The Don Davis Collection

27 April 2013

Lot 131

1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible

Sold for $418,000

  • Serial no. 194


230 hp, 315 cu. in. Dodge D-500 “Red Ram” V-8, Carter four-barrel carburetor, Chrysler PowerFlite two-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115 in.

  • An icon of 1950s Hollywood
  • Formerly the property of legendary entertainer Hoagy Carmichael
  • Best in Show at the 2003 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
  • One of the finest Dual-Ghias in existence


After Chrysler opted out of putting its Dodge Firearrow show cars into production, Detroit trucking magnate Eugene Casaroll bought rights to the design. Soon, Casaroll’s Dual Motors, named for the twin-engined trucks he once produced, had a modified version of the Firearrow in production. Dubbed the Dual-Ghia, it featured an unbeatable combination of reliable, Motor City-bred Dodge V-8 power and gorgeous bodywork hand-built by the noted Italian Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin. Exhaustive attention to detail and extensive handcraftsmanship resulted in a beautifully-finished automobile, with a luxurious interior that featured front bucket seats and a dashboard with a full set of instruments set in engine-turned aluminum.

Casaroll recognized the value of social status and snob appeal. Long before Ferrari studied how many of a car would sell and then built one fewer, the father of the Dual-Ghia hand-chose his customers from a list of clamoring applicants. Frank Sinatra, the brightest of stars, was a natural choice, as were his friends Dean Martin and Eddie Fisher. Legendary columnist Dorothy Kilgallen wisecracked that a Rolls-Royce was “the Hollywood status symbol for those who can’t get a Ghia.” Presumably, there were a lot of Rolls-Royces delivered in Hollywood, as only about 100 Dual-Ghias were produced between 1956 and 1958. With the exception of a duo of prototype coupes, all were convertibles.

The Dual-Ghia of the Don Davis Collection has the optional Hemi-head “Red Ram” V-8, which was much sought-after among enthusiasts of these cars, and it is believed to have been delivered new in France. It eventually returned stateside and came into the hands of Howard Hoaglund Carmichael. “Hoagy,” as he was known to generations of Americans two-stepping around their record players, was a prolific composer for stage and screen. He gave the world “Heart and Soul,” “Georgia On My Mind,” and most famously, “Stardust.” In the nearly nine decades since its 1926 release, “Stardust” has become one of the most recorded songs in the history of popular music, performed by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Ringo Starr.

According to Dual-Ghia authority Dr. Paul Sable, this car was one of at least two cars owned by Carmichael, and it remained in his family as late as the early-1990s, owned by the composer’s son, Randy. It was eventually acquired by enthusiast Randy Stowe, and it was delivered to Stowe’s father’s respected Great Lakes Motor Works in Michigan, which exhaustively researched the car’s history and then began to painstakingly restore it over an 18-month period. The Stowes’ passion for the project resulted in the Dual-Ghia being the only post-war car to be awarded Best of Show at a major American concours d’elegance in the modern era, garnering top honors at Amelia Island in 2003. This followed a class victory at Meadow Brook in 2002, and 2nd in Class at Pebble Beach in 2001. No other Dual-Ghia extant has captured such prestigious honors.

Today, a decade after it was restored, Hoagy Carmichael’s Dual-Ghia remains absolutely immaculate, down to the tiniest detail—still glistening in its elegant and unusual Silk Khaki finish, its custom-dyed matching leather interior still crisp and fresh, and the fit and finish from top to bottom befitting a concours winner that is one of the very best of this rare breed still in existence today.

All of the great cars in history evoke the time and the place in which they found glory. For the Dual-Ghia, the time was the 1950s, and the place was Hollywood. Don Davis’ Dual-Ghia is among the few remaining examples with known celebrity provenance, and combined with the excellence of its historic, Amelia Island-conquering restoration, that makes it the brightest among stars. Eugene Casaroll would be pleased.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more