Fred Kanter’s love affair with the Dual Ghia 400 Concept Car has spanned nearly 5 ½ decades. Starting in 1958 as young boy of 13, Fred and his friend hopped a train in Morris Plains eager to make it to New York City to see what the 1958 model year would bring. The space race was coming to a head and these cars with their innovative styling, reflected that notion with their wild fins and rocket booster like taillights.
To Fred, there was one car that caught Fred’s eye that day…
The Chrysler Dual Ghia 400! At the time, and today, this car catches your attention with its soft, yet eye catching yellow and black two tone paint job. And unique body lines that start from the front smoothly and progress into sharp, tall tail fins at the rear. The 400 sported a 392 hemi with two 4 barrel carbs to satisfy the need for speed that any man would want, but has the comfort, ride and styling the Misses would expect. The Ghia was hand built on a Chrysler chassis and had every creature comfort inside, from power steering and brakes to air conditioning and even a Highway Hi-Fi in-dash record player.
That day in 1958, a man by the name of Alex Freeman purchased this unique car while at the show in search of a new family car. Mr. Freeman convinced Gene Casaroll (President of Dual Motors) to the sell the 400 for $15,000. At the time twice the asking price of a brand new Cadillac. A deal was stuck, but a contingency was made that the 400 would finish its tour of the auto shows for the ‘58 model year.
During this time the Dual Ghia 400 was out of Fred Kanter’s sight but never out of his mind. For the next two decades Fred kept an insightful eye on the 400 and its whereabouts. In 1970 he had the chance to purchase this unique car for the sum of $10,000. He fell short of funds to attain the car due to the price tag and the fact that he and his brother were building their business Kanter Auto Products. At this point you would think a person would only get so many chances to buy a car of this caliber?
Soon enough, 1977 came along and Fred was visiting a friend’s gas station, and in casual conversation it came up that a yellow and black Dual Ghia was in for service. Right then he knew it was the elusive car that had evaded him for so many years. A deal was struck that day on the car and before the day was over the 400 was sitting proudly in Fred Kanter’s garage.
In the 37 years that Fred and Dan have been the caretakers of this unique automobile, not much has changed beside the mileage on the odometer. The car still sports it original paint, unique two tone interior and even its still functioning record player. The one thing that is different about this car is that it’s not a trailer queen like most would expect. Fred can be seen at any given time tooling around the streets of Boonton behind the wheel of the 400. The car still makes its rounds each year to many auto shows and concourse events in the U.S. Looking great for a 56 year old car!