Scottsdale

Car of the Week: This 1959 Maserati 5000 GT Will Be Publicly Auctioned for the First Time

Car of the Week: This 1959 Maserati 5000 GT Will Be Publicly Auctioned for the First Time

When it was unveiled in 1959, the Maserati 5000 GT was the Italian marque’s fullest expression of Gran Turismo, the ultimate Maserati road car of its era and the only one to rival Ferrari’s exclusive Superamerica. The auction of any 5000 GT is an occasion, and on January 24, this example will be offered as part of Gooding & Company’s Geared Online Scottsdale Edition sale.

Available in the Maserati catalog from 1959 through 1964, the Tipo AM103, as the 5000 GT was officially designated, established a series of achievements. It was Maserati’s first V-8-powered road-going automobile, and Europe’s first fuel-injected V-8 (only Chevrolet had done that commercially before). It was also, during its brief lifetime, the fastest and most expensive production automobile in the world.

According to David Brynan, senior specialist for Gooding & Company, “The Maserati 5000 GT is one of the most extraordinary cars of its generation—truly a car of kings.” And as far as the model’s exclusivity, he adds that “only 34 were ever built, and of those, just three were bodied by Carrozzeria Touring, including the first example, which was built for the Shah of Iran.”

The 1959 Maserati 5000 GT being offered through Gooding & Company. 

Photo by Mike Maez, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Rarity is relative, and the genealogy of the 5000 GT is complex. A vital primer for serious enthusiasts is Maserati 5000 GT—A Significant Automobile by Maurice Khawam and photographed by David Gooley (published in 2001), which comprises the definitive history of the model. The book tells the story of a car whose family tree is close-knit and complicated. With such few made, and by eight coachbuilders, even the most plentiful among them—the 22 examples of the Allemano-bodied cars—are exceedingly rare. Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera and Frua made three each, Monterosa built two and the examples from Bertone, Ghia, Michelotti and Pininfarina are unique. It’s as fascinating a story as any Italian carmaker has to tell.
Apart from luxurious bodywork in a variety of guises, what made the 5000 GT special was its engine, a 5.0-liter V-8 derived from the high-strung 4.5-liter unit that powered Maserati’s most formidable race car, the 450 S. Bored out to 4,937 cc, that engine would, in smaller or equal displacement, eventually become the heart of models like the Quattroporte, Ghibli, Bora and any number of mostly forgotten jewels in Maserati’s Trident like the Mexico, Indy, Khamsin and Kyalami. The latter four were produced in numbers that dwarfed the 5000 GT by comparison.

Of the 34 examples of the 5000 GT built, Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera made the bodies for three. 

Photo by Mike Maez, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

It’s important to remember that the handmade bodies of coachbuilt vehicles like the 5000 GT are idiosyncratic, as one might imagine for cars hammered out of aluminum sheet metal and wrapped around a racing chassis and drivetrain. The clients thus attracted to such bespoke GTs were the richest elite, including captains of industry and royal figures such as Gianni Agnelli, the aforementioned Shah of Iran and Karim Aga Khan.
Touring’s 5000 GT is distinguished by an unusual grille design that pays homage to Maserati’s victorious 250F Grand Prix cars. Oddly retro today, the strange central snorkel would have been regarded a cutting-edge design flourish at the time, as evocative of the Space Age as a Jell-O mold or a beehive hairdo. Chassis No. AM103.010 was displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1960, and was subsequently modified and shown in November at the Torino Motor Show. It was retained by the factory through 1961, during which time it was used as a testbed for an experimental 3.8-liter V-8 engine. It was finally sold to a member of the Orsi family—owners of Maserati at the time—and equipped with the larger Tipo 103 Lucas fuel-injected 5.0-liter V-8. In 1965, it was again returned to Maserati, where it was rebuilt to special order for Prince Abdel Majid bin-Saud of Saudi Arabia, featuring some stylistic embellishments it no longer retains.

