The styling of the Daytona, while certainly attractive, has not achieved the timeless elegance of the Ghibli

A strong contender for the “Most Handsome Car of the 1960s” title, Maserati’s Ghibli debuted at the Turin Motor Show in November of 1966. Styled at Ghia by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Ghibli rivaled the Ferrari Daytona for straight-line performance, while beating it for price and, arguably, looks.

More than 15 feet long and nearly six feet wide, the Ghibli occupied an inordinate amount of space for a mere two-seater, but perhaps the most startling aspect of its appearance was the height, or rather the lack of height. The Ghibli used a tubular steel chassis with live rear axle, leaf springs, and a single locating arm, while the power unit was Maserati’s race-proven, four-cam 90-degree V8. This was used in dry-sump, 4.7-liter form up to 1970, when it was superseded by the 4.9-liter version in order to meet ever more stringent emission laws. The gain in horsepower was minimal, but in either case, performance was stunning, with triple-digit speed attainable in under 16 seconds.

Maserati Ghiblis show up less frequently than many other sports cars of the era, but that’s because there aren’t many of them, with only 1,149 coupes built from 1967 through 1973. The Ghibli with its 4-cam V8 engine, quartet of downdraft Weber carburetors, superb suspension, powerful brakes, and sublime Giugiaro-designed coachwork is one of the greatest Italian GTs.

This 1970 Maserati Ghibli has the earlier 4.7-liter V8 power and air conditioning. It appears to have seen consistent use and maintenance its whole life, and as such, has never required full restoration. Instead it was treated some time ago to a high-quality respray in red, while also receiving new parchment leather upholstery. Since then it has been sympathetically maintained as evidenced by its wonderful presentation today. One of the most beautiful GTs ever conceived, its bodywork is a masterpiece of style, balance, design, and aerodynamic efficiency. The design and generous interior room benefits from the proportions that the compact V8 engine permitted. Light, crisp, unadorned, and simple, it is a prime example of form and function merging to achieve true design excellence. The 4-cam Maserati V8 gives it 170 mph performance to match. This very presentable Ghibli needs nothing for its owner to appreciate both its visual appeal and exceptional sporting performance.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1970 Maserati Ghibli Coupe
Years Produced:1967-70
Number Produced:1,149
Original List Price:$19,000
SCM Valuation:$55,000-$100,000
Tune Up Cost:$1,750
Chassis Number Location:Engine compartment on side rail
Engine Number Location:Stamped on side of block
Club Info:Maserati Club International, P.O. Box 1015, Mercer Island, WA 98040
Alternatives:1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, 1970 Iso Grifo, 1969 Lamborghini Islero S

This car, Lot 7, sold for $53,900, including premium, at the Worldwide Group Auburn, IN sale on Friday, September 3, 2010.

The August 2010 issue of Classic & Sports Car magazine featured a comparison test of the Maserati Ghibli and the Ferrari Daytona. After a fair amount of hand-wringing—no doubt anticipating a flood of angry email and letters—the writer chose the Maserati as the “winner.” A large measure of its victory came in the value component. Is a Daytona driving experience ten times as good as a Ghibli? If not, what then justifies spending ten times the cash?

Ultimately, I think that today such comparisons are specious.

While the two were certainly competitors in the $20k Italian sports car market when new, the needs of their buyers and the way they’re used have since diverged to a large degree. With the notable exception of a good friend of mine, I think very few people go out shopping today with $300k in their pocket and agonize over whether the 0-60 mph times of the Daytona or Ghibli are better.

The cars have diverse personalities. While you can certainly hustle a Ghibli along quite aggressively, it is also great for wafting along. While I suppose you can loaf about in a Daytona, the car won’t be happy; it prefers levels of testosterone equal to the octane of the fuel.

As such, for modern-day use, the Ghibli is a superb vintage rally car—one that can be pushed when necessary and lounge effortlessly when it isn’t. With the benefit of time, the styling of the Daytona, while certainly attractive, has not achieved the timeless elegance and matchless style of the Ghibli, which is widely considered the pinnacle of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s designs. Such as dynamic and capable work of visual art has seldom been created.

No soaring prices yet

For years, we prognosticators, including that good friend of mine, Publisher Martin, have been watching the market for GT cars with the meteoric rise in Aston Martin prices and the recovering levels of 1960s Ferraris. From that, we all have decided that the time for Maserati was just around the next ess curve, as everyone would wake up and realize how undervalued these fabulous cars are—and prices would soar.

Well, that hasn’t happened yet. While the 125 rare Ghibli Spyders have indeed found a correct market level in the mid-$300k range, Ghibli coupes have gently drifted in an upward fashion for the last five years, with a good example going from the mid-$30k range then to the mid-$50k range today. A differential has opened between the 4.7-liter and the 4.9-liter SS models, which is based more on perception than any real performance advantage. The published horsepower figures vary, but none are enough to make anyone who is realistic about it care.

Given the value range of a “good” Ghibli, what about this one?

I contacted a number of people who were at this auction, including SCM’s B. Mitchell Carlson. They all found it to be “just a car” that seemed to have reaped the benefits of a rapid refurbishment. B. Mitchell further commented that it was “…sold well, and proves that global market sports cars are still doing well.”

I would agree and also add this: In determining value as an appraiser, it’s important for me to identify the best market to sell a car. By all measures, few would choose Auburn, IN as a prime spot to sell Italian GTs. In addition, this was not a prime example of the model and Worldwide’s sale was not their strongest. Given those circumstances, the seller did quite well indeed.

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