The Art of the Automobile

RM Auction Preview at Sotheby's, New York City

November 20, 2013

Nov. 21st Auction Results

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6.  In the Fifties, Carrozzeria Ghia in Italy designed a couple of cars for Chrysler, the 1954 Plymouth Explorer and the 1953 Firearrow roadster.  The design of the Firearrow followed guidelines of Chrysler's Virgil Exner.  In pictures it compares reasonably with other Exner-inspired designs, like the Chrysler Special.

7.  The Firearrow was only ever developed as a mock-up, with a Dodge badge on the hood -- and quad headlights (which feature became common on lots of other cars afterwards!).  That car evolved into a 1954 concept, the Dodge Firebomb.  Production of the Firebomb was bought out by a non-Chrysler investor, Eugene A. Casaroll, who had run a company, Dual-Motors, that built military trucks during World War II.

8.  Casaroll had a friend, engineer Paul Farago, whom he engaged to work with Ghia in producing the Firebomb, which evolved into the finned 1956 Dual-Ghia.  Chrysler supplied chassis for the limited production of Dual-Ghias between 1956 and 1963.  The cars featured a Red Ram Hemi V8.  The bodies were made in Italy and shipped to Detroit where they were mounted on Dodge chassis.

9.  In his biography of Virgil Exner, Peter Christ writes, "The elite of American society bought the new car, and as one journalist put it, 'A Rolls-Royce is a Hollywood status symbol for those who can't get a Dual-Ghia.'"

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