My Car Quest

October 23, 2020

Ghia 450SS – The Hollywood Convertible

by Mike –

The Hollywood producer, Burt Sugarman, saw a Ghia-bodied Fiat on the cover of Road & Track magazine in 1965. Sugarman loved the looks and wanted one for himself. He approached Ghia and persuaded the company to build a similar car. So, the Ghia 450SS was born.

Today the Ghia 450SS is an extremely rare car that combines the elegant styling of Giorgetto Giugiaro with Chrysler power.

Ghia 450SS

Ghia 450SS

The car was displayed at the 1966 Turin Motor Show – only 52 were made in 1966 and 1967. All 450SSs were sold by a dealer in Beverly Hills, California, which may help explain why many of these cars were owned by Hollywood types.

Ghia 450SS

These are not fast super cars but anyone would look good driving down Sunset Boulevard or Wilshire Boulevard in one of these.

Ghia 450SS Logo

Comments

  1. The Ghia 450SS was designed by Sergio Sartorelli in 1963, it was shown at that years Turin Auto Show and called 230S.The spider/convertable version was shown in March of 1965. Giorgetto Giugiaro didn’t start at Ghia until November 1965.

    • In the March 1969 issue of Road & Track Giugiaro is the cover story with the Bizzarrini Manta shown on the cover.

      The article describes Giugiaro’s history and he is interviewed for this article.

      They list and show photos of 36 of his car designs.

      Number 22 on this list is the Ghia 450 SS, and the caption says, “Ghia 450 SS, with Barracuda engine, was redesign of Fiat-powered G 230S coupe. Turin 1965″.

      Giugiaro worked at Fiat before Bertone, Ghia and Italdesign.

      • Well if Giugiaro wants to take credit for it, so be it! My guess is that the R&T Art Director dropped in the photo without consulting Giugiaro, the 450ss did enter production in 1966–after his start date of November 1965.

        But the design was first shown as coupe Turin Auto Show in the fall of 1963, it appeared in the Style Auto No.3 published in 1964.

        The Road & Track cover article on the Ghia 230s that inspired Burt Sugarman contact Ghia to produce the 450ss is dated March 1965, a full 8 months before Giorgetto Giugiaro started at Ghia.

        Style Auto No.7 dated Summer of 1965, five months or so before Giugiaro’s start date, has a full article on the car now called Ghia 450s and it is now a convertible/spider. The article includes sketches and photos, but makes no reference to Giugiaro, though an article on the Bertone Mustang in the same issue includes Giugiaro signed sketches. To quote the 450s article “Ghia’s stylist have for months drawn, modified and experimented the details of the 450 s” and “Giacomo Gaspardo, General Manager of Ghia, after declining advantageous offers for small series, has finally succeeded in concluding an agreement with a leading American company.” With the exception of the taillights and the dashboard the car appears almost exactly like the production car. Remember, this article came out month before Giorgetto started at Ghia.

        Here is an article about the chassis of the 230s with drawings dated as 1962 and January of 1963 http://www.gilcodesign.com/doc/des/Ghia230S_a.htm http://www.gilcodesign.com/doc/des/Ghia230S_dis.htm
        http://www.gilcodesign.com/doc/des/Ghia230S_b.htm
        http://www.gilcodesign.com/doc/des/Ghia230S.htm

        Scroll midway down on this page to see a picture of Sergio Sartorelli caressing the nose of the prototype Ghia 230s http://www.fiat2300.de/18608/18882.html

        These facts that lead me to think that Giorgetto Giugiaro, a great designer in his own right, had very little to do with the 450ss.

  2. Steve,

    This is very interesting, I will read this over. It appears there is another car design controversy.

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