The Maserati 5000GT was a coach-built masterpiece with a racing heart

Maserati 5000 GT un-restored rear three-quarter

This year marks six decades since the Maserati 5000 GT debuted at the Turin Motor Show, a car conceived as a 2+2 coupé built to the specific request of the Shah of Persia. Only 34 chassis left Maserati’s Viale Ciro Menotti plant in Modena, getting coach-built bodies from the best names in the business between 1959 and 1965.

The 5000 GT was basically a re-engineered 3500 GT chassis with the V-8 heart from the 450S racing car, bored out to 4937 cc. The model debuted with a body by Carrozzeria Touring made for the Shah Reza Pahlavi. Just three Carrozzeria Touring-bodied 5000 GTs were made in total.

maserati 5000 gt from panini collection
maserati 5000 gt from panini collection

Designed by Giovanni Michelotti, Carrozzeria Allemano made 22 coupés, one of which went to Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos. Pietro Frua completed three, with one landing in Prince Karim Aga Khan’s collection. Carrozzeria Monterosa took two chassis, Pininfarina got one which then went to Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli, while Bertone built another 5000 GT on a modified chassis using Giugiaro’s lines. Virginio Vairo’s Vignale design was so well received that it became the production Maserati Mexico.

Then, there was the Ghia version, commissioned by industrialist Ferdinando Innocenti, father of Lambretta scooters. We covered this one-off in detail after it was discovered rotting away in Saudi Arabia. Having been described as “probably the most significant Maserati to come to auction” by restoration expert Frank Mandarano, this rotten, yet mostly-complete 5000 GT found a buyer at $533,000 during RM Sotheby’s 2019 Monterey sale. Mr. Mandarano told us that restoring it in Italy would cost another $450,000 to $650,000.

Knowing that the most common Allemano coupés exchange hands for around $1.5 million in Excellent (#2-rated) condition, the $533,000 hammer price seems right for this unique Ghia-built model. However, standing next to this once glorious V-8 coupé doesn’t make that any easier to believe.

1961 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Ghia
1961 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Ghia
1961 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Ghia
1961 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Ghia
1961 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Ghia
1961 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Ghia

To which the expert says: “I’ve seen a lot worse.”