1966 Maserati 5000 GT
The Maserati 5000 GT Coupe was built to fulfill an order dreamt up by the Shah of Persia, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He wanted a road-going GT car based on the Maserati 3500 GT but powered by the cutting edge 400+ bhp V8 engine from the Maserati 450S sports racing car. Just 34 of these cars would be built with the official name “Maserati 5000 GT”, however the cars are sometimes referred to as the “Shah of Persia” due to their provenance and his offering to fund the development and build costs. It was the Shah who personally hired Giulio Alfieri, Maserati’s chief engineer, to create a more road-oriented version of the 450S engine with a narrower bore and an increased stroke.
Carrozeria Touring of Milan, Italy was chosen at the behest of Orisi (son of Maserati owner Adolf Orisi) to clothe the first chassis. The coach builder was given instructions to make the car look distinct from the 3500 GT it was based on. Chief designer Carlo Anderloni used the Persian Baroque architecture as inspiration for the unique grille design and the interior design. The finished car was immediately shipped to the Shah of Iran with little to no exposure to the general public. A second car was built to be displayed at the 1959 Turin Motor show which was bought by South African millionaire and Kyalami track owner Basil Read. My version is a restyling of the first one as built by Touring of Milan in 1959 but as if there was one additional unit made at the end of the original 34 production run in late 1966.
My changes are the addition of ovalized style headlights in lieu of the original four round units. A revised grille structure with a wider air intake. Changed lofting of the front fenders/hood and removal of the “eyebrows” over the headlights. A shortened tail section and the rear wheel opening was dropped to give it more visual appeal to myself. The roof details are revised along with additional smaller details on the body. Wheels shown are modern Maserati as even the power of the original specification 1959 era engine (which made more horsepower and torque than the gran prix racecars of the era) easily overwhelms anything short of modern tires.