Undoubtedly, the Ghia 450SS stands as an iconic representation of its era, seamlessly merging the avant-garde European styling of the renowned Ghia design house, masterfully crafted by the visionary Giorgetto Giugiaro. The genesis of this design can be traced back to its debut on a Fiat 2100 showcased at the 1960 Turin Show. However, its transformation from concept to reality can be attributed to the foresight of Bert Sugarman, an entrepreneur and Hollywood film producer. He stumbled upon an image of the car in a magazine and embarked on a persuasive journey to convince Ghia to bring it into production.
Sugarman’s innovative concept entailed fusing the captivating styling of the Ghia 450SS with the high-performance engines indigenous to his own country. To actualize this vision, he proposed a departure from the Fiat platform, opting instead for the robust foundation of a Plymouth Barracuda Formula S. As development progressed, the car evolved beyond being a mere rebodied Barracuda. It acquired its distinct chassis configuration and boasted a meticulously engineered steel body, effectively establishing a robust semi-monocoque structure.
Beneath the hood resided Sugarman’s envisioned powerhouse—an exceptional Mopar performer. In this case, power emanated from the 273-cubic-inch ‘Commando’ V8 engine, drawing breath through a single Carter carburetor. Regrettably, despite its promise, the Ghia 450SS failed to garner substantial commercial success. Historical records indicate that only 57 of these remarkable automobiles were ever manufactured, and, disappointingly, their survival rate has proven rather meager, with a mere 35 examples documented as still in existence.