual-Ghia L6.4 Coupe (chassis #00320) 

This black model was once owned by Dean Martin and was remodeled by George Barris at his Kustom Coachworks. The headlamps were changed into flush oval Euro Headlamps (the original design were traditional round ones), and the turn signals were subtly hidden inboard behind the grille. Also identified by a plaque on the center console and a pair of original Sixties' Barris Kustoms decals inside the corners of the windshield. Finished in black that highlights its body lines and the vast glass area of its greenhouse. It is fitted with a Nardi woodrim steering wheel and all the luxury touches expected of an exclusive Sixties semi-custom. Power comes from a 335hp Chrysler 383 cubic inch V-8 with TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes and air conditioning. Chrome wire wheels with narrow whitewall tires are highlighted by thin chrome accents around the wheelwells and along the rocker panels nicely setting off thin chrome front fender vent trim. The black leather interior is original and has an inviting patina. (wikipedia)

Dual-Ghia L6.4 Coupe with oval headlights

Dual-Ghia L6.4 Coupe with round headlights

1961 Dual-Ghia L6.4 Coupe Concept

This Dual-Ghia L6.4 is the prototype for the second series of the Dual-Ghias.

(Photos from conceptcarz.com, supercars.net & autowp.ru)

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