1962 Ghia L 6.4 owned by Stephen Siben
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
If you were a Hollywood superstar in 1962 (think Lucille Ball or Frank Sinatra), then a mere Cadillac, Rolls or Ferrari would never do for cruising around Beverly Hills. Instead, you went for one of only 26 Ghia L 6.4s for a price tag of $13,000, or more than double the median U.S. family income for that year. These fabulous coupes combine the finest Italian bodywork, advanced styling and interiors with solid American mechanicals straight from the Dodge factory. Dodge floorpans were shipped to the legendary Carozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy, where craftsmen installed hand-formed body shells and luxurious interiors. Then, it was back to the U.S. for the addition of mechanical and electrical bits, as well as the finishing touches. Because of their dual nationality, these coupes and an earlier convertible are commonly known as Dual-Ghias and sport depictions of Italian and American flags on their hood badges. Siben says his Ghia is one of two owned by Ball and her husband, and he believes his car was sold to her by singer/actor Dean Martin.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He bought it at a Pennsylvania auction.
“As far as I know,” Siben says, “the car was restored sometime in the ‘90s in California and was in a museum when I first saw it in Las Vegas. The body was fairly good. The brakes needed work and it needed a whole rewiring. I had it all done.” Exterior design hints of the Ghia’s American heritage include the windshield, vent windows and door handles from Chryslers or higher-end Dodges of the day. A 383-cubic-inch Dodge V-8 engine pumps out a muscular 335 horsepower.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“These cars will only come up at auction,” he advises. “They’re very rare.” He says a good source for information is Pennsylvania Dual-Ghia historian Dr. Paul Sable.
“They are worth what the next auction will bring,” says Siben, who adds that he has seen L 6.4s sell for as high as $450,000. He also owns a 1957 Dual-Ghia convertible, one of only 115 made.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“I’ve studied Ghia bodies for a long time and I love them,” he says. “After World War II, when the Italians were building up their country, it was cheaper for some car makers to send their chassis over there and have bodies built. To do that in America would have been a lot more expensive. I like the design and they’re different. That’s what we all strive for . . . to be different.”