The Dual-Ghia was one of those machines whose intangibles were so compelling that they overrode all the practical reasons why it never should have been made. Born as the Chrysler Firearrow concept car in 1953, the Virgil Exner design made the show circuit rounds purely as a styling exercise. It was hugely popular—so much so that Chrysler investigated the feasibility of limited production. They determined the compound body panel curves of Exner’s design were not compatible with steel stamping methods used for Chrysler’s production process, so the idea was scrapped and the car retired. But so impressed with the design was industrialist Eugene Casaroll, president of Dual Motors Corporation—manufacturer of heavy trucks and other equipment for the Air Force during WWII—that he purchased the rights to the Firearrow from Chrysler and undertook to building it—under the new name of the Dual-Ghia—as a limited-production hand-built special.
Signature style elements like the curves and blade-bisected fenders were retained, with only minor revisions to the rest of the body. Running gear was sourced from Chrysler, using a 1956 Dodge chassis and two versions of the 315ci Hemi from the Dodge D-500. Standard was a single 4-barrel version with 260hp, and optional was the dual-quad with 285hp. Each Ghia took an astounding 1500 man-hours to build, which justified its astronomical $7,700 base price and ultra-exclusive availability. It became the conveyance of choice for stars of the music and movie scene, with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. driving them. Despite the price and the image, Dual lost an estimated $4000 on each one, and when Dodge overhauled the D-500 mechanicals the source of the Dual-Ghia’s mechanicals dried up and production ceased after just 117 units had been produced.
The fascinating provenance and uncompromising exclusivity make Dual-Ghia an ideal subject for Automodello. Exner’s glamorous styling is replicated beautifully in all four 1:43 scale versions, each complete with removable top and tonneau cover. Standard editions in red or blue are 499 each, Tribute Edition to Ed Schoenthaler's Collection is 57 Calypso Coral, and the most exclusive Homage Edition in black is just 24.