1969 MASERATI GHIBLI 4.7-LITER SPIDER
Coachwork by Ghia
Chassis no. AM115S 1043
4719cc DOHC V8 Engine
4 Weber 2-Barrel Carburetors
335bhp at 5,500rpm
5-Speed Manual Transmission
Coil Spring Independent Front Suspension, Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
*1 of 125 factory Spiders built
*Matching numbers example
*Stunning original color combination
*Completed 2014 Copperstate 1000 Rally
*Recently freshened and serviced
THE MASERATI GHIBLI
Named for a blisteringly hot African wind, the first Maserati to carry the name Ghibli had much of the same effect on the GT car scene when it was launched in 1968 as Sophia Loren had on the American film business in the 1950s. The Ghibli was Maserati's first 'production' V8 offering following the 31 examples of the bespoke 5000GT built from 1959 to 1964. The breathtakingly beautiful styling of the Ghibli made it an instant hit and it has gone on to become an enduring icon of a golden age of motoring.
Whenever superstar automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro is asked for his 'favorite design', his reply most often is the Ghibli coupe - a car which in his words - "I keep designing in my head over and over, and I can never improve upon." The Ghibli embodies the culmination of the 1960s Italian life of 'la dolce vita', 'il boom' and 'la bella figura'.
The Ghibli's remarkable engine is directly descended from that fitted in the FIA World Championship contender 450S sports racer and could propel these beautiful Maseratis from 0-60 in under 7 seconds on the way to a terminal velocity in the 170mph range. To have this motive power matched up to stunning coachwork, a luxuriously finished interior and comforts such as air conditioning made an instant world-beater.
The shape of the Ghibli is sleek, elegant and clean, while simultaneously expressing the power of that V8 engine. It is also very low, especially noticeable on the coupe, the sweeping lines of which are like no other of the time. While the Ghibli coupe was produced in rather small numbers, with only 1,149 leaving the Maserati factory between 1967 and 1970, the open-topped variant was still more exclusive. A mere 125 examples of the Spider were built during that time, ensuring that they would always be rare and desirable.
When replaced in 1973 by the Khamsin, the Ghibli had already begun to assert its charms as a timeless example of the best in Italian design and its appeal has exponentially grown as the years have passed. The pinnacle of Giorgetto Giugiaro's designs, it is difficult to identify another such work of visual art with such dynamic capability.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Any Maserati Ghibli is an extraordinary GT car and the rare Spider even more so. This example of the iconic 1960s convertible is particularly elegant, finished in the Graphite Metallic in which it was originally delivered. The Spider was restored several years ago to a very high standard. Reportedly, when restoration was begun the highly original car had only had two owners from new, its second owner apparently having retained the car for some three decades. Boasting the hard-to-find and most desirable combination of the 5-speed manual transmission, power steering, power windows and air conditioning, this Ghibli begs to be driven and thoroughly enjoyed. The powerful V8 of this car can be described as almost 'turbine like' in its silky supply of almost effortless thrust to move you through traffic and onto open roads. It pulls strongly as would be expected of such a formidable powerplant - while the suspension works to make your drive quite a bit more comfortable than almost any other luxury GT cars of its time.
And enjoy it is what the current custodian has done, with frequent drives on challenging Southern California roads as well as a run in the demanding Copperstate 1000 Rally earlier this year. On the Copperstate, this Ghibli Spider revealed the almost effortless, smooth and strong power delivery for which the superb Maserati 4-cam V8 is known. The car handled crisply, shifted surely and braked strongly, without drama. It is a car that encourages active, involved driving while retaining an around-town tractability not seen in some other more highly-strung GTs.
This Ghibli has had the benefit of regular and expert mechanical servicing since its acquisition in 2012 to ensure it can be confidently enjoyed on the road as it should be and a recent freshening has given it an impressive appearance. It is a Maserati sure to make you eager to experience it on the road, while also providing a good deal of pleasure no doubt just from contemplating it parked in your garage.
While certainly not a small car, the Ghibli Spider is truly one in which you can confidently attack corners with the same enthusiasm with which you dominate long straights and gently undulating sweeping roads.
To settle into in the welcoming leather of the driver's seat and spend time on the road in this Ghibli is to have a glimpse into what it must have been like to take one off the dealer's lot in 1969. Your destination could have been across the country or indeed across frontiers just you, a significant other and room for the luggage you would need for a sprint from New York to Monterey, Rome to Paris or Geneva to Monaco.
Fortunate indeed will be the next person who owns this remarkable Italian thoroughbred - a vehicle which possesses flash and dash in equal measure, with beauty, rarity and timeless appeal.