The Petersen Museum is home to many of the world’s most amazing and unique vehicles. Splendid examples of automotive history are safely stored for future generations to see firsthand. One of the vehicles within the walls of The Petersen is a 1953 Cadillac that isn’t only a Cadillac, it is also a Ghia.
In the early and mid-1950s, it was still possible to purchase a vehicle chassis from a manufacturer and have it sent to a coachbuilder to have a custom body built. The world’s wealthiest man of that time, Ali Khan, purchased a 1953 Cadillac Series 62 chassis for Ghia, an Italian coachbuilder, to use as a base. The Series 62 was designed by Harley Earl for General Motors and was on to its third generation. The chassis had a wheelbase of 126 inches, a 331 cubic-inch Cadillac V8 and a 4-speed Hydra-matic automatic transmission.
Ghia ultimately built two of these cars. Khan purchased one of them and had it sent to iconic American actress Rita Hayworth. The two had once been married and the gesture is rumored to have been an attempt to win her back. Unfortunately for Khan, it did not work.
The custom Ghia body was built onto the proven Cadillac Series 62 chassis. The blend of American powertrain reliability and Italian style was astounding.
Hayworth kept the car for a short bit and then it was passed around for a few years. Petersen Museum ultimately got their hands on it and fully restored it back to exacting original specifications save for the exterior color. The car was originally white and was changed to the current color to better exemplify the Ghia body lines.
Coming up on August 12, 2015, Hayworth’s Ghia-bodied Cadilla Series 62 will be the 2015 feature presentation for the Carmel Mission Classic in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California. “We are honored to support the Carmel Mission Classic,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Chief Curator Leslie Kendall, “and we couldn’t think of a better place to display such a rare and beautiful piece of automotive history. This event gives car lovers an opportunity to see one of the most important pieces in our collection.”