After World War II, the custom coachbuilding craft was beginning to go the way of the dinosaur as new construction methods and in-house design studio's left little work for these artisans. Still, a few continued to work their trade, often creating a number of one-off concepts based on production-based chassis and putting them on display at prestigious auto shows throughout the world. All of this was done in hopes of attracting lucrative commissions from manufactures, as well as sales from the wealthiest private clients.
Ghia was one of these surviving coachbuilders. For the 1960 Turin, Geneva and Paris motor-show, Ghia put on display their GT bodywork which they had attached to a Fiat 2100 sedan chassis. It received great reviews from the press and attracted the attention of Hollywood producer and entrepreneur Bert Sugarman, who convinced Ghia to put the car into production. Sugarman's vision was a little different from Ghias, who wanted to given the car a powerful V8 and underpinnings of the Plymouth Barracuda Formula S, resulting in the 450 SS.
The steel bodywork design was designed by Ghia's designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. It featured compound-curved panels that were integrated seamlessly into the front and rear bumpers. The chassis was formed by a pair of longitudinal tubular frame members, in combination with a very strong semi-monocoque body. The inside was given leather bucket seats and a flat dash containing a comprehensive array of instruments.
This Ghia 450 SS is believed to be one of just 26 surviving examples out of a total production run of 52 hand-built cars. It is painted in metallic burgundy finish with a maroon cloth top and burgundy and grey leather upholstery. There are chrome plated knock-off wire wheels and black-wall tires. Under the bonnet is a 273 cubic-inch V8 engine offering 235 horsepower. There is a TorqueFlite three-speed automatic gearbox and disc brakes in the front and hydraulic drums in the back.
In 2009, this Ghia 450SS was offered for sale at the Sports & Classics of Monterey auction in Monterey, California presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $40,000-$60,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $38,500 including buyer's premium.