1963 Maserati 5000 GT by Frua

The Maserati 5000GT, a car fit for royalty, originated from a direct request by the Shah of Iran, seeking a potent and exclusive GT vehicle based on the four-cam V-8 engine of the 450S sports racer. Promised within four months, the initial model was to be crafted by Touring of Milan, with Maserati engineer Giulio Alfieri guaranteeing a top speed of 280 kph (174 mph).

The 4.5-liter V-8 was enlarged to 4,935cc and detuned for improved tractability and reliability, addressing concerns raised by the Shah regarding plug fouling issues. Initially carbureted, later versions saw the introduction of Lucas mechanical injection.

Coupled with a ZF four-speed manual transmission, the engine was integrated into the chassis derived from the six-cylinder 3500GT, featuring independent front suspension and a live rear axle. Evolving from front disc brakes and rear drums to disc brakes all around in the series II variants, the Maserati 5000GT showcased a blend of performance and luxury.

With the Shah’s financial support, Maserati embarked on limited production and further refinement, collaborating with various coachbuilders such as Monterosa, Bertone, Pinin Farina, Ghia, Frua, Michelotti, and Allemano, while a single open car was reputedly crafted by Vignale.

Photos by Tim Scott courtesy of RM Sotheby’s