Chevy Powered 1971 Maserati Ghibli Project

Even with its teeth kicked in and one turn signal zip-tied, this GT promises elegance, exhilarating road manners, and a high-RPM soundtrack, all melded into a uniquely Italian driving experience. Thanks to Paul C. for spotting this Chevy-powered 1971 Maserati Ghibli located in Los Angeles, California and listed here on eBay with an asking price of $59,500.

The Maserati Ghibli’s beautiful design flowed from the pen of the incomparable Giorgetto Giugiaro, and this two-seat Gran Touring exotic enticed the caviar set from 1967 through 1973 (thanks to wikipedia for some details). This particular Ghibli suffers from a seller apparently knows and cares little about the car, or cars in general. It’s listed as “brown with black interior,” though the black door openings suggest an all-black color scheme (though that could be a respray). The listing includes no engine compartment pictures and says only that “it comes equipped with a Chevrolet motor, automatic transmission…” so presumably it’s powered by the venerable 350 cid SBC Small-Block-Chevrolet V8, but we don’t know. In the seller’s defense, even if the engine and transmission came from a 1981 Chevette it wouldn’t change this car’s value.

The dash appears fairly complete based on this photo from including the steering wheel, shifter aperture, and console. Complete restoration of other surfaces, wiring, and a host of unknown effort awaits the buyer.

Like its front, this Maserati’s rear shows evidence of being crunched and poorly repaired using a slide hammer and a five-gallon pail of body filler. Anyone with a shred of respect for Italy will throw those ridiculous side-pipes in the dumpster. By posting no structural or engine compartment images, the seller values what we see at $60,000, though frankly a listing with one picture and a sub-title of “visit the show room” would have worked. Unlike a small-block-powered Jaguar XJ6, this 1-of-1170 Ghibli coupe is more than a neat old car that can be kept on the road using a cheap American V8. Fully restored, these cars top $250,000. However, if you think $14,000 is big money for an LS7 crate motor, try finding the correct motor with all the accouterments for an Italian GT. Cars like these rarely accumulated more than 6000 miles per year, usually with a maintenance cost of about one dollar per mile. Pause a moment and set aside this car’s value. Consider the driving pleasure this Maserati was engineered to deliver, and imagine it shows up in your driveway just as you see it, except running and driving safely with the power of the worlds most popular V8 engine. Where do you drive first?



WANTED 1970-1976 Pontiac Trans Am Must be 4 spd. Like big block. I can fix motor or tranny. Needs to be somewhat sound other than that Contact

WANTED 1972 Yamaha G7S (80cc) These are now referred to as “cafe racers”, although we never heard of such a term in 1972. Contact

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  1. Luke Fitzgerald

    Oh boy

  2. 68custom

    as a dyed in the wool chevy lover it seems shameful that somehow this car ended up powered by one! someone will buy it and restore it to it’s former glory though.( I hope!) If I bought it the side pipes would be gone before it was towed away.

  3. Dolphin Member

    You have a 95% chance that a car like this is being offered by BHCC. Either that or Gullwing in Astora, NY. This one is from BHCC. No surprise there.

    These are now selling for a median auction price of $286K according to the SCM Guide, assuming excellent or perfect condition at one of the major high end auctions. If this an earlier year that originally came with a 4.7 Maserati DOHC V8, knock off almost $100K.

    The car needs everything, and it’s a real risk that you could end up underwater for a long time after buying the car, everything it needs, and then restoring it. And don’t forget to factor in the fact that this car likely has no history other than ending up as near-trash at BHCC, and that history and prior condition count for a LOT when it comes to the big money bids at the high end auctions. And there are a lot of collectors who don’t want to own what was once somebody’s automotive trash at any price.

    I just wonder whether the fancy aftermarket sidepipes come with this car, or cost extra.

  4. healeydays

    Looks like a Beverly Hills Car Club special. Oh it is…

    • Mike

      White wall and cracked cement floor. Yep, it’s BHCC.

  5. Adam T45 Staff

    Today was the first time that I’ve noticed how much the Porsche 924 looks like one of these from side-on. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I’m not so sure about that. If I were a Maserati owner I’d be insulted by the similarity.

    I am seriously torn by this car, and part of it is to do with the price. If it were cheaper then it could be built to whatever specs the new owner desired. At this price it really requires a full restoration. The sticking point would be that I suspect that the original engine and transmission are probably long gone (and are probably land-fill by now). In that case you would be participating in what is often referred to as a “unique ownership experience”. This is another way of saying that this car has the potential to empty your wallet/bank account/Fort Knox with no opportunity to recoup the money outlaid.

