The 1957 Ghia 400 HP Superdart Show Car

The 1957 Ghia 400 HP Superdart Show Car

10
img20200408 copy
7
1
11
3
8
4
5
2
6
12
14
15
9
13
17
18
19
20
23
21
24
26
28
22
27
25
30
29
32
31
33
35
34
36
img20200408
img20200408_0003
10 img20200408 copy 7 1 11 3 8 4 5 2 6 12 14 15 9 13 17 18 19 20 23 21 24 26 28 22 27 25 30 29 32 31 33 35 34 36 img20200408 img20200408_0003
Custom coachbuilding has been a part of the automobile since its beginnings and in the prewar and immediate postwar era it seems to get the most recognition as its heyday. But, coachbuilding continued into the 1950’s and even into the 1960’s and some of the wildest and most beautiful designs were created during this time on both American and European chassis by some of the most well known coachbuilders. One such firm was Carrozzeria Ghia who, along with the Chrysler Corporation, liked to mix big horsepower American chassis with some of the wildest designs they would ever create. One example would be the Dart series cars that they would create in 1956 and 1957. 
 
   In 1955 Ghia’s technical director Giovanni Savonuzzi would design for Chrysler the dream car called the “Gilda.” Few automobile models have been so representative of their times such as this creation. Long, narrow, fast, sleek, aerodynamic and futuristic are words that come to mind when describing the Gilda. Ghia used the Gilda theme for a Ferrari 410 America, for a small Guzzi engined record car called the Nibbio II that established several speed records at Monza and, most importantly, Chrysler based two models on the Gilda, and although they were not Savonuzzi’s work, (he had joined Chrysler in 1957), they were both built by Ghia and shown on the Turin firm’s stand both in 1956 and 1957: The Dart and the 400 HP Superdart. 
 
This car, the Ghia 400 HP Superdart is one of the most significant post war Ghia show cars and the only remaining Dart series car in completely original unrestored and unmodified condition. Created by Ghia for Chrysler in 1957 specifically to be shown for the first time at the 1957 Turin Motor Show on the Ghia stand. Its sister car, the “Dart” (which has since been majorly modified) was shown the year before in 1956. Based on a 1957 300C Chrysler chassis, the “400” emblems on the tail fins are appropriate telling the world that this car has a 400 horsepower Chrysler Hemi under the hood with dual 4 barrel carburetors! The engine was built on Chryslers industrial engine line so it has a combination of heavy duty industrial parts paired with the optional “Power Pack” offered by Chrysler at the time with 10:1 compression ratio and dual carbs. A more powerful and durable engine than the usual 390 hp unit. The body of this car is extremely elegant yet fast and futuristic, very reminiscent of the Gilda dream car that this was derived from. Ghia’s two Dart series cars and the Gilda were certainly what inspired Virgil Exner and his “forward look” for Chrysler designs that would shortly follow the introduction of these Ghia designs. On the inside of the Superdart, it has a very fine custom Italian feel with 4 black and white leather bucket seats, big round gauges that Ghia was known for, push button 3 speed automatic transmission, air conditioning and a full front to rear flowing center console. Very over the top beautiful, futuristic and showy, yet very useable and comfortable. Following the 1957 Turin motor show, the Superdart would make its way to the United States where it would be sold to Dual Motors and they showed it under their name and on their stand at the 1958 New York auto show. At this time the hubcap centers were modified to say “Dual Ghia” as well as the addition of “Dual Ghia” badging on the hood and trunk lid. Why Ghia sold this car to Dual Motors at this time is not known, as it was not originally intended for Dual Motors. It is speculated that they were a good client for Ghia so it might have just been an easy sale for them once they were done showing the car themselves and for Chrysler. During the 1958 New York auto show, the Superdart’s first real private owner, Mr. Alex Freeman, would see the car for the first time and approach the owner of Dual Motors, Mr. Gene Cassarol, wanting to buy the car. Mr. Cassoral did not want to sell the Superdart, but Mr. Freeman would not take no for an answer and handed Mr. Cassoral a blank check, resulting in a sale of $15,000 for the Superdart which was huge money! Mr. Cassoral demanded payment up front and delivery could not be taken until Dual Motors was finished showing the car for 1 year in hopes of calling Mr. Freemans offer to pay $15,000 dollars a bluff, but it wasn’t and he paid up front! After taking delivery, Mr. Freeman would drive this car regularly and put a total of 38,000 miles on the car during his ownership over almost 20 years. In 1977 he would sell the Superdart to its next owner who would own it until our acquisition very recently. Today, the 400 Superdart presents itself in completely original condition with original paint, chrome and upholstery. It is a beautiful time capsule and an incredible piece of custom coachbuilding. Its is exactly as it left the show circuit in 1958 and this is the first time it’s offered for sale since 1977. A fantastic and significant custom show car and would certainly be welcome at any concours, especially for preservation.

