Chrysler Special GS-1 by Ghia

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Special GS-1 by Ghia





The third Ghia car was called the SS, for Styling Special, and with it, Exner hit his stride. Built in 1952, it’s a recognizable long-hood, short trunk, close-coupled coupe – the configuration that defined high-speed European grand tourers though most of the 1950s. The car was generally devoid of chrome trim, with brightwork around the windows and one body strip dividing the colors above and below it, low down on the door and over the radiused wheel arches. There was no trunk lid, and any luggage had to be packed into the small rear seat.

The SS was a huge hit, so much so that C.B. Thomas ordered another one to be built for him in 1953. Unlike the first two Ghia cars, both the Styling Special and the Thomas Special are known to exist. Thomas’s car is rather more conventional in form, a notchback coupe, with the same greenhouse but a normal trunk instead of a fastback.

Based on the enthusiastic response to these two concept cars, Chrysler’s Paris distributor commissioned Ghia to build 400 of them in 1953 and 1954 but with more conventional aspects. Called the GS-1, these used the longer 125-inch wheelbase, with standard bumpers, chromed-rimmed headlights, chrome side-trim and a character line along the side. They were forbidden to be sold in the U.S., but at least one found its way here – for Jacob Chrysler.

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