    • Walt Kulwicki

      Interesting comparison. I love both designs and immediately thought of how race cars have gone from rounded, smooth sided (early F1 & Indy) to sharp edges (80’s F1/Indy) and back (and forth). Great design is obviously “to taste”, always will be. Just my 2c (or less….) on your comparison. Happy New Year.

      • Adam T45 Staff

        I didn’t hesitate to give you a “thumbs up” there Walt. Your reply to my comment is the sort of reply that helps to make this site great. It was considered and considerate, and allowed for another person’s point of view. Happy New Year to you as well.

  6. Scot

    ~ Sad to see, and vastly overpriced for what can be seen.
    I loved these above all others when they were new. A supremely beautiful GT car.

  7. Jim

    Another piece of trash being pawned by the scam set of brokers at Beverly Hills Car Club, which oddly enough is not in Beverly Hills, nor a car club. When your name is a lie, the rest is easy to decipher.

    • Brakeservo

      I always refer to them as “Beverley Hills Hair Club” as any potential buyer risks a very expensive hair cut there! But then also based on personal experience, there’s a Phoenix based auction company that shall forever be referred to as “Rustle and Steal” by me and so many others that have consigned with them.

      Re: Dolphin – you say that prior history counts for a lot with high end buyers – well actually I think a lot of that “history” is conveniently composed and unverifiable anyway.

      • Dolphin Member

        Brakeservo, I understand that claimed “history” about cars can be made up, faked, call it what you want. But…..

        This Maserati definitely has history, and that history is easily verifiable with zero uncertainty. Unfortunately all of its recent, verifiable history is the wrong kind.

        The fact that the car is being sold by BHCC on Ebay, with lots of photos and the VIN listed means that anyone can learn how low this poor Maserati has fallen. Serious Maser fans will add this information to their information on vintage Masers, and anyone who is interested, like prospective buyers and high end auctions, can inquire and find out that this car seems to have fallen into near-junk status, with side pipes, an engine transplant, etc, etc.

        Anyone who is a serious Maser Ghibli buyer expecting to pay $200K or more will be able to find all this out. In fact, it is information that high end auctions will likely use to either describe the car as a former junky ‘hot rod’, or even decline to list it. Auction houses like RM Sothebys would not make the mistake of trying to make up, fake—call it what you want—anything about this car, for both professional and legal reasons.

        There is a LOT of information out there about collector cars out there. That information has exploded ever since the internet came into being. Someone would be very foolish to try to make up good history about high end cars, and auction houses are very vigilant about this because they might have legal liability if they offer made up history about the cars they sell.

        I agree that a lot of “history” that’s claimed for collector cars is unverifiable and might be made up. In that case, caveat emptor. Most of the vintage and collector car fans that I know are very aware of this and will not pay up for unverifiable stories about cars they are considering buying.

  8. Steve R

    There are pictures of the engine, it even has an A/C compressor mounted. Click on the description, then scroll down, you will find a couple of dozen more, including floor pans, door jams, spare tire well etc.

    Steve R

  9. John T

    The Maserati 4.7 and 4.9L engines were well engineered and reliable. The fact that someone put an SBC in this car means it was long neglected – think brakes, steering, suspension, interior – just about everything on this car will need attention. Leave it to BHCC to polish another turd and throw it onto eBay.

  10. OhU8one2

    I guess in this crazy world we all live in,there exist a group of people with so much wealth and money that they must choose from their fleet of Exotica exactly which car is going to be their everyday beater. Sadly I think this was the one that was the winner. For the rest of us common folk, this Italian dream car is all but a disposable machine that once it could no longer provide transportation,it was tossed to the collector wolves. To bad it was chewed to the mess we see here today. But like I’ve always said to the non-believers. They have to look bad,before they can look better. Hopefully there is a person with a deep love for Italian design and deep pockets

  11. Nrg8

    Did Detomaso and Maserati like grow up together.?

  12. Steve M

    OMG this car is SCREAMING Italian restomod……I recently saw a 2008 wrecked Quattroporte for sale in the mid teens. 120K and a ton of sweat equity could make a really cool car.

  13. UK Paul


  14. Hotwheelsjunkie

    Since your buying a car on ebay anyways, why not source the drivetrain out of a mid 2000’s Maserati from there too. For 10 grand, you can make it all Maserati and not worry about putting miles on the car. Im not against LS motors, but there are cooler options.