10
img20200408 copy
7
1
11
3
8
4
5
2
6
12
14
15
9
13
17
18
19
20
23
21
24
26
28
22
27
25
30
29
32
31
33
35
34
36
img20200408
img20200408_0003
10 img20200408 copy 7 1 11 3 8 4 5 2 6 12 14 15 9 13 17 18 19 20 23 21 24 26 28 22 27 25 30 29 32 31 33 35 34 36 img20200408 img20200408_0003
Custom coachbuilding has been a part of the automobile since its beginnings and in the prewar and immediate postwar era it seems to get the most recognition as its heyday. But, coachbuilding continued into the 1950’s and even into the 1960’s and some of the wildest and most beautiful designs were created during this time on both American and European chassis by some of the most well known coachbuilders. One such firm was Carrozzeria Ghia who, along with the Chrysler Corporation, liked to mix big horsepower American chassis with some of the wildest designs they would ever create. One example would be the Dart series cars that they would create in 1956 and 1957. 
 
   In 1955 Ghia’s technical director Giovanni Savonuzzi would design for Chrysler the dream car called the “Gilda.” Few automobile models have been so representative of their times such as this creation. Long, narrow, fast, sleek, aerodynamic and futuristic are words that come to mind when describing the Gilda. Ghia used the Gilda theme for a Ferrari 410 America, for a small Guzzi engined record car called the Nibbio II that established several speed records at Monza and, most importantly, Chrysler based two models on the Gilda, and although they were not Savonuzzi’s work, (he had joined Chrysler in 1957), they were both built by Ghia and shown on the Turin firm’s stand both in 1956 and 1957: The Dart and the 400 HP Superdart. 
 
This car, the Ghia 400 HP Superdart is one of the most significant post war Ghia show cars and the only remaining Dart series car in completely original unrestored and unmodified condition. Created by Ghia for Chrysler in 1957 specifically to be shown for the first time at the 1957 Turin Motor Show on the Ghia stand. Its sister car, the “Dart” (which has since been majorly modified) was shown the year before in 1956. Based on a 1957 300C Chrysler chassis, the “400” emblems on the tail fins are appropriate telling the world that this car has a 400 horsepower Chrysler Hemi under the hood with dual 4 barrel carburetors! The engine was built on Chryslers industrial engine line so it has a combination of heavy duty industrial parts paired with the optional “Power Pack” offered by Chrysler at the time with 10:1 compression ratio and dual carbs. A more powerful and durable engine than the usual 390 hp unit. The body of this car is extremely elegant yet fast and futuristic, very reminiscent of the Gilda dream car that this was derived from. Ghia’s two Dart series cars and the Gilda were certainly what inspired Virgil Exner and his “forward look” for Chrysler designs that would shortly follow the introduction of these Ghia designs. On the inside of the Superdart, it has a very fine custom Italian feel with 4 black and white leather bucket seats, big round gauges that Ghia was known for, push button 3 speed automatic transmission, air conditioning and a full front to rear flowing center console. Very over the top beautiful, futuristic and showy, yet very useable and comfortable. Following the 1957 Turin motor show, the Superdart would make its way to the United States where it would be sold to Dual Motors and they showed it under their name and on their stand at the 1958 New York auto show. At this time the hubcap centers were modified to say “Dual Ghia” as well as the addition of “Dual Ghia” badging on the hood and trunk lid. Why Ghia sold this car to Dual Motors at this time is not known, as it was not originally intended for Dual Motors. It is speculated that they were a good client for Ghia so it might have just been an easy sale for them once they were done showing the car themselves and for Chrysler. During the 1958 New York auto show, the Superdart’s first real private owner, Mr. Alex Freeman, would see the car for the first time and approach the owner of Dual Motors, Mr. Gene Cassarol, wanting to buy the car. Mr. Cassoral did not want to sell the Superdart, but Mr. Freeman would not take no for an answer and handed Mr. Cassoral a blank check, resulting in a sale of $15,000 for the Superdart which was huge money! Mr. Cassoral demanded payment up front and delivery could not be taken until Dual Motors was finished showing the car for 1 year in hopes of calling Mr. Freemans offer to pay $15,000 dollars a bluff, but it wasn’t and he paid up front! After taking delivery, Mr. Freeman would drive this car regularly and put a total of 38,000 miles on the car during his ownership over almost 20 years. In 1977 he would sell the Superdart to its next owner who would own it until our acquisition very recently. Today, the 400 Superdart presents itself in completely original condition with original paint, chrome and upholstery. It is a beautiful time capsule and an incredible piece of custom coachbuilding. Its is exactly as it left the show circuit in 1958 and this is the first time it’s offered for sale since 1977. A fantastic and significant custom show car and would certainly be welcome at any concours, especially for preservation.

Contact us today for more information.

1 thought on “

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *