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2021: 70th Anniversary of the Chrysler Ghia Specials (1951-1955)

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1 car is counted for this anniversary

Chrysler President K.T. Keller deserves much of the credit for Chrysler’s stylistic renaissance of the early 1950s. In particular, he hired Virgil Exner to design several “Idea Cars” and contracted Ghia to build them. Exner’s resulting Italian-built dream cars were all usable and running examples that were based mostly on the New Yorker chassis and had the famous James C. Zeder’s “FirePower” Hemi V-8 engines. One of the first of these dream cars was the Chrysler Special, which was a three-passenger coupé on a shortened chassis., the only shortened version produced. It debuted at Paris in 1952 with Continental-inspired styling elements, which included a long bonnet/short deck profile, knife-edge wings, and a trapezoidal grille. The Thomas Special, built for C.B. Thomas, the president of Chrysler’s export division, retained this overall styling, as it had a notchback profile and seating for five, which was based upon the standard-length New Yorker chassis. The most noticeable difference from other Specials was the split two-piece front windscreen. The Thomas Special was highly acclaimed, and series production of the car was heavily contemplated, with sales ultimately being handled by Chrysler’s French distribution arm, Société France Motors. Over the years, these cars were known alternatively as the GS-1, the Styling Special, the Chrysler Special, and the Ghia Special. Ultimately, just six vehicles were produced for Chrysler, whilst Ghia built another twelve for themselves.

 

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