Many believe the Ghibli is the greatest of all road-going Maseratis. It was the sensation of the 1966 Turin Show, and over 30 years later is widely regarded as Maserati’s ultimate front-engined road car a supercar blend of luxury, performance, and stunning good looks that never again quite came together so sublimely on anything with the three-pointed trident.
Pitched squarely against the Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini Miura it outsold both. Its engineering may have been dated, but it had the perfect pedigree, with plenty of power from its throaty V8 engine and a flawless Ghia design.
It is an uncompromised supercar, yet it is also a consummate continent-eating grand tourer with 24 karat cachet. Muscular and perhaps even menacing, but not overbearingly macho, it is well mannered enough for the tastes of the mature super-rich. There will only be one dilemma; do you take the windy back roads or blast along the highways? Why not a little of both.
The Ghibli’s dramatic styling is uncompromised, a sublime and extravagant 15 ft (4.57 m) of attitude that can only accommodate two people. From its bladelike front to its short, bobbed tail, it looks fast even in static pose. It has also aged all the better for its lack of finicky detail; the Ghibli’s detail is simple and clean, worn modestly like fine, expensive jewelry.
The Ghibli’s wheelbase measured 100 in (255 cm).
The windshield was huge, but the mighty hood could make the Ghibli difficult to maneuver.
The Ghibli was a gas guzzler, but when was there an economical supercar?
Vented Girling discs with vacuum assist were on all four wheels.
The most prized of all Ghiblis are the 125 convertible Spiders—out of a total Ghibli production figure of 1,274, only just over 100 were Spiders.
The mile (1.61 km) could be reached in just 15.1 seconds.
Four greedy twin-choke Weber carbs sat astride the V8.
A cliché certainly, but here you really feel you are on an aircraft flight deck. The high center console houses air-conditioning, which was standard Ghibli equipment. The steering wheel is adjustable and power steering was a later, desirable optional extra.
UNDER THE HOOD
The potent race-bred quad-cam V8 is even-tempered and undemanding, delivering loads of low-down torque and accelerating meaningfully from as little as 500 rpm in fifth gear. This 1971 Ghibli SS has the 4.9-liter unit.
Masers are instantly recognizable by the three-pointed trident.
Wide front had a tendency to lift above 120 mph (193 km/h).
At 47 in (118 cm), the Ghibli was a low sports coupe in the truest sense.
Bodywork by Ghia was one of the finest early designs of their brilliant young Italian employee, Giorgetto Giugiaro. He was later to enhance his reputation with many other beautiful creations.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Like the earlier Mistral and the Bora, the Ghibli took its name from a regional wind. The Merak, which was introduced in 1972, was named after the smaller star of the constellation of the Plow. Other Maserati names were more race-inspired, including Indy, Sebring, and Mexico.
Pop-up headlights might have improved looks when not needed, but they took their time to pop up. The Ghibli cost nearly $22,000 new in 1971, but buyers could be assured that they were getting a real supercar.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Maserati Ghibli (1967–73)
BODY STYLES Two-door sports coupe or open Spider.
CONSTRUCTION Steel body and separate tubular chassis.
ENGINES Four-cam 90-degree V8, 4719cc or 4930cc (SS).
POWER OUTPUT 330 bhp at 5000 rpm (4719cc); 335 bhp at 5500 rpm (4930cc).
TRANSMISSION ZF five-speed manual or three-speed Borg-Warner auto.
SUSPENSION Wishbones and coil-springs at front; rigid axle with radius arms/semielliptic leaf springs at rear.
BRAKES Girling discs on all four wheels.
MAXIMUM SPEED 154 mph (248 km/h), 168 mph (270 km/h, SS)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 6.6 sec, 6.2 sec (SS)
0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 15.7 sec
A.F.C. 10 mpg (3.5 km/l)