The Ghia Supersonic's sporty body encapsulates the futuristic design of the jet-crazed 1950s. Created by legendary Italian design house Ghia, and originally fitted on an Alfa Romeo 1900 that competed in the 1953 Mille Miglia (see that pic below), it could actually be used as the body for any number of cars.
It's rare enough for even one of these cars to come to market—but two very different versions will be sold at different auctions this summer.
Up front, the grille resembles a jet intake, while the tail-lamps are housed in pods designed to look like a jet engine’s exhaust. Vestigial fins rise from the rear fenders, and a ridge running from front fender to door serves as a nod to a jet’s wings and horizontal stabilizers.
Amazingly, the design could be replicated on various cars, so a small run of Fiat 8Vs, an Aston Martin, and at least three Jaguar XK120s all got the Supersonic treatment. In all, Ghia would go on to create just 20 examples. While the bodies of the cars looked remarkably similar, the underpinnings and interiors were unique to the donor cars—with some enhancements by Ghia, of course.
RM Sotheby's is auctioning off one of just three Supersonics built on Jaguar XK120 underpinnings. This car was displayed at both the 1954 Paris and London Auto Show, and took part in the Montreux and Cannes Concours d’Elegance Competitions.
With only 22,000 km on the odometer, the Jag is fully numbers matching and retains its original tan leather upholstery installed at the Ghia factory in 1952. It is a true time capsule representative of an incredible time of automotive engineering and design. Selling at the Monterey auction on August 14, the car is expected to fetch between $1.9M and $2.4M.
But the Jag Supersonic isn't the only one up for grabs—there's a Fiat 8V model, which at 15 units is the most common version made. Even without the body, the 8V was a stark contrast from other mass-produced Fiats of the time such as the 500. The Otto Vu, as it was known in Italian, was positioned as a luxury touring sports car.
After being shown at the 1954 Geneva Auto Show, this exact car was exported to Chrysler Chairman K. T. Keller and subsequently sold to a private collector. After passing through two more owners, the car was acquired in 1979 and stayed with the same owner until now.
It's up for grabs at Bonham's Quail Lodge auction, where it's expected to fetch a similar amount as the Jag ($1.8M to $2.4M), making for a tough decision—assuming you have around $2,000,000 burning a hole in your pocket.
Steve Melnick is a contributor to Supercompressor. He's made quite a name for himself scouring the world for obscure and intriguing cars for sale, check him out on Instagram @ClassicCarChaser and at ClassicCarChasers.com.
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