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RITA HAYWORTH'S CADILLAC GHIA IS QUINTESSENTIAL LOS ANGELES
by Petrolicious Productions / 10 Feb 2015

The story of this 1953 Cadillac couldn't possibly be a more quintessentially Los Angeles story than it already is. In the early 1950s, international playboy and south-Asian royalty Aly Khan purchased this Ghia-bodied Cadillac in an attempt to recapture actress Rita Hayworth's attention. They had been married for a few years, but their relationship was ending and according to legend, this was his last gasp attempt to save their love.

It didn't work, they split up permanently, but Hayworth did keep the car. Based on the documentation it seems that Ghia built this car, the second of two similar bodies, on spec. But it seems to have been intended for an American buyer from the beginning due to the use of a Cadillac chassis. Ghia knew that this car could be easily, inexpensively serviced most anywhere in the US, and using a large Caddy as the base also gave Ghia the freedom to build it as they saw fit, without limitations.

CONTINUE AT PETROLICIOUS

 

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Great video and a lovely, lovely car. Kudos to Petrolicious for shining some light on a forgotten gem.

The Fischer Body, as a stand alone coachworks, is dead. They are no longer churning out bespoke products like it did before GM's ownership of the company. But there are plenty of outfits out there that still do this. And what's more, top end end brands now have in-house "skunkworks" of one kind or another that do it for some customers.

However, in some parts of the world, there are still carrozzerie that turn out lovely, one-off examples of a vehicle for a paying patron.

It would be great to see GM team up with a carrozzeria or coachwork outfit to work on such products. This could be much as Aston Martin has historically done with Zagato.

If the carrozzeria could line up a customer to shell out the money (and there are lots of them out there who love anything exclusive) and proposition a design, GM could give them whatever Cadillac (or Buick or whatever), they wanted to create a one-off bespoke product. If it got enough attention, GM could commission a limited run series of a certain car for the carrozzeria's potential customers and even sell them through a GM showroom, warranty intact and all. And it doesn't have to even be an outfit from Italy, Germany, or Britian. It could even be a domestic outfit like Foose Design.

It wouldn't be too expensive. GM would lose hardly anything on it. And if they were bold enough to give their formal consent and approval, it would create incredible buzz and exposure. What's more, an indirect side effect would be to "push" GM designers and engineers to think creatively as they design a product from scratch.
 

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Great video and a lovely, lovely car. Kudos to Petrolicious for shining some light on a forgotten gem.

The Fischer Bodyworks is no longer churning out bespoke products like it did before GM's ownership of the company. But there are plenty of outfits out there that still do this. And what's more, top end end brands now have in-house "skunkworks" of one kind or another that do it for some customers.

It would be great to see GM team up with someone to work on such products, much as Aston Martin has historically done with Zagato. If the carriage works could line up a customer and proposition a design, GM could give them whatever Cadillac (or Buick or whatever), they wanted to create a one-off bespoke product or a limited run series of a certain car. If GM were to give their approval, it would create incredible buzz and exposure -- not to mention it would "push" GM designers and engineers to think creatively as they design a product from scratch.
With the new quasi-independence Cadillac now has, I can see them eventually doing something in-house once they (hopefully) move up to the Roll-Royce/Bentley territory.
 

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Cadillac can partner with Fisker. I heard he is unemployed and looking for a job.
Before making the Karma, Fisker did some amazing designs, a modern day coachbuilder.
 

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I never cared for this car.
 

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It's one of the better Ghia designs of the 50s, but the back window is a bit peculiar and the rear end somewhat bland.
 

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Nevermind Fisher Body; Cadillac had its own in-house coach builder- Fleetwood. Reinstate that as it was successfully for so long.

I like the '53 Ghia for the most part- it's much more cohesive and elegant than the other period outside coach builder's efforts.
 

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Nevermind Fisher Body; Cadillac had its own in-house coach builder- Fleetwood. Reinstate that as it was successfully for so long.

I like the '53 Ghia for the most part- it's much more cohesive and elegant than the other period outside coach builder's efforts.
Fleetwood for bespoke models would be cool, though with today's unibodies changing body panels is likely to be way more expensive than with a BOF architecture...
 
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