The Ghia 450 SS Spyder was the work of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro during his association with the Italian design studio and coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Ghia in the mid-1960s. Carrozzeria Ghia was founded by Giacinto Ghia in Turin in 1919, and quickly established a reputation for both luxury coachwork and competition bodies. World War II was a difficult period for the company, as its founder passed away and its factory was damage due to the wartime conflict. When peacetime resumed, Ghia quickly returned to its place at the forefront of Italian coachbuilding and collaborated with many of the world's leading car manufacturers and is one of the few coachbuilding companies that have survived to this day, although in later years this was because of Ford ownership. The 450 Ss model was built during the days when the company was still independent and was one of the last Ghia - if not the very last - Ghia-produced automobiles prior to the Ford takeover.
The Ghia 450 was the brainchild of entrepreneur and Hollywood producer Burt Sugarman who had seen a Fiat-based Ghia GT on the March 1965 cover of Road & Track magazine. It was a svelt GT-style concept car that used the production Fiat 2100 sedan chassis for its underpinnings and first displayed in 1960 at the Turin Show. Sugarman eventually convinced Ghia to put the car into series production.
Instead of Italian mechanical components, Sugarman envisioned the car powered by the Chrysler small-block V8 engine and proven underpinnings of the Plymouth Barracuda Formula S. During the 1950s and early 1960s, roughly the era when Virgil Exner was head of styling at Chrysler, the two companies had a close partnership working on several notable concepts and low-production cars such as the Dual-Ghia, Norseman Concept, Ghia Specials, and the Imperial Crown Limousines.
The Giugiaro-designed steel bodywork featured compound-curved panels with wraparound front and rear chrome bumpers. The chassis was a unique setup formed by a pair of longitudinal tubular frame members, in concert with a strong semi-monocoque bodyshell. The Chrysler Commando 273 cubic-inch V8 engine with a single Carter carburetor produced 235 horsepower and was backed by a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The suspension, brakes, and many other components were sourced from the Chrysler bin. Borrani wire wheels wrapped with Pirelli 'Cinturato' high-speed tires were placed at all four corners. The interior featured leather-clad bucket seats, wool carpeting, air-conditioning, Ghia copper trim rings, Eames style bucket seats, and a functional dash containing a comprehensive assortment of instrumentation. Standard equipment included power steering, power brakes, and Chrysler's torsion bar Rallye suspension.
It is believed that 52 (some sources state as high as 57) standard-powered Ghia vehicles were hand-built between 1966 and 1967. These cars were delivered new in the United States through a single dealer in Beverly Hills, California at a base price of over $11,800. This staggering sum was comparable to the most expensive Rolls-Royce, Maserati, and Ferrari of the era. A Barracuda at the time was $3,000, and the base price of the 450 SS was more than double the price of a new Corvette. Due to the cost and exclusivity, it is no surprise that many of the Ghia motorcars were originally owned by celebrities, including Wilt Chamberlain and Johnny Carson. A factory hardtop and a manual transmission were among the list of optional equipment.
The hand-built Ghia 450SS was the combination of avant-garde European styling by the Ghia design house and the performance pedigree of American Crysler mechanical components. It went beyond being a re-bodied Plymouth Barracuda Formula S, with its own chassis configuration, and a well-constructed steel body acting as a rigid semi-monocoque.
26 examples are known to be in existence. by Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2020
Related Reading : Ghia 450 SS History
At the Turin International Auto Show in 1966, Ghia unveiled their Giorgetto Giugiaro styled 450SS. These hand-fabricated low production vehicles meant that production volume was low and so only 52 450SSs were ever created during its production period from 1966 until 1967. Today they stand as being one of the best values in the collector car world today. A creative project, the 450SS Cabriolet was.... Continue Reading >>
In 1966 at the Turin International Auto Show Ghia displayed their Giorgetto Giugiaro styled 450/SS. The cars were hand-fabricated which meant production was low - only 52 were created. These beauties carried a $13,00 sticker price and in modern tim....[continue reading]
The 450SS Cabriolet was a creative project produced by world-renowned automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro during his association with Carrozzeria Ghia in the mid-1960s. The Ghia 450SS was initially unveiled at the 1966 Turin International Auto Sh....[continue reading]
The 1960s brought about a number of efforts that sought to create a marriage of strong and reliable American power-trains to drive unique new and exciting body designs from the famous styling houses of Europe. Somewhat like the Shelby Cobra, and the ....[continue reading]
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 ....[continue reading]
There were only 52 examples of the Ghia 450 SS created. The design was courtesy of Giorgetto Giugiaro and each were sold for a staggering sum of $11,000. The cars were sold through an exclusive Beverly Hills dealership.....[continue reading]
This Ghia 450SS is finished in silver with a black interior and top and rides on chrome wire wheels. The current owner purchased the car out of Beverly Hills from the family of its first owner. Since that time, it has been meticulously detailed and i....[continue reading]
The March 1965 cover of Road & Track magazine featured a Ghia-bodied Fiat 2300 and Burt Sugarman of Los Angeles, California, was smitten. He managed to convey his enthusiasm to both Ghia and Chrysler, which lead to the Ghia 450SS - basically a Plymou....[continue reading]
When the Volkswagen Beetle became a hit in America during the 50s and 60s, it won over buyers for its utility, its frugality and its driving dynamics – not its unusual approach to automobile design. Even Volkswagen ads would later compare it to the...
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