The remarkable thing about this car is that for many years it was used by its owner to commute from San Francisco to the campus of Stanford University, where the owner was professor of neurosurgery. It is rare that a car such as this is driven on such a regular basis. It has been both used with care, never having had an accident, and been maintained in top-class condition. Regular servicing has been carried out by Maserati Agy in San Francisco and the engine was rebuilt by Pacific Motors.

There was a period in the 1980s when it could not be used since it did not meet smog regulations. That has been fixed by using different carburetor jets and the original jets come with the car. For some of that period of inactivity it was on display in the Museum of Modem Art, and that was a very appropriate place for it be if it had to be denied access to the open road. The Ghibli is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cars ever made and was the work of Giorgio Giugiaro when he was head of styling at Ghia.

Maserati made only 125 Ghibli Spyders and it is one of those rare cars that are equally stunning as a coupe or a Spyder. This has the 4.9-liter version of Maserati's classic quad-cam V8 which produces 335 bhp and a staggering 354 lb./ft. torque at 4000 rpm. Top speed is in excess of 150 mph and 0-60 mph is covered in a round eight seconds.

It is believed that this is one of only six Ghiblis made which has a factory hard top and the optional automatic transmission. Now finished in coffee livery and complemented by a beige interior, the amazing thing is that this car is also stunning when sporting the hard top. It is one of those rare occasions when a car with a hard top looks like it was designed with that in mind from the very beginning. You would expect nothing less from Giugario.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Maserati Ghibli SS
Years Produced:1969-1972
Number Produced:125
Original List Price:$20,900 (1969)
SCM Valuation:$90,000-$115,000
Tune Up Cost:$700
Distributor Caps:$150
Chassis Number Location:Stamped on chassis tag in engine compartment on inner-front wheelhouse
Engine Number Location:Stamped on front of block on boss near distributor, 4.7 engine S/N starts with AOS, 4.9 starts with AOSS
Club Info:Maserati Club International, P.O. Box 1015, Mercer Island, WA 98040
Alternatives:Corvette Stingray roadster, Porsche 911S Targa, Jaguar XKE convertible, Ferrari Daytona Spyder

This rare Maserati made $63,000 including commission at the Brooks USA Amelia Island Plantation, Florida, auction, March 10, 2000. First shown at the Turin Show in 1966, the Ghibli coupe was an immediate hit. It made Maserati, for the moment, truly competitive in style to Ferrari. The Spyder came along in 1969, every bit as pretty as the coupe.

Power is from a thunderous quad-cam V8 of 4.7 or 4.9 liters (SS version). The rear suspension is a live rear axle on semi-elliptic springs with anti-roll bars front and rear. Ride quality is both firm and harsh. The lack of aerodynamic aids means the nose generates lift at triple-digit speeds, this in spite of the significant weight of the machine of over 3,900 pounds.

Of the comparable cars noted in the data box, a Ghibli drives most like a period Corvette. The unassisted steering is heavy at low speeds, yet the power steering option may not be desired as it loses quite a bit of road feel. Testers reported 0-60 times of about eight seconds, not brutally fast by period standards. Strictly a two-seater, interior volume is of secondary importance to a dramatically low profile. Inside, you sit very close to the floor with a wide center console and a small steering wheel to leave some room for your thighs. The dash is full of instruments, unmarked warning lights and unknown switches. Headroom is limited unless, of course, the Spyder’s top is down.

Although this Spyder has an interesting background, the metallic brown color and the poor quality of the paint job are causes for concern. Further, the poor condition of this car overall means the new owner is going to face serious restoration costs if he attempts to make this a really nice machine. Of course, the automatic transmission will remain a drag on the value.

It was rumored that this was not an original Spyder but a cut-down coupe instead. However, decoding the serial number shows it to be as advertised: AM = A. Maserati S.p.A.; 115 = Ghibli; S = Spyder; 49 = 4.9 liter SS model; 1287 = the 87th car in the series. While at first glance this may seem to be modest money for a Ghibli Spyder, it was a market-correct price given how much work remains.

The Ghibli Spyder is a stunning car to look at and, judged by Ferrari Daytona Spyder prices, quite a bargain as well. But if you are looking for Ferrari-level performance, resale value or mystique, you’re not going to find it for $63,000.-Jim Schrager

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