The front grille design pays homage to Maserati’s victorious 250F Grand Prix cars. 

Photo by Mike Maez, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Provenance since the 1980s has included ownership by US and European collectors, and most recently by an owner who commissioned a restoration aimed at returning the car to its final configuration, as it was sold by Maserati in 1961. Repainted in correct Azzurro Vincennes with black leather upholstery, it is presented in partially restored condition, affording its new owner the opportunity to complete its restoration and hit the concours circuit. The lots crossing the block at Gooding & Company’s Geared Online Scottsdale Edition will begin closing on Friday, January 28, and this Maserati—estimated at $700,000 to $900,000—can be viewed in Scottsdale prior to the auction.

Repainted in its correct Azzurro Vincennes color scheme, this car is presented in partially restored condition. 

Photo by Mike Maez, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

“These Maseratis rarely appear for sale, and when they do, they always command attention,” says Brynan. “This is the last of the three Touring-bodied 5000 GTs, and it is a car which has never before been seen at public auction . . . the perfect candidate for a collector who wants to debut a significant Maserati at leading concours like Pebble Beach and Villa d’Este.”

This Classic 1970 Maserati Ghibli Is Heading to Auction With Its Original 330 HP V-8

This Classic 1970 Maserati Ghibli Is Heading to Auction With Its Original 330 HP V-8

Collectors hungry for a dose of automotive nostalgia will soon have the chance to feast on one perfectly retro Maserati.

The car in question is a gorgeous light brown Ghibli 4.9 SS that rolled off the line in 1970. An oldie but a goodie, the classic four-wheeler will go under the gavel at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale auction, taking place in January next year.

To recap, the Ghibli was first introduced as a two-seater concept car at the Turin Motor Show in 1966. Penned by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was working for the Italian coachbuilder Ghia at the time, the first-gen Ghibli was characterized by a sleek, steel body, a shark-shaped nose and pop-up headlights. A clear rival to the Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini Miura, it is still considered one of the most handsome cars of the 1960s.

The Ghibli sports its factory-correct light brown metallic colorway. 

Gooding & Company/Brian Henniker

Under the hood, the original Ghibli was powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 mated to a five-speed ZF gearbox. The production model, which started rolling out in ‘67, was equipped with additional seats and thus the Ghibli became a two-door 2+2 fastback coupé.
A few years later in ‘69, the Ghibli 4.9 SS was introduced with even more grunt. The stroked 4.9-liter V-8, which was good for 330 horses and 355 ft lbs of twist, gave the Ghibli a blistering top speed of 174 mph. This made it the fastest road-going Maserati at the time. Other noteworthy features include a double-wishbone front suspension with coil springs, a rear live axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and four-wheel servo-assisted hydraulic disc brakes.
In all, just 1,149 coupés were built before production stopped in ‘73. The Ghibli did make a brief comeback in the ‘90s as a coupé with a twin-turbocharged V-6, but the current third-generation is an executive saloon that started rolling out in 2013. As such, models like this metallic beauty are especially sought-after among the Maserati faithful.

The white interior features a classic wooden steering wheel. 

Gooding & Company/Brian Henniker

The car is in great condition both inside and out, too. A true time capsule, it even has its original engine, a classic wooden steering wheel and all the old-school instrumentation. It’s also been repainted in its original, factory-correct light brown metallic color scheme.
It goes without saying, this trip down memory lane will cost you. The auction house expects the Ghibli to fetch between $250,000 and $300,000 at the Geared Online event. The sale, which will be accompanied by an exclusive viewing event in Scottsdale, Arizona, will kick off on Monday, January 24 wrap up Friday, January 28.

Check out more photos below:

Gooding & Company/Brian Henniker

Gooding & Company/Brian Henniker

Gooding & Company/Brian Henniker

Gooding & Company/Brian Henniker

Gooding & Company/Brian Henniker

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