Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Ghia
Eugene Casaroll, Detroit, Michigan (believed acquired new in 1958)Gene Smith, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina (acquired in 1974)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1990)
The Elegance at Hershey, Hershey, Pennsylvania, June 2014 (Display Only)
Eugene A. Casaroll became successful in the automotive field around the start of WWII with his company, Automotive Shippers. Using specially built truck trailers of his own design, Casaroll became a pioneer of what is now the modern car carrier. After campaigning Champ cars across the country with success, including several entries at Indy between 1947 and 1954, Casaroll turned his attention to custom-built road cars.
During the heyday of Detroit’s dream cars, Casaroll set out to build a limited-production sports car of great distinction, satisfying both his eye for design and high standards of build quality. An alliance with Paul Farago, the American representative for the Italian design firm Carrozzeria Ghia, led to a viable path forward. Ghia had built the series of four Firearrow concept cars for the Chrysler Corporation in 1953 and 1954, and considerable engineering work was already completed. Casaroll was able to obtain the rights to the Firearrow designs and the project that was to become the Dual-Ghia was off and running with a sizeable head start.
Full-scale production began in mid-1956. Modified Dodge chassis were shipped to Ghia in Torino, hand fitted with Dual-Ghia coachwork, and then sent back to Casaroll’s facilities in Detroit for final assembly. Hand-rubbed lacquer, leather of the highest quality, a fully lined convertible top, and copious chrome and aluminum fittings ensured that the Dual-Ghia was a car without peer. Would-be buyers had to be approved by Casaroll, making the Dual-Ghia one of the world’s most exclusive cars. One gossip columnist wrote that while some of Hollywood’s elite were approved, those who were not had to settle for a production Rolls-Royce.
The owner’s extensive research of company records and conversations with Casaroll’s son indicates that this Dual-Ghia, the 85th in the near-100-car production run, was most likely originally built for Eugene Casaroll himself. One of about 60 cars known to have survived, this Dual-Ghia had been in storage since 1974. The consignor, who has owned a quarter of all Dual-Ghias built, kept this car, chassis 185, due to its history and originality. 185 features the optional 260 bhp Hemi engine from new, power windows, and a Highway HiFi record player mounted beneath the dash.
The top-quality refinish by Mike Gardner of Gardner’s Restoration was completed just in time for 185 to be displayed on the lawn at The Elegance at Hershey concours in June 2014, its only public outing. This stunning Dual-Ghia is finished in a beautiful original color combination of burgundy metallic over magnolia leather with Wilton wool carpets, all accented by a burgundy Haartz canvas top.
Having covered very few miles since restoration, other than those necessary for final adjustments, this remarkable Dual-Ghia is incredibly fresh in appearance and stands ready to satisfy its next owner in the grand style in which it was created.