Combining the sleek styling of Giorgetto Giugiaro with power from a Chrysler 273 cubic inch V8, the Ghia 450SS is another one of those Italian American mashups that is more than the sum of its parts. Built on a unique, Ghia designed chassis, the 450SS looks a bit like a Maserati Ghibli Spyder with the front clip of a Fiat Dino Convertible. This car made its debut at the Turin International auto show in 1966 and was built to order. Only 52 of these open roof coach built cruisers were ever built. This one for sale in California was owned by a famous Hollywood movie producer.
This 1967 Ghia 450 SS is an extremely rare. One of only 50 built, and of only 29 known to exist, custom Italian coachbuilt exotic car! The Ghia design badge represents the best of the best of Italian coachbuilding and design. Their firm, established in 1915, was responsible for many spectacular creations, including the Dual Ghia, a long string of Chrysler product concept cars in the 1950s, some custom bodies on Ferrari chassis, the Chrysler Ghia Limousines, owned by Rockefeller and Jackie Kennedy. The well known Karmann-Ghia and the Volvo P1800 were also Ghia designs.
The “BS 4045″ number on the chassis plate was driven by the original sponsor of this car, Burt Sugarman, a Hollywood producer who convinced Ghia to build this car. He was taken by a similar, but smaller Ghia design on a Fiat 2300. His passion for that design led to the production of the Ghia 450 SS. The list price on this car was $13,100, which was right up there in Rolls-Royce and Ferrari territory back in '67. You needed to be a Hollywood movie star to afford it then! The high performance Formula “S” 273 Cubic inch Chrysler V-8 was used. Ghia’s long co-operation with Chrysler gave them access to the best mechanical items from Chrysler, including this excellent V-8 and the super tough Torqueflite automatic transmission. This car is in excellent condition, with nice, straight body panels, a gorgeous leather interior, excellent chrome and trim. It runs and drives beautifully. The doors fit and shut properly, and the metal hinged tonneau cover is still present and working, that's a part often missing on the other cars.
The Ghia custom touch can be seen throughout the car, in little details like the herringbone engraved sill plates, the adjustable bucket seats with separate lumbar support, the hood and engine bay insulation, and the big, legible gauges. It was originally equipped with air conditioning. The air conditioning setup was removed at some point, but the complete setup is included with the car, photos are shown on the website of the A/C apparatus. The Hardtop is also included. Air conditioning and the hardtop were the only options, at an original cost of $1,300. The car is in excellent condition, but it's not a showcar. It has later american wire wheels, and I noted a very small tear in the top. The engine bay is reasonably clean but not show detailed. The needle of the speedometer has become detached, although you can see the speedometer hub working. Overall, it's a spectacular and extremely rare car, which puts the owner in very select company, and allows for entry into exclusive events such as the Concorso Italiano and many other events and shows!
The 450SS was more of a boulevard cruiser than an all out sports car, but those that owned them loved them. The Chrysler mechanicals also provide decent reliability. While not a perfect show car, this 450SS for sale is in good shape, with a few things that need doing. At the high end, a Ghia 450SS could pull anywhere from $90,000 to $130,000, so the asking price here is strong. In this kind of market, however, an obscure marque such as this could take a bit of a hit in terms of value. I could be wrong, but given the non-original wheels and removed AC unit, I'm seeing this car bring somewhere between $60,000 to $80,000.