Lot Number
Serial #101; Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia
1956 Dual Ghia Convertible

CHASSIS NO: D63392893
• Car Number 101 – historic as the first production Dual Ghia
• Unbroken provenance including 59 years with two long-term Monterey, California owners
• Displayed in period at Palm Springs and Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
• Fresh professional restoration to factory specifications and original colors
• Delivered new to original owner by Dual Ghia founder Eugene Casaroll

ADDENDUM: PLEASE NOTE: This car is titled as a 1957.

315 cid Dodge V-8 engine, 218 HP at 4,400 RPM, single Carter four-barrel carburetor, Chrysler PowerFlite two-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 115”

A man possessed of virtually boundless vision and drive, Eugene Casaroll reinvented the new car delivery business during the 1920s with his Auto Shippers enterprise, earning him a sizable fortune by the onset of the Great Depression. During World War II, his Dual Motors Corporation overcame the limitations of conventional military trucks with fleets of reliable twin-engine vehicles. Business success allowed Casaroll to sponsor a long line of Auto Shippers Special Indianapolis ‘500’ entries and then a foray into the elite automobile manufacturing business, acquiring production rights to the Virgil Exner-designed, Ghia-built Dodge Firearrow concept cars of the early 1950s. Refined into the Firebomb concept car of 1955, essentially a fourth-generation Firearrow, the car was renamed the Dual Ghia in recognition of its co-builders, Casaroll’s Dual Motors of Detroit, and Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin, Italy.

Dual Motors shipped modified Dodge passenger car chassis from Detroit to Turin, where Ghia’s renowned Italian craftsmen formed and fitted the sleek, handmade and hand finished steel bodies. Once returned to the Dual facilities, the cars received powerful 315 cid Dodge V-8 engines and the excellent Dodge PowerFlite two-speed automatic transmissions. Handling and driving dynamics were excellent for the era with a trim, yet useful 115-inch wheelbase, rearward engine placement, and low center of gravity with Ghia’s bodywork neatly channeled in a “step-down” arrangement over the chassis frame for remarkable ease of entry and exit. The original Virgil Exner Firearrow-derived body design was carefully modified by Paul Farago, Casaroll’s partner and chief engineer and Ghia’s American representative, who increased available passenger and luggage space, and at Casaroll’s insistence, added a pair of fashionable yet subtle jet aircraft-inspired tailfins.

Total Dual Ghia production is often quoted at 117 cars built including prototypes, with all but two being convertibles. Priced at $7,646 new, the glamorous Dual Ghia was $1,000 costlier than Cadillac’s contemporary Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, and it was boldly touted as the car one selected when a Rolls-Royce was just not enough to please. Fervor for the Dual Ghia was stoked by articles in all of the top motoring publications of the era, including Motor Trend, Road & Track, and many more, a trend that continues today. Dual Ghia buyers were personally vetted and approved by Eugene Casaroll, and included the era’s top celebrities. Among them were Lucille Ball and members of the legendary “Rat Pack,” who famously adopted the Dual Ghia as their car of choice and vied for delivery of one. According to legend, Hollywood icon and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan lost his Dual Ghia to John F. Kennedy’s eventual successor, Lyndon Johnson, in a high-stakes poker game, further cementing the enduring Dual Ghia mystique. While Eugene Casaroll once intended to build 150 cars per year, his uncompromising insistence on producing a true high-quality product reportedly drove financial losses on every one built and a consequently abbreviated production run. While the lower-production Ghia L6.4 coupes of the early 1960s reprised the basic ethos of the original Dual Ghia, it was entirely produced by Ghia and Casaroll’s involvement was limited to American sales and distribution.

Dual Ghia production commenced with pre-production prototypes in 1956, followed by the historic example offered here, numbered 101. It is documented and confirmed by Dr. Paul Sable, the foremost Dual Ghia marque expert, author, and historian, as the very first production car. Carrying exceptional documented provenance, car 101 was sold new in 1956 to Sascha Lautman, the famed portrait artist, who was resident with his wife in Monterey, California. According to Dr. Sable, who has audio interviews on file from both the son of Eugene Casaroll and Paul Farago, car 101 was in fact given to Mr. Lautman by Eugene Casaroll in exchange for a painting by Mr. Lautman. A copy of the California Automobile Certificate of Ownership dated 11/29/1956, plus copies of 1957, 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1972 California Automobile Registration Cards issued to Mr. Lautman form part of the document file accompanying the vehicle. An original engraved plaque states “This Custom Built Dual Ghia Motor Car Made Especially for Sascha Lautman,” further confirming its provenance. Given Mr. Lautman’s residence in Monterey, it is only natural that he displayed his prized Dual Ghia at the April 1957 SCCA Palm Springs Concours d’Elegance and at the 1961 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Mr. Lautman obviously appreciated Dual Ghia 101 and he is reputed to have only had it serviced and repaired by John T. “Jack” Amader at his shop located at 543 Del Monte Avenue in Monterey. As expected, Mr. Amader greatly admired the rare Dual Ghia and Mr. Lautman promised him the first right to purchase the car, a wonderful privilege Mr. Amader eventually exercised in 1986. An image supplied by Dr. Sable depicts the car in 2004 while under Mr. Amader’s ownership and care of the vehicle and forms part of the document file, as does a copy of the California Vehicle Registration document dated July 22, 1986 and issued to Mr. Amader. He would retain the special Dual Ghia for nearly the next 30 years until mid-August 2015 when the current owner purchased it. Next, the very sound and complete vehicle was totally restored to as-new condition, factory specification, and original colors by the coachbuilt vehicle restoration specialists at Mastercraft Bodyworks Inc. The restoration project took 14 months and was completed in October 2016. Of particular significance, this Dual Ghia retains its matching numbers original Dodge V-8 engine and since completion, Dual Ghia 101 has not yet been shown, making it a perfect entrée into the most desirable major concours events.

As offered, Dual Ghia 101 retains its original engine, a 218 HP 315 cid Dodge V-8 unit, and its was registered in California from new under its engine number, D63392893. Since it was registered under the engine number, instead of the car’s serial number, it was incorrectly believed by some marque enthusiasts for many years of its existence to have been lost. A thrilling find as a Monterey-area vehicle from new with just three owners and unbroken provenance, 1956 Dual Ghia 101 is simply resplendent and concours-worthy throughout. Freshly restored, correctly and properly finished, and detailed throughout, it exemplifies the presence and panache that only Eugene Casaroll and Paul Farago’s inspired creations can deliver, with a tastefulness and understated, yet athletic presence that simply must be experienced. As such, Dual Ghia 101 stands proudly as a tribute to its creators, Virgil Exner’s design genius, the legendary coachbuilding skills of Ghia’s craftsmen, and its three loving caretakers.

Note: We wish to thank Dr. Paul Sable for his kind assistance with the preparation of the catalogue description for this vehicle.

1956 Dual Ghia Convertible
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