The Story Of The Maserati Ghibli

Too heavy, too thirsty

large image of Maserati Ghibli

Giorgetto GiugiaroIs is one very accomplished designer. Named designer of the century in 1999 he has not been content to design just supercars but a huge organ cathedral, a seaside promenade and even office furniture have benefited from his skills. In 1967 the first car he designed for Maserati was the Ghibli and a beautiful vehicle it was. However it was not perfect.

Named, as so often with Maserati, after a wind (in this case a very hot and dry one) this grand tourer was a stylish car with performance aplenty. The 4691 cc V8 engine may have been based upon an old 1950s design but nevertheless it put out 330 brake horse power, which was a massive amount for the 1960s. It could hit 155 mph with a nought to 60 time of 6.8 seconds; and many Italians used this performance to the full, at a time of fast autostradas but poorly enforced speed limits.

To give an idea of the potential performance of this car, one that was entered in the Le Mans 24-hour race achieved a speed down the famous Mulsanne straight of 191 mph; it failed to finish the race however.

The problem was: the engine design was not only an old one, but it was a heavy one too. Based on a racing engine design it needed a good solid chassis to carry it, and this added to the weight, which totalled a huge 1770kg. As a result this was one very thirsty car, and needed not one but two petrol tanks to give it a decent range. Economy however is not necessarily the most important factor amongst the type of wealthy people who bought Maseratis; these included our British comedian Peter Sellers and American singer Sammy Davis Jr. It was rumoured that Henry Ford 11 was interested in buying Maserati at this time; but whether it was because of the excellence of their products or the fact that he may have been able to get it at a very cheap price, in view of their financial difficulties, has not been recorded. Would anyone have wanted to buy a Ford Ghibli though?

The Ghibli was manufactured between 1967 and 1973, during which time 1,170 coup├ęs and 125 Spyders were built.