  15. Chris Wilkinson

    I went to see this Ghibli myself, looked it over inside and out. It’s pretty messed up. No matching numbers, it looked like someone’s project with lots of interior parts laying in the trunk and interior. Engine/drivetrain might be a another 50k, but still not matching. A low matching Ghibli would be 150k. Paying 50k for this car, 50k more for drivetrain, and 50k more for restoration would require hanging onto this car until prices rose to recoup the project cost.

  16. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Sorry, doesn’t do a thing for me.

  17. jesus bortoni

    A lotta work for break-even money. Even if you
    could source an original engine and trans. It seems
    that there might be easier ways to do this although
    granted, not cheaper.
    Beautiful potential. What a waste! And those pipes?
    Were they serious?

  18. Walt Kulwicki

    Bring a Torch
    Bring a Welder
    Bring a Grinder
    Do I see yellow under the “black door jams”?

  19. 88V8

    If it were restored, it would be too valuable to use. But as it is, it could be made a nice oily-rag.

  20. kenzo

    The outside brown looks like rattle can primer.
    Am I missing it, but where is the shifter? I see the black leather wrap but no shifter. It appears to have been yellow.

  21. ACZ

    A total and complete waste.

  22. Brakeservo

    Re Dolphin – yes, for years much verifiable information on many significant cars has been available, sometimes through factory records, sometimes through registries maintained by enthusiasts and clubs. But don’t ever be suckered into believing that all the alleged facts in an Auction company’s catalog description have been verified by the auction company. I have personal first-hand knowledge of two seriously misrepresented Bentley motorcars offered by a particular Arizona based auction house (not Barrett-Jackson or Silver), let’s just call them, hmmm, say, how about Rustle and Steal, just to pull a fictitious name out of the air, at a Monterey sale, where the one car had an altered V.I.N. and an undisclosed RHD to LHD conversion, the other was seriously damaged by a ham-fisted restorer with a totally bogus “celebrity” history that was apparent to whomever did even a perfunctory bit of research. When one registers as a bidder, one of the forms you must sign states that the auction house has absolutely no responsibility for statements and claims made by the consignor. And the consignor signs a form ageeing to hold the auction company harmless for any claims, suits or damages, whether valid or frivolous. So the auction house doesn’t care. All they want is their commissions!

  23. Jubjub


    Taillights on the wrong sides are a real nice little touch of class.

    Seems it would be wise to lose the transplanted engine and sidepipes for credibility’s sake.

  24. Edward

    Got to drive an original unrestored one of these back in the ‘70s, as my friend had it brought in as propane powered from Saudi Arabia. He converted back to gas once smog issues got resolved. The car had 5spd manual. The engine was described as ported, polished, titanium valves and lifters. If parts for the engine became necessary, a log of that engine’s unique specs was referenced. OEM body parts (like turn signal plastic) took 6-12 months to obtain from Italy, if available. The car scared me as no other has. Mega power. Handled adeptly. Stopped on a dime.My belief is that only a trained factory mechanic could ever bring the listed car back to any semblance of it’s prior life. All others should be warned to avoid!

  25. imperialist1960

    Brutal write up – there ARE engine shots if you scroll down.

    Car is definitely a sow’s ear, but at a fraction of the price of restored, what do you really expect? Would be nice if it were lower priced or something, but it seems represented and photographed for what it is and what it is not, so nobody’s getting scammed or fooled here.

    I don’t see what the hubub is all about. Not the car for me, but if it were, I’d spruce up the interior a little, add a manual transmission if I could, and have some chrome bumpers fabricated and then fix it enough to be drivable.

    You would wail on this thing and I’d show up with it all clapped out just to irritate the people that keep cloth diapers in their car to wipe dust off every 15 minutes. Drive it and then DRIVE it. Could be fun as a beater that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Some folks in the comments seem wound a little tight on this one.

  26. Pete

    In 1984 I was driving by a used car lot south of Stuttgart FRG and I almost broke my neck looking at a Ghibli as I went by. I had to turn around and go back for a closer look. The lot was open and I asked that german fella wie viel for das auto bitte? He says 25,000 Deutche Marks. It was silver with a black interior. It had all these cool toggle switches on the dash. It was in excellent condition. At the time the price was about $8500 USD. I started racking my brain trying to figure out how a PFC could borrow that much money for a used car. I figured out that I could put it on Lay Away if I could scratch up at least 5K. All this went through my mind in about 60 seconds as I was walking back to my car. Then my 1st wife shook her head no, you can’t have it. But but but. No. I should have kicked her out of my car and sent her back to the states right then. Two years later she was gone anyway. I sure miss her, The Ghibli that is. LOL. I knew when I saw that car that it was an excellent investment. Years later I saw one just like it for 90K. I really started hating my ex after that. LOL

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