1956-1958 Dual-Ghia

The 1956-1958 Dual-Ghia was conceived by auto transport contractor Eugene Casaroll, who formed Dual Motors in Detroit to build this limited-production convertible based on Virgil Exner's Dodge Firebomb/Firearrow show cars of the early '50s. When Chrysler decided not to put the basic design into production, Casaroll bought the original Firebomb show car, had it reengineered, and contracted to buy complete Dodge chassis, including the hot D-500 V-8.

The plan was to build 150 Dual-Ghias per year. Chassis were shipped to Turin, Italy, where the Ghia coachworks hammered out the steel bodies by hand over aluminum dies. Designer Paul Farago had added extra passenger and cargo space to enhance liveability. Quality was the watchword: body moldings were held in place with chrome-plated brass clips, while the interiors were swathed in genuine Connolly hides.

Ghia fitted body to chassis, and the completed assembly was returned to Detroit where Dual Motors installed the drivetrain and the interior trim. Despite all its custom craftsmanship, the D-G was priced less than a contemporary Cadillac Eldorado and Continental Mark II.

Hollywood personalities -- notably Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, and other members of the "Rat Pack"-- vied with one another to get on the waiting list. But mounting costs combined with Casaroll's refusal to compromise quality lost the company money on every car.

Distinctive and quite fast, it had a top speed of 120 mph according to a contemporary road test. The first-generation D-G venture wound down in 1958.

Pluses of the 1956-1958 Dual-Ghia:

  • Exclusivity
  • Handsome good looks
  • Strongly built
  • Excellent performance

Minuses of the 1956-1958 Dual-Ghia:

  • Very costly now
  • Body hardware extinct
  • Multi-piece Italian body seriously rust-prone

Production of the 1956-1958 Dual-Ghia:
117 (includes 13 prototypes; two cars were converted to hardtops)

Specifications of the 1956-1958 Dual-Ghia:
Wheelbase, inches: 115.0
Length, inches:
Weight, pounds: 3,800
Price, new: $7,741 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1956-1958 Dual-Ghia:

ohv V-8315 cid

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