In contrast to other “dream cars” from Detroit, Ghia’s products were fully engineered automobiles, capable of being put into production if there was enough interest from buyers. This pragmatic approach resulted in a slight compromise, as these cars were not purely dream concepts. A few of them came incredibly close to becoming a reality.
The connection between Exner and Ghia truly blossomed with a pair of Chrysler “Styling Specials,” designated as “S.S.” by Exner, which moved from the drawing board to the factory floor. Commissioned by Chrysler’s export manager, Cecil Beaton “C.B.” Thomas, these specials paved the way for further collaboration.
Encouraged by Thomas, Chrysler commissioned six Chrysler Ghia Specials and allowed Ghia to build another 12 for its clients. These cars closely resembled the Thomas Special, with minimal differences in trim and the addition of one-piece windshields.
The Ghia Specials were powered by the formidable 180-hp FirePower V-8 engine and offered either a four-speed semiautomatic transmission with Fluid Torque Drive or the completely automatic two-speed PowerFlite.
The Ghia Specials heralded a revival of coachbuilt motorcars, combining a powerful engine, captivating styling, old-world craftsmanship, and limited production numbers. The result was something extraordinary, a masterpiece reserved for a select few fortunate owners.