For a company with as long a history as Maserati, it would normally be very difficult to pick one car that stands above the others as the very best. But for Maserati, most experts are pretty comfortable saying the best car to get a trident badge was the 5000 GT. This is obviously not to say that Maserati hasn’t built many exciting cars, just that the 5000 GT was that special. Not only that, but the era in which it was built could conceivably be thought of as Maserati’s golden era, one of the only times it wasn’t hurting for money or in need of outside ownership.

With the launch of the 3500 GT as a competitor to the Ferrari 250, Maserati was making a healthy profit for the first time in a while. The car had even attracted the attention of the Shah of Iran, an avid car collector. But the Shah wanted a special one, not just a run of the mill production model. So he requested that Maserati build him one with the engine out of the 450S race car and unique coachwork. Maserati agreed that this was a good idea, and even ended up building a short production run of them.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe.

  • 1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe
  • Year:
    1962
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    340
  • Displacement:
    5.0 L
  • Price:
    1500000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 663625
1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 663631
1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 663621

The first 5000 GT, the one built for the Shah, was made with coachwork by Touring, by specific request of the Shah himself. Touring then made a second “Shah of Persia” car that Maserati built to the same mechanical specs. After that, a total of seven different coachbuilders made bodies for the 5000 GT, and Maserati made some mechanical changes to the car as well.

A total of seven different coachbuilders made bodies for the 5000 GT, and Maserati made some mechanical changes to the car as well.

The bulk of the cars, the closest thing to a production body that the car could have been said to have, had coachwork made by Allemano and based off of a design by Giovanni Michelotti. The car you see here is one of those, and although there are some styling similarities between it and the original Touring cars, it is clearly a different take on the design. The undulating front end of the Shah of Persia cars was toned down, and both the front and rear fascias have a more conservative look to them.

And where the Shah of Persia cars had rear pillars that were little more than chrome strips, the Allemano cars had slightly thicker ones, although the Allemano rear windshields wrapped around a lot further.

Interior

1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe High Resolution Interior
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The interior of this car was refurbished at some point prior to it winning its class at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, but it is still in its original red color. The layout of the interior is similar to that of the 3500 GT, the identical gauge cluster being a big similarity, but the emphasis is clearly put more on luxury. It’s probably easiest to think of the 5000 GT as a direct competitor to the Ferrari Superamerica models, bigger, more powerful and also more comfortable than the mainstream models. Things like the armrests and door pockets in the 5000 GT were rare in European sports cars at the time, and are details that tell you that this car was special.

Drivetrain

1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe High Resolution Drivetrain
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The engine produced 340 horsepower, which was quite a lot for a car like this in 1962.

Like the bodies on the 5000 GT, the engines in the first two cars are slightly different from those in the rest of the small run. For the Shah’s car and the one the other Touring car, the engine was almost unchanged for the transplant from the 450S. In fact, for the Shah’s car, it was literally just an unused racing engine that was sitting around the factory.

For the rest of the cars, changes were made to the 5.0-liter V-8 to make it a bit easier to drive. Displacement was increased ever so slightly (still enough in the neighborhood of 5.0 liters that all of them are listed as the same displacement), and the carburetors were replaced with Lucas fuel injection. The engine produced 340 horsepower, which was quite a lot for a car like this in 1962. For instance, the Ferrari 250 GT/E produced 240 horsepower in the same year.

Prices

1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 663622

As you can imagine, a car specially built for royalty is not going to be a cheap thing. In fact, its price when new of $14,000 ($110,000 in today’s money) was double that of the 3500 GT that it was based on. And that is, of course, if you were lucky enough to be able to buy one. Only 34 units were built, and that includes the two prototype (for lack of a better term) Shah of Persia cars.

Of these, those first two are obviously the most valuable, followed by the various one-off coachbuilt versions from Pininfarina, Ghia and a few others. There are a few small runs of multiple cars, like the three built by Frua, and these are just under the one-offs. The least valuable, and that is a massively relative term in this context, are the 22 units built by Allemano. This is one of them, and to give you an idea of how valuable the lower end of the 5000 GT still is, RM Auctions is predicting that the car will go for between $1.5 million and $2 million.

Competition

Ferrari 400 Superamerica

1960 - 1964 Ferrari 400 Superamerica
- image 318953

Debuting the same year that the Shah got his 5000 GT was the Ferrari 400 Superamerica. Like the Maserati, this was based on an existing GT car, but with a completely new body and a much bigger and more powerful engine. It was made to be the ultimate expression of a Ferrari gran turismo, and it was a spectacular car. Only two different bodies were made for the car, and they’re slightly less rare than the 5000 GT, but still worth as much as twice as much.

Read our full review on the Ferrari 400 Superamerica here.

Iso Rivolta

1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 663654

If you wanted Italian style, power and a little bit more room than you’d find most of the Italian GT cars of the day, the Iso Rivolta was just the car for you. The Bertone-styled machine had a big Corvette-sourced V-8 under the hood that made the same amount of power as the 5000 GT, but could comfortably seat 5. It was conceived by Giotto Bizzarrini as a grand tourer in the original sense, a powerful and elegant car suited to long road trips.

Conclusion

1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 663618

Special editions for seriously wealthy clients are the sort of thing that still happens sometimes in the automotive industry. But rarely to these include a whole different engine and an entirely redesigned body the way it did with the 5000 GT. They also rarely end up leading to an entire limited production run, but the 5000 GT did. It was so much more than just a special paint color or a unique interior, it was a whole new model. That is a truly special edition.

  • Leave it
    • * Not one of the more valuable ones
    • * Hugely expensive compared to the 3500 GT
    • * A V-8 competing with V-12 cars

Source: RM Sothebys

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