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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The weirdest Ghia rear-engined people carrier vehicles ever made

The unique four-wheeled vehicle that will be discussed this time is one of the motor vehicle concepts developed by several talented automotive designers who have worked in the famous Italian coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Ghia S.p.A.
1959 Ghia Selene concept designed by Tom Tjaarda, and Sergio Sartorelli under the direction of Luigi Segre of the Carrozzeria Ghia S.p.A. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/2ZYIxh9)
This company was previously known for its collaboration with Chrysler and Alfa Romeo, and in 1959 presented to the public a concept car named Ghia Selene. This concept car was developed by Tom Tjaarda, a talented American designer who was working for the Turin-based coachbuilder, and Sergio Sartorelli under the direction of Luigi Segre.

It is a unique-shaped "people carrier" means with super slim forward controls that contain 3 rows of seats inside. The first row is located on the front overhang, and the front wheel covers are located between the first and second-row seats facing the rear. The model was repeatedly exhibited and won over many with its elegance and originality of the layout solution.
1959 Ghia Selene Concept of the Carrozzeria Ghia S.p.A. sat on display at the Polytechnic Museum after the Italian company left it in Moscow in 1962. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3kzT4aw)
And in 1962, the Tom Tjaarda-designed model was brought to Moscow as part of the Italian industrial exhibition held in Sokolniki at that time and placed right in the Fiat's exhibition area. On the opening day, May 28, 1962, the Soviet Union leader at the time, Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev attended and took a look at the Italian company booth where in particular, the Fiat leadership showed him a model of their future automobile plant in Togliatti, a motor city in Russia.
The steering wheel and dashboard view of the 1959 Ghia Selene concept by the Carrozzeria Ghia S.p.A. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/2ZYIxh9)
During the exhibition, there was a meeting between Italian designers represented by the Carrozzeria Ghia S.p.A. designers with a group of Soviet Union designers led by Yuri Aronovich Dolmatovsky, known as the developer of rear-engined passenger cars such as the legendary 1951 NAMI 013 and 1955 NAMI 050 "Belka."

On the last day of the exhibition, the Italian delegation decided to leave the Selene model in Moscow with a memorial plaque read, 'The model of the car "Selena" was designed and manufactured by the artistic design organization Ghia (Turin, Italy). It was presented in 1962 to the designers of Soviet experimental passenger cars of the carriage type as a sign of the unity of technical ideas and friendship.'
Interior view of 1959 Ghia Selene concept by the Carrozzeria Ghia S.p.A. with two-pair rear-seats facing each other. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/2ZYIxh9)
At first, this car model was decided to be stored at the Polytechnic Museum and since then it has never been seen and maybe the wanderings ended up in a dusty warehouse. And in 1968 Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky wrote a beautiful lyrical "Song of two beautiful cars". It mentions the name, Selene. Since there were no other cars with this name, we can safely say that the poet was referring to the model of the Ghia company.

In the late 1990s, Selene was back on the trail and was clearly nowhere to be found. Or it would be easier for someone to say that the model was disposed of, instead of digging up the exhibit from under a layer of dust.
1959 Ghia Selene concept of the Carrozzeria Ghia S.p.A while on display at the Fiat booth of the Sokolniki Industrial Exhibition in Moscow back in 1962. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3kE8Mla)
As a result, both in the domestic and foreign press releases, there is information about the "irrevocable loss of the famous creation of Tom Tjaarda." But what the surprise and joy when a tow truck casts Selena's familiar silhouette from the dark basement to the light. Armed with photographs from 1962, the model was carefully examined. 

There is no doubt that this is her. The same interior with intricate veins on the upholstery of the seats, the same "space" dashboard, the same sharply defined taillights. Unfortunately, the steering wheel and the corporate nameplate, wheels with white sides have been lost. But most importantly, Selene is back. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | THE PETROLSTOP | ANDONISCARS]
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