Carrozzeria Ghia SpA (established 1921 in Turin) is one of the most famous Italian automobile design and coachbuilding firms, established by Giacinto Ghia and Gariglio as Carrozzeria Ghia & Gariglio, located at 4 Corso Valentino in Turin.
Ghia initially made lightweight aluminum-bodied cars, achieving fame with the Alfa Romeo 6C 1500, winning Mille Miglia (1929). Between the world wars, Ghia designed special bodies for Alfa Romeo, Fiat, and Lancia, one of the most famous was the Fiat 508 Ballilla sports coupe (1933).
The factory was rebuilt at Via Tomassi Grossi, after being demolished in an air raid during World War II (1943). After Ghia's death (1944), the company was sold to Mario Boano and Giorgio Alberti. The Ghia-Aigle subsidiary was established in Aigle, Switzerland (1948).
With Luigi Segre on his side, Boano saw many foreign firms ordering Ghia designs, such as Ford (the Lincoln Futura concept car), Volkswagen (the Karmann Ghia), and Volvo (the Volvo P1800). Chrysler and its designer Virgil Exner became a close partner for 15 years, resulting in eighteen Chrysler Ghia Specials (1951-53), the K-310, the Chrysler Norseman, the Crown Imperial limousines (Jackie Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, and other luminaries owned one), and others. There are even a few Ghia-bodied Ferraris. Ghia also participated in the short-lived Dual-Ghia venture. Production by Ghia was always in very low numbers, giving the company's products even greater exclusivity than those of the other Italian coachbuilders.
In 1953, Boano left for Fiat, the factory moved to via Agostino da Montefeltro, and Luigi Segre took over. Ghia then bought Pietro Frua , appointing Frua as head of Ghia Design (1957-60), designing the Renault Floride. After Segres death (1963), Ghias was sold to Ramfis Trujillo (1966), who sold to Alejandro de Tomaso (1967), owner of a rival design house, who took over, but had difficulty in running Ghia profitably. In 1970, he sold his shares to the Ford Motor Company. During this transition period, Ghia had partial involvement in the De Tomaso Pantera, a high-performance, mid-engine car with a 351 cu OHV Ford V8.
From 1973, the Ghia name became Ford's top-line brand in its mainstream model range. The trend began in Europe (Granada Ghia, Capri Ghia, Cortina Ghia, Escort Ghia, Fiesta Ghia, later Sierra Ghia, Orion Ghia, Mondeo Ghia and Focus Ghia), but soon spread worldwide, particularly to the U.S, South American and Australian markets.
However, in the British market, it seems the practice of using the Ghia name in such a capacity is being phased out. As of February 2008, only the Fiesta, Mondeo and Galaxy lines retain the name, with 'Titanium' gradually being adopted as the top-line brand, as evidenced by the Focus, C-MAX, S-MAX and upcoming Kuga.
Today, the Ghia studios produce many various concept cars under the Ford banner.
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