In 1949, Virgil Exner joined the Chrysler Advanced Design Studio coming off a successful career at Studabaker. Exner would commit his team to modernize the company’s styling and bringing the company to the forefront of design, something that the automaker lacked compared to its competitors.
Between 1951 and 1955, Exner would join forces with the Italian design firm Ghia to create some of the most spectacular show cars of the era. One such car is this stunning 1955 Chrysler Ghia ST Special. Listed as chassis # N558768, it is one of only four produced from what would be the final collaboration between the legendary Chrysler designer and Ghia design chief Luigi Segre.
Built upon a Chrysler New Yorker chassis, the ST Specials were created by Ghia under the careful eye of French Chrysler importer Charles Ladouch. All four units were sold in Europe, two each for well-heeled French and Italian customers. This one, was on display at the 1955 Turin Motor Show and would eventually be acquired by Oscar Lacroix, then CEO of French plastics company Gilac, and would eventually come to the U.S. after being owned by several owners.
Under the hood is a 5.4-liter (331 cubic-inch) Firepower HEMI V8 producing 250 horsepower. It is equipped with a 4-barrel carburetor and mated to a 2-speed Powerflite automatic transmission. Even though it was once a show car it was also factory-built with power steering and power brakes for enjoyable operation.
The car currently wears its original two-tone Copper and Ivory paint scheme, with a matching Havana leather interior, and Ivory-colored dash.
The car was restored by Wayne Davis in 2014, the Chrysler Ghia ST Special looks exactly as it did in 1955 on the show stand. The Ghia ST Special would end up serving as a benchmark of the Chrysler design studio, eventually inspiring some design cues on the legendary 1955 Chrysler C-300.
With much of the attention on high-dollar muscle cars at the Mecum Kissimmee event earlier this month, it didn’t seem like the Ghia ST Special would achieve its estimated $500,000 to $600,000 goal. But once the hammer dropped, the car ended up taking home $770,000 with fees.
1955 Chrysler Ghia ST Special Image Gallery: