As an imperial request from the Shah of Iran, the 5000 GT was built by Maserati as their flagship model. It combines Maserati’s standard chassis with the potent 4.5-liter V8 from the 450 sports race car. Bodied by the best coach builders in Italy, this model became the best Grand Tourer on the market. Famous owners included Fiat-boss Giovanni Angnelli, Briggs Cunningham and King Saud of Saudi Arabia.
1959 was a transitional year for Maserati which positioned the company from producing Maserati race cars to road cars. The 3500 GT was their first real production car and the only on available until the Shah of Iran visited the factory.
In November of 1958 Mohamed Reza Pahlavi was impressed with the 3500 GT catalog but he wanted the fastest GT car in the world. At his suggestion, Alfieri and Adolfo Orsi fitted the 4.5-liter V8 into a chassis, creating the first 5000 GT. This car, chassis 103.002 was sent to Touring of Milan for a distinct body and interior that would be named after the Shah. Touring gave the car a distinctive nose from the successful 250F GP car, and four headlights within the front grill.
In many ways the Shah’s car acted as a prototype for a limited series of cars. The design used a strengthened 3500 GT chassis with a detuned V8 engine. The V8 engine was enlarged to 4953 cc and used a lower compression ratio. Alfieri kept the gear-driven valvetrain and Weber carburetors. Chassis details included strengthening all around and disc brakes up front.
A sister car to the Shah’s was built on chassis 103.004 for display at the 1959 Turin Motor Show. It had gold-plated knobs and switches to promote the model and differed only in detail to the first car. After the first two cars were completed, Maserati refined the design for production. Bore and stroke were altered on the engine to make it more usable. Additionally, the noisy gear-driven camshafts was replaced with a quieter chain-driven system. Probably the most remarkable difference was the adoption of Lucas mechanical fuel injection for the first time in a GT car. It made the engine more responsive across the ROM band, but sapped 15 bhp from the unit.
Power was routed through a four or five speed ZF gearbox and a double-plate clutch to the rear wheels. With 16 inch wheels and the 5-speed gearbox a theoretical top speed of 184.6 mph (297 kph) was possible.
In their catalog, Maserati only listed Allemano as their standard bodystyle with elegant styling by Giovanni Michelotti. Orders came in the $14,000 USD 5000 GT, making the car one of the most of the period. Most of the cars used the Allemano design, but several deviated including bodies from Monterosa, Ghia, Frua, Pininfarina and Bertone. In total 34 cars were made, 22 with standard Allemano coachwork.
Chassis & Sales
103 046-1962 Maserati 5000 GT Alemano Coupé. Completed August 24th, 1962 with rare 5-speed ZF transmission and 4-wheel disc brakes and Frigikar air conditioning. Pained Blu Sera Metallic with a white Connolly leather interior. First delivered to to Sig. Piero Maria Merli Brandini of Rome.
Later found in original, but derelict condition in Venezuela and eventually restored from the ground up in Belgium with mechanical work by Bill McGrath Maserati in the UK. Displayed by Tom Shaughnessy at the 2009 Amelia Island Concours and subsequentely offered by Gooding & Company at their 2010 Amelia Island sale with an estimate of $575,000 – $675,000 USD.
Independent w/Transverse Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs, Hydraulic Shock Absorbers
Live Axle w/Leaf Springs
1652 kg / 3642 lbs
2600 mm / 102.4 in
1390 mm / 54.7 in
1360 mm / 53.5 in
4760 mm / 187.4 in
1700 mm / 66.9 in
1320 mm / 52.0 in
4-Speed or 5-Speed ZF Manual Gearbox
~270.4 kph / 168.0 mph
100 litres or 26.40 gal.
Maserati 5000 GT Auction Sales History
1963 Maserati 5000 GT by Frua AM103.064 – did not sell for $1,800,000 One of 34 Maserati 5000 GTs produced. The first of only two Frua-bodied examples built. The 1962 Geneva and Paris show car. Promotional car used by team owner John Simone and the Aga Khan. Factory refurbished in period for use by King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. One of the most important and glamorous Maseratis extant. Auction Source: 2014 Monterey by RM Auctions
1964 Maserati 5000 Alemano Coupe 058 – sold for €255,282. Our car was delivered new in Barcelona at the start of 1964 by Auto Paris, Maserati’s Spanish importers, to its first owner, José Bascones Ayreto; he sold it to Jean Guikas in December 1989. Guikas had it restored then consigned for sale with us here in Paris in December 1990.
The engine was restored by Giulani, the injection revised, a new braking system installed, and the bodywork stripped and resprayed in its original Blu Sera livery (Fiat ref. 439) by Canisero of Marseille. Though little driven since 1990, the car – one of the star attractions at the Manoir de l’Automobile in Lohéac, Brittany – has been carefully maintained, and started up every month. Maserati are unable to say why #058 has been fitted with a different air intake pipe. Auction Source: 2010 Artcurial Sport & GTs au Mans Classic