1971 Maserati Ghibli SS 4.9-Litre Spyder Conversion Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia Registration no. EKH 647J Chassis no. AM115/49 2052
A strong contender for the 'most handsome car of the 1960s' title, Maserati's sensational Ghibli debuted at the Turin Motor Show in November 1966. Styled at Carrozzeria Ghia by Giorgetto Giugiaro and named after a Sahara Desert wind, the Ghibli rivalled the Ferrari Daytona for straight-line performance - its top speed was close to 170mph (275km/h) - while beating it for price and - arguably - looks. More than 7 metres long and 2.8 metres wide, the Ghibli occupied an inordinate amount of space for a mere two-seater, but perhaps the most startling aspect of its appearance was the height, or rather the lack of it. Dry-sump lubrication enabled the engine to be mounted deep in the chassis, permitting a low bonnet line, while limited suspension travel ensured that the tyres did not foul the wheelarches. The roofline fell away from the top of the steeply raked windscreen to the chopped-off tail, Giugario thus achieving a cabin lower than that of almost all the Ghibli's contemporaries.
The Ghibli used a tubular steel chassis featuring independent suspension at the front, while at the rear there was a leaf-sprung, live rear axle with single locating arm. The power unit was Maserati's venerable four-cam, 90-degree V8, an engine derived from that of the 450S sports-racer and first seen in road-going guise in the 5000GT. This was used in dry-sump, 4.7-litre form up to 1970 when it was superseded by the 4.9-litre 'SS' version. Power rose to 355bhp and performance was stunning, with 100mph (160km/h) attainable in under 16 seconds.
Even more sensational was the handsome Ghibli Spyder, launched in 1969 and the direct rival of the Ferrari Daytona Spyder. Giugiaro's styling for an open-top Ghibli was arguably more successful than the original coupé and is regarded as a classic of sports car design.
Ghibli production ended in 1973 after 1,149 coupés and only 125 Spyders has been built. Of the latter, probably no more than 40 had the larger SS engine, and as most of these were destined for the USA it is safe to assume that only 20-or-so Spyders left the factory with both the larger engine and ZF five-speed manual gearbox. The car offered here embodies this ultimate and most desirable specification.
Originally a genuine Ghibli 4.9-litre SS Coupé, chassis number '2052' has been converted to Spyder configuration, it is believed during the 1970s. Finished in red with black leather interior, the car rolls on Borrani wire heels and is reported to have been the subject of extensive body and mechanical restoration during the last few years (bills on file). We are advised that the car's numbers match the factory data sheet. It also comes with a V5C document and is currently MoT'd.