The Ghia 450SS is a very interesting hybrid of Italian coachwork with American power plant. Although the exact number is not known, best estimates are 57 cars were built. Of those 32 are estimated to exist. The other 25 may or may not have been built or could have been destroyed. Most of the cars were sold through a dealership in Beverly Hill, California. All were spyders (convertibles) and used the 273 Commando higher performance Formula S V8 engine from a Plymouth Barracuda matted to an automatic tranny. All cars were fitted with Borrani wire wheels and had a removable metal cover that would expose two rear seats. There were only two options available, a removable hard top and air conditioner. The Ghia 450SS was a very expensive car. The window sticker price on this car was $13,100; which was about the same or more than a Maserati or Ferrari, and far more what would cost to buy a Corvette.
Do not think of the Ghia 450SS as simply a Barracuda with fancy Italian sheet metal. In fact the chassis is unique to this car and was designed and hand built in Italy, To this chassis mostly Barracuda mechanical components were attached and the beautiful sheet metal was wrapped around it to create the incredible shape. The design was by Sergio Sartorelli and Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also designed the Maserati Ghibli, Iso Grifo and many other great cars. One thing I find very interesting is the minimal use of chrome on this car. At a time when most cars had a ton of chrome this car let the curves of the bodywork do most of the talking. The shape of the bumpers and the way they integrate into the bodywork is just a work of art.
Do to the fact that most 450SS were sold by Beverly Hills Ghia, many first owners were somehow related to the Hollywood scene. The high price would drive "regular folks" away from this car!
This car came with both the hardtop and air conditioner options. As many Ghia 450SS it was original sold in California and still retains the very desirable California black plates. The engine still retails its original air cleaner, which is rare as most have been replaced.
The car had a recent bare metal respray in Celeste Chiaro (sky blue) which is a color that compliments the shape of this car.
The original seats have a very unique design. What looks like headrests are in fact adjustable back supports. The gauges are also unique to the 450SS and have the Ghia script. All gauges and the air conditioner are in working order.
Car includes the optional removable hardtop, rear metal cover (which is missing on many cars), spare tire, jack. The hardtop was also stripped to bare metal and just received a new headliner. The hardtop is all steel (and heavy) and integrates very well with the car. Once installed it transforms the Ghia into a handsome coupe. Borrani knock off hammer, period magazines, original manuals, and original specification sheet (very rare) are also included. .
This is a unique opportunity to acquire a rare and beautiful work of automotive art..
In addition to the photos below, a video was taken of the engine running:
I have started to assemble sales literature and original manuals for the Ghia 450SS and posted these online for the benefit of other 450SS owners that might be missing these manuals. This is work in progress and intend to update these pages significantly over the next months. This is the link.
The following photos were taken during the bare metal re-paint. Luckily the body was mostly straight and rust free.