- Credit: Old Concept Cars

Luxury improved: Cadillac Ghia Coupe

Rita Hayworth's Cadillac was a bit more than your standard cruiser

2w ago

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We know what coachbuilders are capable of. We’ve seen the works of Zagato, Touring, ItalDesign, and others. And their versions of cars are quite different when you compare them to the originals. But in 1953, Turin-based coachbuilding company, Ghia, decided to take two units of a Cadillac Series 63 Coupe and change it as much as they could.

Credit: RM Sotheby's

Credit: RM Sotheby's

Back in those days, if you were a wealthy European, you’d buy a Rolls Royce. But if you were a wealthy American, you’d buy a Cadillac. It was the American equivalent of Rolls Royce. But, unlike its British cousin, Cadillac was a bit different. It wasn’t as stylish as the Roller. Sure, the overall design was elegant, but by putting huge amounts of chrome, Cadillacs went from being ‘classy’ to a bit ‘tacky’. Nevertheless, there was still some elegance in them.

The standard Cadillac Series 62.

The standard Cadillac Series 62.

When it comes to the Coupe Series 62, it was a proper 1950s American highway cruiser. It wasn’t made to go fast; it was just made to go…somewhere. Picture yourself in this car-you’re on an empty road, wearing sunglasses, window is open just a little it so that you can feel a bit of breeze while listening to the rumble of the V8 engine. That is Cadillac's natural habitat.

Credit: Top Speed

Credit: Top Speed

However, you always had customers who wanted something different, which is the case with the star of this article. Eager to expand their range, Ghia presented two Cadillacs (a black one and dark red one) at the 1953 Paris Motor Show.

Credit: RM Sotheby's

Credit: RM Sotheby's

The dark red Coupe caught the eye of Prince Ali Salman Aga Khan, who decided to buy it for this wife, American actress Rita Hayworth. Since the couple was going through a divorce, the prince gave the car as a peace offering, but it didn’t work. Although, when the divorce was finalized, Hayworth kept the car and drove it often for years to come.

Credit: Old Concept Cars

Credit: Old Concept Cars

Ghia Coupe had an engine from a standard Series 62, meaning it was a 6.4-litre V8 with 210hp. It was capable to accelerate 0-100 km/h in 11 seconds. At the back, you can see some nice large fins, which didn’t change the performance; they were put there because they look nice. The design is inspired by the jet-era of cars, which can be seen in most details.

The biggest styling difference is at the front-the quad headlights, which were illegal in the States until 1957. Other changes were the wrap-around taillights, side trim and thin pillars.

Both of the Cadillac Ghias are with us today. In fact, few years ago, the black Ghia Coupe was sold at an auction for just over $1 million. Who says money can't buy taste?

Credit: Old Concept Cars

Credit: Old Concept Cars

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Comments (3)

  • we need this kind of design language to come back.

      17 days ago
  • Good article! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Much more in-depth than in my brief little paragraph about Rita's car.

      18 days ago
  • Cadillac over in the UK never looked like the Cadillac you get in the U.S. chrome wasn't a thing but man that do look great with those curves. I like the flow of the old cars

      17 days ago
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