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.
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.
In their catalog, Maserati only listed Allemano as their standard bodystyle with elegant styling by Giovanni Michelotti. Most of the cars used the Allemano design, but several deviated including bodies from Monterosa, Ghia, Frua, Pininfarina and Bertone.