International Trophy Sale 2013

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1968 Maserati Ghibli - Barn Find

Lot No.: 311

Registration: TRP 118F
Chassis Number: AM115856
Engine Number: AM1158586
Number of cylinders: 8
CC: 4.7
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Sold for (£): 31,625

Any "Old Car In The Barn" discovery really is the stuff of dreams for any classic car enthusiast, particularly in this case those who love classic Maseratis. Even acknowledging the subjectivity of the question has there ever been a car more beautiful than the Maserati Ghibli ? If there was only very few peers come to mind. There is certainly no disputing its tremendous impact. By any standard the Ghibli was the most memorable Maserati of its time. More than four decades after its late-1966 debut, there are those who say it still is and, as road tests at the time proved, it was also a real stormer. But for many, it was enough to simply gaze upon this beast in admiration. It had been conceived in 1965-66 by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was then chief designer at Ghia. So it was no wonder that the world motoring press had sat up and taken real notice of this remarkably gifted young Italian.

The Ghibli shared its basic chassis and running gear with the Quattroporte saloon and Mexico coupe. The wheelbase however was reduced by 3.5 inches from the Mexico's, since the Ghibli was strictly designed as a two-seater GT.

The Maserati Ghibli had the same tubular chassis, stiffened by pressings, foldings, and fabrications, and it had to make do with a simple live rear axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs. Like the Maserati Mexico it had disc brakes all-round. If none of this seemed very exciting, particularly next to its obvious competitors like the Ferrari 275 GTB and Lamborghini 400 GT, nobody seemed to mind, and it didn't hurt the car's performance or reliability one bit.

The Maserati Ghibli complemented its good looks with a powerhouse of an engine; a 330 hp V8 that was Maserati's strongest at the time.

The styling, of course, turned heads everywhere, long, low, and wide, the Ghibli crouched on the road like no previous Maserati. This was no illusion because the overall height was only 46 inches, as a result the interior headroom was rather limited. Also with an overall length of 180 inches it was one

the longest European two-seaters ever built. Even so the long-hood/short-deck proportions were flawless.

The Maserati Ghibli's neat, low, hidden-headlamp nose with its wide bifurcated grille would show up again on the Giugiaro designed Bora and Merak, both of which were mid-engine Maseratis of the Seventies. Some say the Aston Martin DBS of 1967 borrowed some Ghibli details (check the side-window shape and see if you agree), but surely no one except Giugiaro could have produced such an artful yet aggressive looking car. It was long on personality if maybe a little short on practicality. Lines flow seamlessly from nose to tail, the proportions are perfect and the result is a grand tourer of classical beauty. Even the bonnet line has been kept remarkably low and sleek, with the smallest of clearance bulges, the whole thing is a masterclass in car styling.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. The Maserati Ghibli's demise came in 1973 with the introduction of its direct successor, the Khamsin. Though more technically advanced, it wasn't nearly as inspiring to look at. The result is that the 1,274 Maserati Ghiblis built still aren't enough to go around.

TRP118F has been locked away for nearly 14 years in dry secure storage since the expiry of the tax disc in the windscreen back in 1999. Despite requiring a complete restoration this Ghibli represents a unique opportunity to own what many people consider to be one of the most beautiful Maseratis ever built.