Courtesy of Bonhams
The Ghibli was Maserati’s first supercar. Launched in 1966 and named after a hot wind blowing across the Sahara Desert, the Ghibli was styled by the young Giorgetto Giugiaro, then working at Ghia. The mechanical design was the work of Maserati’s chief engineer, Giulio Alfieri. This example, a 4.9-liter SS version, was delivered new in Rome in April 1971, having been ordered by a Mrs. Pasquini through Maserati’s flagship dealership, Autosport in Bologna. Mrs. Pasquini specified a particularly lurid shade of metallic green “Verde Gemma” with a white Connolly hide interior. Later in its life the car found its way to Germany, but its most interesting history has been with the immediately preceding owner, who was president of the U.K. Maserati Club; Alexander Fyshe bought the car in 1989 to add to his collection. Having always wanted a Ghibli, Alex immediately knew that this matching-numbers example was a long-term car, and he commissioned a restoration with marque specialists McGrath Maserati. Appreciating the need for the highest quality and attention to detail, Prestige Restorations was chosen as the bodywork partner, and the car spent the next four years in restoration. Alex specified his personal choice of Rosso Cordoba exterior paint and a new Connolly leather interior in Crema. On completion, the Ghibli debuted in 1993 at the Silverstone Festival, where it won the Maserati Club Annual Concours. This would be the first of many concours trophies the car would win, as it was widely acknowledged as one of the very best. The Ghibli would also feature in various magazines and books, including Maserati Heritage by Sparrow/Ayre and Quentin Willson’s Cool Cars. Each year, Alexander took the car on the Maserati International Rally, visiting Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and, of course, Italy, on numerous occasions over the course of the next 20 years, proving that it always drove as well as it looked. The quality of the restoration was such that even today the car still looks magnificent and has the reputation of “the one to beat.” Maintained throughout by Bill McGrath, its last public appearance while in Alexander Fyshe’s ownership was at the Maserati gathering for the Centenary at Silverstone in 2014. The current vendor has continued to maintain it in exemplary fashion. Indeed, on a recent test-drive, the Ghibli performed impeccably. Accompanying documentation consists of the restoration invoices, a U.K. V5C registration document and comprehensive Maserati Classiche Documentation. At half the price of a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, its direct competitor, the Ghibli 4.9SS is one of the more interesting Grand Tourers of the 1970s. Rarely does a Maserati of this quality, provenance and reputation come to the market.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1971 Maserati Ghibli SS 4.9 by Ghia
Years Produced:1967–70
Number Produced:1,149 (including SS cars)
Original List Price:$19,000
SCM Valuation:$286,000
Tune Up Cost:$3,500
Chassis Number Location:Engine compartment on side rail
Engine Number Location:Stamped on side of block
Club Info:Maserati Club International
Alternatives:1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, 1970 Iso Grifo, 1969 Lamborghini Islero S, 1970 Aston Martin DBS
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 122, sold for $314,262 (€263,333 €1=$1.19), including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams Les Grandes Marques à Monaco auction on May 11, 2018.

One would be hard pressed to find any reasonable person who disagrees with the opinion that the Maserati Ghibli is one of the most beautiful cars ever built. It represents perhaps the high point of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s early career — and it is the entry to his most successful creative and commercial work. For me, its design is the perfect expression of what the car itself offers: smooth, effortless, elegant performance.

The Ghibli possesses everything you would want in a collector car: great looks, excellent road manners and comfort. It’s rare enough to be a treat to encounter, but it is still supported enough to be able to use on a regular basis without worry of having to create replacement parts. They are welcome on concours lawns and are a terrific way to spend a week behind the wheel on a rally.

A valuable investment

As it happens, Ghiblis are a pretty good long-term investment, which is not at all odd considering their combination of attributes. What generally makes a car memorable and desirable is what makes it valuable. Our subject car made its concours debut back in 1993, and it has been well driven and well maintained since. It remains extremely attractive, with a body that appears straight and true, showing smooth and clear reflections from one panel to the next. The gaps are generally tight and even, although the hood showed slight misalignment. The paint is very shiny, but it shows more than 20 years of light polish-swirl scratches and some small areas of sinkage.

The seats show a nicely broken-in and gently used patina, although the dash top seems to have been more recently refreshed. As it lacks any fading from the sun, it appears a bit startling in comparison to the rest of the lovely soft cream interior. It is still fitted with its original Maserati-branded Autovox cassette radio, which is perfection for a period-radio geek like myself.

Under the hood, evidence of the miles the Ghibli has covered could be seen, but it still presented well. The Maserati Classiche dossier with the car confirms the color scheme change from the original Jewel Green over white leather to the present Rosso Cordoba over cream.

The catalog-copy dismissal of the original color scheme as “particularly lurid” is more a statement of British taste than of the appropriateness of the color to the car and the period.

Tripling in value since 2010

Our subject Ghibli is a good example with very good provenance. It is a car to be sought after in the market. In the December 2010 issue of SCM (Etceterini Profile, p. 42), I wrote a profile on a 1970 Ghibli 4.7 coupe that was sold at Worldwide’s Auburn, IN, sale in September. In that piece I observed that the $53,900 realized for that example was well done for the seller, especially in what didn’t seem to be a prime market outlet for a European GT. It was still on the low end of values at the time, with the top cars bringing $80,000 or so.

Times seem to have certainly changed. But have they really changed that much? The Ghibli coupe has tripled in value since 2010 — across all levels of condition. Now the best Ghiblis can regularly bring $300,000.

It’s long been popular to compare the Ghibli with the Ferrari Daytona, even though this comparison is not really apropos, as their fundamental driving characters are so diverse. But for now, we’ll stick with it. Back in 2010, the best Daytona might have brought $400,000, while today that car has “only” doubled in price to $800k.

The highest price for a Ghibli coupe in the SCM Platinum Auction Database is $398,936 for a 1969 4.7 that Artcurial sold in Paris in June 2015, for €351,640 when the euro was at $1.13. At today’s exchange rate, that sale would have been over $400k.

Today, I feel certain that a freshly restored Ghibli in original colors done to the most correct standard could easily bring $450,000 or more. For me, this sale was an interesting sale of a good — but not top — example at current market. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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