Weird Car Of The Day: 1955 Ghia Streamline X ‘Gilda’ Concept
Built at the request of Chrysler executive Virgil Exner, the Gilda was an exercise in extreme styling and ambitious performance. It was created by Ghia and debuted as a showcar at the Salone di Torino of 1955, later touring around Europe, then the US. The car was nicknamed the after Rita Hayworth’s performance in the 1946 film noir classic Gilda. It has been called “ne of the ten most significant show cars” by Strother MacMinn.
Fabrication of the Gilda was completed to the same standards of other Ghia coachwork for Italian chassis such as Ferrari and Maserati. But unlike the cars produced for wealthy clients, the Steamline’s shape was one of Ghia’s most spectacular.
Styling of the Gilda was handled by Giovanni Savonuzzi aerodynamicist and engineer that had a keen interest in mathematics. He referenced the Rocket Age of American design, including huge tail fins that began at the front of the car. The body used a two tone paint scheme with a dark underbelly and disc wheels. The cockpit was placed in a cab-forward position and was unusually small for the size of the car. Overall shape was supposedly finalized in the wind tunnel at the Politecnico di Torino which interested Chrysler greatly. As did gas turbine engines which could run on kerosene, gasoline, diesel or and combustable fuel.
The initial idea was to power the Gilda by a gas-turbine engine, but that never happened. At the time, Ghia released a theoretical top speed figure of 140 mph (225 kph), but it went untested probably due to the engine choice. Never intended for production, the car had no rear suspension and was never driven.