Author Richard Heseltine untangles the Ghia Jaguar XK120 Supersonic’s complicated backstory of British design brilliance and Italian design artistry. He reveals how Ghia wowed the car world with its jet-age styling, and introduces several fascinating characters whose names have peppered the post-war story of Italian car design, engineering and racing. Readers will discover how the original Supersonic was the work of Giovanni Sovanuzzi – the genius designer-engineer famous for the Cisitalia 202. Meanwhile, race team legend Virgilio Conrero was first to put fire in the Supersonic’s belly, while fiery Ghia chief Luigi Segre used the car to woo North America.
In-depth background on Carrozzeria Ghia examines the Italian coachbuilder’s efforts to spread across Europe and ‘crack’ the US market. The birth of Supersonic design as an Alfa Romeo-powered GT is covered in great detail, and a fascinating line-up of other Italian-bodied Jaguar XK sports cars are examined and illustrated, as a way to compare and contrast the Supersonic with the work of other accomplished Italian designers.
The history of chassis number 679768, is chronicled, recounting its elusive first owner, its lengthy periods hidden from public view, and its status today as the prized centrepiece in a private collection. Stunning contemporary photography of the car is mixed with rare and fascinating archive images.