Maserati 5000 GT For Sale?

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    Maserati 5000 GT Review (1959– 1965)

    Overall Summary

    Dusty Cars Rating

    The two-door coupe called the 5000GT was the car that actually put Maserati in front of Ferrari in the top category of the automotive industry. It was the ultimate car in every respect. It featured an engine based on one from a race car, it had incredible performance for that time, it had top-class interior, almost every one of them was heavily customized and with a unique body design and, lastly, only 30+ of them were ever made.

    But it wasn’t only a status symbol, even though it was incredibly exclusive and expensive, with the price of $17,000 which was cost almost twice as much as the Maserati 3500 for sale. This car drove excellently, providing loads of fun for a novice driver during relaxed cruising, as well as for a heavily trained racing driver.

    Having in mind the price and the extremely low production numbers, buyers of the Maserati 5000GT were only the richest, so each and every of these cars, aside from the class and performance, also has loads of history.

    Late 1950s and early 1960s were the time of domination for Maserati and the 5000GT celebrates this supremacy like no other car. It is special and unique in every way, having no real predecessor or successor.

    Driving & Performance

    The already mentioned V8 engine produced more than enough push for the coupe, making it faster than any Ferrari road car at the time. Furthermore, it came with revered ZF transmissions and two or four disc brakes. The top speed was 172 miles an hour which was incredible at the time, and it would turn with precision and confidence.

    Probably the best description came from the famed journalist Hans Tanner who absolutely fell in love with the car saying that it tackles longer curves at 158 miles an hour “too easy” and that it “seems to be doing (only) 90 mph when traveling at 168 mph”.

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    Equipment & Comfort

    All of the cars were specially made and tailored according to every buyer’s desires. However, some things were common for all of them. Each car had a lush leather interior with very comfortable, but also very supportive bucket seats, which provided both comfort for relaxed driving and confident support for high speed cornering. Rear seats were small and definitely not as comfortable.

    Each dashboard was very elegant and elaborate with stainless steel trim and wood steering wheels, as well as stylish Jaeger gauges.

    Just like the 3500, the 5000GT had a thick transmission tunnel between the two front seats and two massive dials for engine rpms and speed.

    Wherever you would look and whatever you would touch, you would get the feeling of high quality materials and elegant design.

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    Running Costs

    As you can probably guess from the previous sections, buying parts for this kind of a car is not easy or cheap. You will not find them through general classic cars parts retailers and shopping around virtually doesn’t exist. This was, and still is, the car for those who do not care about prices.

    However, if your 5000GT is in good condition, you should have absolutely no problems with it. All of the parts were engineered to perfection, and the car would sustain some of the harshest racing conditions, so short-term classic car cruising puts absolutely no strain on its parts.

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    History & Development

    It’s not easy for any company to compete with Ferrari and it is almost impossible to win in that competition. Well, in the 1950s it was even more difficult. Ferrari had enormous funds, all the best engineers and designers, impeccable reputation and an unprecedented racing history. Thinking that any small company would actually be able to compete with that might seem ridiculous. However, Maserati was constantly putting dents in Ferrari’s domination. By the late 1950s it was normal for a Maserati car to win a race against a Ferrari. Similarly, after the commercial success of the first mass produced road-going Maserati, the A6, and the first Maserati gran turismo car in series production, the 3500 GT, Maserati’s reputation outside the racing circles began to rise and seriously jeopardized Ferrari’s leading position. For example, the 3500 GT outsold its competitors from Ferrari. Encouraged by the success, Maserati went for the ultimate category in which Ferrari was still in the lead – massively-priced and ultimately-plush custom road cars.

    These extremely rare and expensive cars were usually sold to famous and affluent people, which was sure to improve reputation of the company and provide some serious funds for further developments of race and road cars.

    While the 3500 GT was still in production, the company decided to use the same lightweight, tubular chassis and equip it with the V8 engine from the incredibly capable Maserati 450S race car. Moreover, exclusivity of the interior was moved up a notch and almost completely open for customization according to its buyer’s desires, while bodies were made by different designers and coachbuilders, meaning that it was impossible to find two 5000GTs which were the same. All this added up to the fact that the 5000GT was actually more exclusive, more luxurious, more elegant and even faster than any Ferrari road car, despite the fact that Ferrari used V12s and the 5000GT was equipped with a V8.

    The first Maserati 5000GT was made in 1959. It was a part of the Tipo 103 series and ordered by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, an avid fan of the Maserati 3500. This is why the car was called the Shah of Persia. It was able to reach 172 mph, which was unbelievable for a road car of the era. The body was made by Carrozzeria Touring and it was heavily influenced by Persian art and architecture which is evident from the grille design.

    The 5000GT was made only when one was ordered, so despite the fact that its production ran from 1959 to 1965, it was made in only 34 units (although one of the cars was made on a different chassis, so many people don’t consider it a real 5000GT).

    The most prolific body builder was Carrozzeria Allemano, which was responsible for 22 cars, but other highly esteemed designers and companies were also making bodies for the 5000GT. These were Frua, Carrozzeria Monterosa, Pininfarina, Ghia, Michelotti and Bertone made by Giugiaro. The last one was made in 1961 and this is the car with the different chassis and engine.

    Buyers of the 5000GT were only the most affluent and of the high society. Apart from Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, just some of the buyers were Gianni Agnelli, Briggs Cunningham, Basil Read, Joe Walsh, Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Stewart Granger, Ferdinando Innocenti and Karim Aga Khan, today more or less known, but at the time all highly regarded members of the company of some of the richest people in the world.

    Speaking of mechanics, the car was powered by a 5 l V8 with four overhead camshafts. The engine came from the 450S race car, but it had to be toned down for a road car, since it was much too wild for a non-racing driver and also too expensive and too complicated for maintenance by regular mechanics or owners. The first few cars had either Lucas mechanical injection or four Weber carburetors and they had about 325 horsepower with dual spark plugs and fuel pump. Initially, the engine worked with a four-speed ZF transmission and had front disc brakes and drums at the back.

    Later versions had an engine with a slightly different, but still 5 l, displacement and new fuel injection for an increase in power to over 340 horsepower. Development also included a switch from the four-speed to five-speed gearbox and all round disc brakes.

    Some reports say that the first two 5000GTs had original racing car engine whose power well exceeded 400 horsepower.

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    Facts & Figures

    Body2- door coupe
    Engines5 L V8 (two versions)
    Dimensions and weight
    Weight3,200 lb – 3,600 lb
    Maserati 5000GT years of production
    1959 – 1965
    Maserati 5000GT production numbers
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