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Published on Feb 10, 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.
The car now belongs to the Petersen Automotive Museum and was originally purchased by museum founder and publishing magnate Robert E. Petersen, following a series of collector owners. And while its original color is unknown, the earliest known photo shows the car in an appliance white. Since the original color seems lost to the ages, the Petersen decided to spray the Cadillac Ghia in a darker, richer color to show off its beautiful brightwork and elegant form. It certainly shines brighter than most anything else, tough to accomplish in Los Angeles.