A Maserati 3500 GT by Ghia that has languished in Saudi Arabia for nearly 50 years marked in Arabic paint on its door for scrap has been rescued and will be offered for sale at the forthcoming RM Sotheby’s Monterey Sale (Est: $500,000 – $700,000)
One of only 34 5000 GTs built, and the only example bodied by Ghia, the exclusive and intriguing Maserati was the brainchild and desire of a certain Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, who fell in love with the 3500 GT then approached the Italian manufactures Maserati to build him such a road car that boasted the powerful 5.0 V8 that was developed for the mighty 450S sports racing car.
Keen to be associated with affluent clients Maserati set about the task with renowned engineer Giulio Alfieri reinforcing a 3500 GT chassis and dropping in one of the unused 450S motors.
Rebranded as the 5000 GT and unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in November 1959, the stylish Maserati was well ahead of its time and rivals prompting another two cars being built to a similar configuration. Softened and given some fine adjustments the now ‘town’ suited luxurious car was now of 34 in total.
Elite ownership was said to include Gianni Agnelli, Briggs Cunningham, and the Aga Khan, among other influential buyers. At almost double the price of its brotherly 3500 GT and bodied by no less than eight different coachbuilders to varying designs, this Italian stallion could match those being produced at a certain factory in Maranello.
Proudly displayed on their stand in Turin, 018 was one of the stars of the Auto Show in 1961. Dressed in the original colour combination of silver over black, the car was both opulent and desirable.
Before delivery to Innocenti, Maserati loaned the car to Sports Car Graphic editor Bernard Cahier for a high-speed road test featured in their January 1962 issue.
Sports Car Graphic editor Bernard Cahier tested the car and said:
“We found ourselves glued to our seats by the tremendous acceleration such as is found only in racing cars…I have driven many fast cars before, but never did I feel such power coming on so fast, so fast indeed that when I shifted from 3rd into top gear on the first little straight, I found that the car was already doing 135 mph!”
Rm Sotheby’s report that after being sold by Innocenti the car eventually found its way to Saudi Arabia where Saudi Arabian car enthusiast, Rubayan Alrubayan, acquired the Maserati in the 1970s and, unaware of its significance, parked the car, where it sat unmoved for decades. After Alrubayan’s death several years ago, his heirs decided to bring the car inside to prevent further decay and are now offering it for sale.
This one-off coachbuilt example of Maserati’s ultimate road car is an expensive and worthwhile restoration project for anyone wishing to resurrect something that craves attention and future concours celebration.
More information and details on this remarkable car can be found here.
### UPDATE ### This vehicle sold for Sold For $533,000.