The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325

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Lot 227
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin, 1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe
Chassis no. 0325

Sold for US$ 117,000 inc. premium
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin
1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe
Chassis no. 0325
The saga of the Dual-Ghia and its successor Ghia L 6.4 is inextricably linked with Hollywood, society and the Rat Pack. Sid Craig’s 1962 Ghia L 6.4 shares those attributes, adds its own Sid Craig Collection provenance and then tops it off with a little brass plaque on the console noting that it was customized by George Barris, the King of the Kustomizers, for Dean Martin.

It’s a lot of legend for one car to bear, but the Ghia is holding up well under the burden.

Back in the late Forties and early Fifties Gene Casaroll, the force behind the Dual-Ghia and its Ghia L 6.4 successor, was on a roll. His Automobile Shippers company had a 100+ fleet of semi-trailers on the road hauling new cars from factories to dealers who could sell just about every one as soon as it arrived. Gene wasn’t one to bask in the success, however, and kept looking for new challenges. During the war he conceived of a dual-engined lowboy transporter for tanks and other heavy weapons. He established Dual Motors to build them but found demand for tank-haulers dropped off quickly after V-E Day.

He went to Indy with his Automobile Shippers Specials, employing veteran drivers Henry Banks, George Lynch, Bill Schindler, Carl Forberg, Walt Faulkner, Troy Ruttman and Duane Carter. He dabbled with the idea of putting Frank Kurtis’s two-seat sports car into serious production. Then he spotted the Dodge “Firearrow” dream cars.

A series of four different designs, the Firearrows’ coachwork was designed and built in Italy by Luigi Segre’s Carrozzeria Ghia. The fourth Firearrow, with accommodations for four, particularly appealed to Casaroll and he and Paul Farago negotiated rights to the design and supply of chassis and engines with Chrysler. After redesigning the car for more room, chassis rigidity and weight distribution (which included moving the Dodge engine a full foot back in the chassis), the first cars, now called the Dual-Ghia, began to arrive in mid-1956.

It was an immediate hit and Casaroll resolved to allow only the most select clientele to buy one. Every order crossed his desk and was summarily accepted or rejected based on Casaroll’s subjective criteria, one of which was geographic and social distribution. When the Rat Pack seized upon the Dual-Ghia as their ride of choice Casaroll accepted orders from Frank Sinatra, Eddie Fisher and Peter Lawford. Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin didn’t make the cut, but Gary Morton, Lucille Ball’s husband who frequented the Rat Pack’s periphery, did. Other owners included Eddie Fisher and Glenn Ford.

The Dual-Ghia’s days were numbered by Chrysler’s decision to adopt unit-body construction beginning in 1960. After experimenting with several prototype designs by Ghia on full size working chassis, Gene Casaroll turned his attention back to Automobile Shippers to deal with an industry-wide slowdown in sales (and therefore shipments) and labor problems. Paul Farago continued, however, with a new design which would be only a Ghia, the L 6.4 signifying the metric displacement of the big 383 cubic inch, 335hp Chrysler V-8 under the hood.

A dramatically shaped 2+2 hardtop with a huge three-piece rear window, oval grille housing fine eggcrate screening and “sugar scoop” rear lights let into the tops of the finless-rear fenders, the Ghia L 6.4 was every bit the exclusive, distinctive, fast, luxurious automobile. It was a suitable successor to the Dual-Ghia.

Introduced at the Paris show in late 1960, the Ghia L 6.4 appealed to the same clientele and quickly replaced the older Dual-Ghias in the Sinatra garage. A pair of them joined the Lucille Ball-Gary Morton family. The physical evidence on Sid Craig’s Ghia L 6.4 indicates it was sold first to Gary Morton (the inscription is on its Ghia plaque), then modified by Barris for Dean Martin.

Finished in black with tan leather upholstery and interior trim, it has a Becker-Europa II AM-FM radio, air conditioning, fitted luggage, Nardi woodrim steering wheel, power steering, power brakes and automatic transmission. Although it is impossible to say for sure, the Barris touches probably include the one-piece oval headlights, chrome wire wheels and updated interior trim with a storage locker between the front seats and wood veneer facings on the instrument panel and console.

Displaying only 37,538 miles, Sid Craig’s Ghia L 6.4 appears to be substantially unchanged from when it left Barris’s shop. It has had one repaint, a high quality job done many years ago that is still in very sound and presentable condition. Some of the interior materials are mismatched, perhaps indicating those supplied by Barris, but like the exterior it is very sound, clean and attractive.

This is a particularly socially significant Ghia L 6.4, marking Dean Martin success in finally joining the Rat Pack clique which owned the exclusive Ghia-built cars. Its Barris touches are subtle and conservative (something rarely said about Barris touches) and its condition and preservation in Sid Craig’s care is exceptional. There is a lot of history here, on top of a very attractive and rare (one of just 26 built) custom built automobile with big block Chrysler power and a full complement of comfort and convenience accessories.

Without reserve

Footnotes

  • Please note this lot is accompanied by a life-sized wax representation of Dean Martin.

Saleroom notices

  • The chassis number listed in the catalog is incorrect. The correct chassis number is 0325. The engine number is 00325.
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
The ex-Gary Morton, & ex-Dean Martin,1962 Ghia L6.4 Coupe  Chassis no. 0325
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