"My Maserati does one-eighty-five.
I lost my license, now I don't drive.
I have a limo, ride in the back.
I lock the doors in case I'm attacked."
The Eagles' Joe Walsh wrote those lyrics about his Maserati 5000 GT.
The sheer exhilaration of the 5000 GT, its performance, luxury, design and the sound of its eight cylinders and four camshafts is heady stuff, a lusty experience matched by none of its contemporaries.
Officine Alfieri Maserati described the 5000 GT in its brochure with these terms:
"power and flexibility"
"speed and safety"
"beauty and comfort"
Its summary was, "dissonance is transformed into harmony in the Maserati 5000 G.T."
Maserati understood both its product and its market for the magnificent 5000 GT. The 5000 GT derived directly from Maserati's 450 S V-8 sports racers and while the first two examples followed the 450 S's gear driven camshaft architecture later 5000 GTs adopted quieter chain-driven cams more suited to the 5000 GT's luxury gran turismo
character. Engineer Giulio Alfieri made other changes simultaneously, slightly changing the bore/stroke ratio to 94x89mm and installing Lucas mechanical fuel injection to improve mid-range performance and revising the cylinder heads with direct valve operation with coil valve springs without the 450 S's roller rocker arm followers. During the 5000 GT's limited production the original ZF 4-speed gearbox was changed to an overdrive fifth speed ZF box.
With the standard 3.54:1 rear axle the 5-speed 5000 GTs' top speed at 6,500rpm was Joe Walsh's 185mph.
The 5000 GT appealed to an elite who appreciated power, handling, performance, luxury and individuality, Shah Reza Pahlavi, Giovanni Agnelli, Briggs Cunningham, Ferdinando Innocenti, Mexican President Lopez Mateos, Stewart Granger, Karin Aga Khan among them.
The first examples' coachwork came from Touring but over the 5000 GT's thirty-four examples seven of Italy's finest coachbuilders including Bertone, Ghia, Frua, Michelotti and Pininfarina exercised their talent, creativity and vision on Maserati's premier gran turismo
The most prolific by far was Allemano.
Serafino Allemano, whose small Turin coachworks had been established in 1935, bodied 22 of the 34 Maserati 5000 GTs with a subtlety that lends unusual refinement to the character of this great gran turismo
. Allemano's 5000 GTs refine the character of the first 5000 GTs created by Carrozzeria Touring with a long hood and tail capped by a light and airy greenhouse with huge wraparound rear window for exceptional visibility designed by Giovanni Michelotti. Allemano was able to accommodate within the small greenhouse 2+2 seating that takes advantage of his 5000 GT's 476cm (187") overall length without losing its character as essentially a 2-seat gran turismo
Subtle differences in design, color and features distinguish each Maserati 5000 GT including the example offered here, chassis 103.046, engine number 046.
It was completed in August 24, 1962, the 23rd of the series. Delivered to Piero Maria Merli Brandini in Rome it eventually found its way to Venezuela where it was discovered in the early 1990's, essentially completely original and unrestored, by a Belgian diamond merchant who recognized it for the gem it was.
It incorporates all the important improvements of Maserati's continuous development of the 5000 GT including four wheel disc brakes and 5-speed ZF gearbox with the added distinction of being the only 5000 GT factory-equipped with air conditioning, a contemporary Frigikar system which still blows cold today. The coachwork is an example of Allemano's best with the huge wraparound rear window complemented with front and rear operating vent windows on the doors and oval European headlights flanking the subtly split ovoid radiator grille.
A ten-year restoration was begun at Maserati specialist Bill McGrath's shop in the UK shortly after it got to Europe. Starting from the sound and complete car found in Venezuela it was returned to showroom condition with particular attention to its accurate appearance and condition. Finished in the original Blu Sera Metallic with white leather upholstery, it has polished alloy rim Borrani wire wheels. Signor Brandini and his successors appreciated the song of the 5000 GT's big 4.941cc V-8 and never fitted a radio.
It is in its correct original condition with matching chassis and engine numbers, 046, and correct Lucas distributors with dual plug heads. The current owner reports he has put some 2,000 miles on it with complete satisfaction including superb handling and braking, a strong, lusty engine and smooth-shifting gearbox.
Its condition today is as if it just emerged from Allemano's Turin shop with sharp paint, chrome and interior, meticulously detailed without being overdone. It is ready to be shown with pride at the end of a day's drive after its exhilarating performance has been exploited to the fullest.
There are only thirty-four Maserati 5000 GTs, the last individually specified and bodied gran turismos
in Maserati's illustrious history. Each is a splendid statement melding luxury and breathtaking performance in the fastest, most luxurious and exclusive gran turismos
of their period.
The Maserati 5000 GT suited Briggs Cunningham, Karim Aga Khan and Giovanni Agnelli in the Sixties. It still excites the imagination like no other gran turismo
of its period, a real gran turismo
by any standard and the earliest of the coming generations of supercars.