There are clients and customers. In the 1950s, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, then the Shah of Iran, approached Italy’s Maserati and asked them to build a 3500 GT coupe with a new (and more powerful) V8 engine that would race the 450S. It was recently serviced by the manufacturer.
Little known in Brazil, Maserati sells some of its models on the national market. Although it belongs to the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) group, the Italian is a little lower than Ferrari and also uses engines made by the famous brand. Autoesporte got a chance to drive the new Maserati Levante Trofeo SUV and we tested its Ferrari V8 3.8 biturbo.
After receiving an “order” from the Shah of Iran, the brand strengthened the 3500 GT coupe’s chassis, installed front disc brakes and built a V8 into the safe. The eight-cylinder increased capacity from 4.5 liters to 4.9 liters, enough to produce up to 370 hp and 45 kgfm of torque.
It was one of those examples that appeared at RM Sotheby’s last auction. Even in poor condition, the car was auctioned for 533,000 US dollars, equivalent to almost 2.2 million dollars.
This has an explanation: the car has a very rare production and this example is the rarest of all. His condition does not matter in this case. The trade-off will be worth it though, because it will be greatly appreciated when it is returned.
The Maserati commissioned by the Shah was christened the 5000 GT and was presented at the 1959 edition of the Turin Motor Show. Only three cars were made with the original engine. However, since the V8 was track-specific and less suited to things like idling, Maserati produced the next 31 cars with a better city setup.
After decades of neglect, rust took over the car (Photo: Disclosure) – Photo: Auto Esporte
The price was almost twice the asking price of the 3500 GT, but the performance put it in another category. The 500 GT competed with the Ferrari Superamerica, that is, it was a supercar for the few. The sprint from zero to 100 km/h was completed in 6.5 seconds and the top speed was brutal: 274 km/h. The highest level of performance for almost 60 years.
Among its owners was Gianni Agnelli, owner of Fiat.
Like other cars of its time, the coupe could receive bodies from eight different suppliers. This specimen was even rarer. The 5000 GT in question was produced in July 1961, when it was the ninth example to leave the factory. And it was the only car with bodywork made by the Ghia studio.
Once restored, the model will increase in value (Image: Exposure) – Image: Auto Esporte
The design is as beautiful as it is exotic. The builder left his style well etched in the bodywork, especially in the details of the quad headlights mounted on the frame. Sergio Sartorelli was responsible for the lines, the designer who designed the second generation Karmann Ghia and Fiat 126. The artist also created other models throughout his career, among them small Lambrettas.
It was on this occasion that he became close friends with Ferdinando Innocenti, who designed the post-war Lambretta. Motorcycles were introduced in 1947 as a cheap form of transportation for conflict-ridden Italy (and Europe). It didn’t take long for Innocenti to become one of the richest people in the country. His luck allowed him to order this special GT 5000 from the folks at Ghia.
The interior is also finished, but all the original parts were kept (Photo: Exposure) — Photo: Auto Esporte
Before handing over the car to Innocenti, Maserati allowed Sport Car Graphic magazine editor Bernard Cahier. The views were more than exciting. “We found ourselves stuck in the seats because of the high speed, the kind only found in racing cars … I’ve driven a lot of fast cars before, but I’ve never felt such power coming so fast. So fast that I went straight from three to four and I saw that the car was already at 224 km / h “, said Cahier.
Innocenti sold the car some time later. The GT 5000 passed through the hands of a few Italians, but was shipped to Saudi Arabia and soon disappeared from the radar. Thanks to the enthusiast Rubayan Alrubayan, Maserati was rediscovered in the 1970s. However, even he was not aware of the scarcity of this unique model made by Ghia.
The 4.9 liter engine made the Maserati one of the fastest cars in the world (Image: Disclosure) — Image: Auto Esporte
Alrybayan left the competition open for many years and the car was marked for cancellation, it was after his death that his heirs decided to keep the sports car. They are the ones who decided to sell Maserati.
The condition of the car deteriorates, but its parts are preserved. The 5000 GT has never been abandoned or its parts eaten. Even the original spare tire (in tatters) was stored in the trunk. Only its silver paintwork was changed to blue in the 1960s. In other words, Maserati is a candidate to be restored and restored to its former glory.
Photo of Maserati when it was presented to the public (Photo: Disclosure) — Photo: Auto Esporte
Although difficult to read, the odometer shows only 15,561 kilometers traveled. It’s almost zero kilometers, so to speak. It just needs to be restored to be called brand new.
For more than $2 million, the rusty Italian coupe seems like a bad deal. But, before you call the new owner crazy, remember that it will appreciate itself many times after restoration. It was a good purchase. It’s hard to see under a lot of dirt.
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