Why, with all its aesthetic beauty, adequate performance, and driveability, does the Ghibli continue to sell for just a quarter the price of a Ferrari Daytona?


Giorgio Giugiaro penned the striking lines for Maserati's Ghibli, which debuted at the Turin Auto Show in 1966. Sporting a quad-cam V8 making 335 hp, the car was well received by the press and the public, and in retrospect, was the high-water mark for Maserati. For the collector, the Ghibli is a highly affordable, useable and attractive example of Italy's best work in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Ghibli 4.7 Coupe on offer here is a beautiful example that is understood to be in concours condition throughout. The vendor reports that the car has been meticulously cared for over the last 14 years and has been garage kept, regularly serviced, and in the same ownership since the late 1980s. The paintwork is in near-concours condition, as is the interior, engine and engine bay. Mechanically, this Ghibli is reported to run and drive as expected. This is truly one of the most useable, affordable and sexy Italian supercars of the period, and there are few cars that compare.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1967 Maserati Ghibli 4.7
Years Produced:1967-1973
Number Produced:1,149
Original List Price:$21,720 in 1972
SCM Valuation:$30,000-$35,000
Tune Up Cost:$1,500
Distributor Caps:$25
Chassis Number Location:On upper control arm frame
Engine Number Location:Top back of engine near bellhousing
Club Info:The Maserati Club, P.O. Box 5300, Somerset, NJ 088875-5300
Alternatives:1968-1973 Ferrari Daytona, 1970-1972 Aston Martin DBSV8, 1968-1978 Lamborghini Espada
Investment Grade:B

This 1967 Maserati Ghibli Coupe sold for $37,400, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s Amelia Island auction, held March 13, 2004.

Giugiaro was a young, bold designer at Ghia when he conceived what some have called the most beautiful car of the post-war era. Built on a conventional chassis with front-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive, the Ghibli has great proportions. It’s only 46 inches high, making headroom scarce, but the interior is spacious. (Maser enthusiasts are quick to point out that all 7-feet, 1-inch of NBA star and Ghibli owner Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain could be accommodated.) Rather than space-robbing independent rear suspension, a solid rear axle means the trunk has adequate cargo room, and it is accessible from both inside and out, giving the Ghibli high utility as a grand tourer.

Its DOHC V8, fitted with four downdraft Webers, evolved from the formidable Tipo 450S sports racing engine of the mid-’50s. Four chain-driven overhead cams obviate the maintenance anxiety of later belt-driven cams and their need for frequent changing. Heavy at over 3,900 pounds due to its steel body, the Ghibli still has respectable performance where it counts with most Americans: 0-60 mph is in the mid-six second range, with the quarter-mile coming in 16 seconds at just over 100 mph. That’s what 350-plus ft-lbs of torque from 5 liters of displacement will do for you.

The Ghibli Coupe’s contemporary rival was Ferrari’s Daytona. The cars are similarly sized, list prices were comparable, and they were ostensibly built for the same purpose: high-speed, long-distance touring. Production of both models was nearly equal, with 1,149 Ghibli coupes built from 1967 to 1973, versus 1,273 Daytona Berlinettas from 1968 to 1973. While the Daytona has a little better performance, the Ghibli is more comfortable and more drivable for long trips.

So why, with all its aesthetic beauty, adequate performance, and driveability, does the Ghibli continue to sell for just a quarter the price of the Daytona? Maser devotees have downed much Chianti while pondering this question, but it’s really not so hard to explain:

1. The Daytona is more exotic. It has four more cylinders and two more Webers, independent suspension instead of a live rear axle, and a rear-mounted five-speed transaxle with gated shifter rather than the Ghibli’s front-mounted ZF five-speed.

2. The visceral aura of the Ferrari is superior. Both cars are really too big and heavy to be considered sports cars, but the sound of the Ferrari V12 is overwhelming, especially between 5,000-8,000 rpm. The Ghibli’s V8 is in the red at 5,500, and without a racing-type flat-plane crank, its sound is too similar to an American V8 to make many spines tingle.

3. The Ferrari offers a more complete and uncomplicated (though not less expensive) ownership experience. The support of the Ferrari clubs, the many track events, the good parts availability, and the knowledgeable mechanics all add up to favor the Daytona.

4. Finally, Maserati’s great racing heritage was ancient history by the era of the Ghibli, while Ferrari was contesting Le Mans and other great “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” events.

The Ghibli Coupe pictured here seemed to be a well cared for, but unrestored example. The rear bumper was wavy and the re-chrome was poorly done, but there were no other indications of a serious rear-end incident. Paint was excellent, panel fit was good, and interior was original and showing some light wear. Its sale price was entirely appropriate, provided the mechanicals are in similar good order, so we’ll call it “well bought.” And given some recent developments in the market, the new owner could be in good shape when it comes time to sell.

Consider this: We saw a 1971 Ghibli 4.7 coupe (S/N 115 2392) sell for $71,628 on February 14 at Christie’s Retromobile auction in Paris. This car was said to be in near-perfect shape, and while its price looks to be almost double that of the Amelia Island car, you do have to take into account the Euro/dollar exchange rate before you go hanging a “for sale” sign in your Ghibli’s rear window.

A year ago, the Paris car would have sold for $61,112. A year before that, at the 2002 Retromobile sale, it would have been $49,103. So the value of the car, to a European, simply hasn’t changed as much as it seems. Although $49k is still a lot for a Ghibli, it’s not unreasonable for a #1 condition car. I’d call it a perfectly normal price for a thoughtfully restored, low-mileage Ghibli with power steering and Borranis, reflective of an upturn in the market-just not quite as large a bump as at first glance.

The Maserati brand has been under Ferrari’s wing for a few years now, and as Ferrari events have opened up to Masers, Maserati prices across the board are showing upward movement after years of stagnation. Don’t expect Ghiblis to catch up to Daytonas anytime soon, but for those in the Maser camp, your ship has been sighted and may be soon coming into port.-John Apen

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