A French banker named Edward de Cazalet special-ordered this Maserati Ghibli SS, and in the early 1970s, the Ghibli was just the sort of car sporting bankers aspired to own. Sexy but solid in a vaultlike way, it made a stylish statement outside banking hours.
With the Ghibli, Giorgetto Giugiaro sharpened the lines he drew for the Iso Grifo in 1963, foreshadowing wedgelike GTs from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Monteverdi. The car debuted at the 1966 Turin show. Its steel Ghia-built body rested on a tubular chassis adapted from Maserati's 3500 GT and Mexico. Enclosing a rich leather interior, the sleek Giugiaro design so impressed showgoers that Maserati put it into production the next year.
The Ghibli--named for a North African wind--was envisioned as a replacement for the Mistral. Key to its mission as Maserati's new grand-touring car was outperforming its predecessor. The company ensured this by fitting the Ghibli with a quad-cam V8 based on the unit that powered its late-1950s Tipo 450S sports racer. Equipped with a dry sump and four large Weber carbs, the 4,710-cc engine produced 330 hp. That gave the 3,500-plus-pound Ghibli a six-second 0-to-60-mph time and a top speed of 168 mph.
The dry sump lowered the engine's center of gravity in a body and chassis that were already right down on the pavement (the roofline was 46 inches high). A double-wishbone, coil-spring front suspension combined with a live-axle, leaf-spring rear and Girling discs at each corner. The result was competent handling, with the "longer, lower, wider" profile that gripped '60s designers. In 1970, Maserati refreshed the line (which included a spyder version) with the introduction of the Ghibli SS. Stroked to 4.9 liters, the SS gained 5 hp. A new dash and wheels, wider tires and a few minor exterior changes were among the improvements.
A picture of a car
When de Cazalet joined the World Bank in Washington, D.C., the Ghibli and his Bizzarrini came along. But a return to France (and a divorce) sundered the two. The Euro-spec Maserati remained in the D.C. area, which is where Hershey, Pa., collector Joe Corbaccio found it.
The Ghibli's interior is '60s chic, with tan pigskin buckets and a black cheesecloth dash. The usual cues are there, such as a row of Veglia Borletti gauges arrayed at the center of the dash above a row of rocker switches. A substantial Maserati-logo horn button dominates the wood-rim steering wheel through which the tach indicates 2,600 rpm at 80 mph.
The Ghibli SS drives with a certain heft, right down to the way the ZF five-speed shifts. The lack of optional power steering on this example reinforces the feeling. Still, you can hustle it.
"The Daytona was Ferrari's answer to it," Corbaccio opines. The Ferrari "was more of an animal, but this thing's no slouch."
DOLLARS & SENSE
ORIGINAL LIST PRICE: $19,275
CURRENT MARKET VALUE: $60,000-$105,000*
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