Pick of the Day: 1957 Dual Ghia with reputed Rat Pack connection

The Italian-American luxury cars were status symbols for mid-century celebrities

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The Dual Ghia glistens with mid-century glamour

The Pick of the Day was a glamorous Rat Pack favorite, back in the ‘50s when Frank Sinatra held court with the likes of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop. 

Matter of fact, this 1957 Dual Ghia convertible was “purportedly ordered by Frank Sinatra studios as a gift for (actress) Ava Gardner,” according to the dealer in West Palm Beach, Florida, advertising the car on ClassicCars.com

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Originally based on the Dodge Fire Arrow concept car, the Dual Ghia was produced from 1956-58 in an Italian-American collaboration between Dual Motors of Detroit and Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin, Italy.  The cars were created on Dodge chassis and running gear, which were shipped to Ghia for hand-built bodies and interiors, and then sent back to Dual for completion, which included installation of Dodge V8 engines.

This Dual with the possible celebrity connection – “some docs available,” the seller says – has been restored in a Midnight Blue finish with a blue fabric top and blue-and-cream interior, the ad says; the convertible originally was champagne-colored with a black interior.

Performance is provided by a 315cid, 230-horsepower Dodge D-500 V8 with a pair of 4-barrel carburetors and automatic transmission, and it has upgraded power steering and power brakes, the seller notes.

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Built for just three years, just over 100 Dual Ghia coupes and convertibles were built, and only 32 are known to still exist.  The luxurious cars were favorites among U.S. celebrities of the time, such as Dean Martin, Desi Arnaz and Sterling Haydon. Even Richard Nixon had one. 

Ronald Reagan owned one but, as the story goes, he lost it to Lyndon Johnson in a poker game. 

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While there have been a number Italian-American luxury and sports cars produced, primarily with lush Italian designer bodies and U.S. powertrains, the Dual Ghia is a standout for its evocative luxury style as well as its connection with big-name stars of the era. 

This restored example that was purportedly driven by the equally evocative Ava Gardner is priced at $275,000.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

9 COMMENTS

  1. This qualifies as magnificent!
    I’ve heard but never seen one, and this looks like a great one to have and probably a really good value.

  2. So much oozing cool, like Frank in his stingy brim, cigarette dangling, crooning away in the original Las Vegas.
    Why on earth was the colour scheme changed? Seems that might hit the value, and champagne would be a great colour for Ava. Too bad it’s not a 331-392 Hemi car, but still. Just rippin’ cool & “Mad Men” approved.

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