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Italian Garage Find: 1972 Maserati Ghibli

Automotive styling is subjective and some manufacturers arguably do a better job than others. The Italian manufacturers, in particular, have a real knack for sensual beauty and engineering balance. Parce it a bit further and we have a Maserati Ghibli, IMHO, one of the finest designs to originate from the House of Ghia. For your review, and right out of long-term storage, is just such an example, a 1972 Maserati Ghibli. It is located in Ontario, California, and available, here on eBay for a current bid of $50,000, reserve not yet met.

Maserati has produced three versions of the Ghibli, starting with the original AM115, like this example, offered between 1967 and 1973. Version two, known as the AM336, saw daylight between 1992 and 1998, and variant number three, the M157, has been in circulation since 2013. If our subject car is not familiar that’s probably due to scarcity, there were only a little over 1,100 Ghiblis assembled in the first generation’s seven-year run. Even rarer is the Spyder version, only a nod over 100 copies were assembled.

The seller of this Ghibli states that it has been domiciled in the Golden State since 1977 and it is, “just as found from long-term storage” which spanned a nine-year period.  While this Maserati looks great in silver (they look great in any shade actually) this example is a repaint from its original “Azzurro Artico” blue-green metallic finish. There is apparently evidence of the original color in places where the silver has chipped away, and the silver itself is showing some notable fade on the hood. The magnificent lines of this Ghibli are still, well, magnificent; the body is straight and properly aligned and proudly displaying its Ghia lines. The seller claims this to be a rust-free car with the exception of some corrosion that has started in both doors. The floors and underside look to be sound.

A remarkable body requires a remarkable engine and in this case, it’s a 306 HP, 4.9 liter, DOHC, V8 powering through a three-speed, automatic transmission – and that’s a surprise as one would expect to find a five-speed ZF manual transmission channeling power. Regardless, this Maserati is probably a non-runner, the seller has made no attempt to start the motor. The mileage is listed as 28K miles but there is no claim or documentation backing up that number.

The interior is an environment of Italian luxury and refinement, exactly what one would expect to find in a Maserati. The black leather seating surfaces and door cards show no wear while the carpet is still reasonable, other than the sun-induced fade to the cargo area. The instrument panel is a work of engineering art as is always the case with Italian cars including competitors Ferrari and Lamborghini. With a non-started engine, it’s hard to know if the extensive gauge bank and switchgear are operable. Even if they’re not, it is still an impressive looking arrangement!

The seller suggests, “This car is a superb cosmetic restoration candidate, it requires a new paint, some re-chroming and perhaps some mechanical refreshing such as carburetor rebuild, etc.” No doubt, but those items can be exceptionally expensive on top of the reserve-not-yet-met price. And then there is the entire engine status issue to consider. It’s a beauty but probably best reserved for those with deep pockets that aren’t faint-of-heart, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. alphasud Member

    I agree! Somebody else can chime in but I think this engine also suffers from the same ills at the V6 in the Merak and Citroen SM. Beautiful car but if you don’t have deep pockets you will get your ghiblits in a bind:)

    Like 10

      No, it doesn’t

      Like 2
  2. Randy Simon Member

    Automatic transmission is a huge knock on value with a Ghibli.

    Like 8
  3. Frank Sumatra

    Big deal. You can get 300 HP and a ZF6-speed in a 1995 Corvette for $15,000 that would be an NCRS Top Flight car.

    Like 4
    • ace10


      Like 21
      • Frank Sumatra

        ace- When you get done slapping some sense into your bad self, take a peek at the other Maseratis listed on ebay at a better price. How much do you think it will cost to repair the rusted door?

      • ace10

        You made an asinine comparison. That’s not my fault. I simply pointed it out. Sorry you can’t deal with looking foolish.

        Like 1
    • Derek

      Disnae look good, but.

    • CCFisher

      Are you serious? Comparing a C4 Corvette to a Maserati Ghibli is like comparing salisbury steak to filet mignon. There’s a reason it costs more.

      Like 13
      • Frank Sumatra

        Very serious. I would enjoy hearing from the buyer on what a mistake purchasing that car was. I will happily enjoy driving a $12,000 equal (Or better) performer (160+ mph top speed), better creature comforts and near-universal service and parts availability while the Maserati owner will be the coolest guy at Cars and Coffee on those rare days the Maser in not on the back of a flatbed being towed 500 miles to the closest repair shop. Happy Motoring!

        Like 7
      • Frank Sumatra

        At least they were smart enough to copy the Corvette front end design!

        Like 1
      • CCFisher

        To each his own, I suppose. I bought two C4 Corvettes new and based on my experience, I’m amazed that there are any left that haven’t rattled themselves to bits by now.

        Like 2

        Frank what are you going for. If it is just performance a Ford Focus RS will beat the corvette and a Nissan GTR will destroy it, the Ford is also more fun to drive.
        As far as drivers comfort, I am sorry to inform you that the 25 year older Maserati is far more comfortable than the vette. The Ghibli was built as a long distant autostrada GT cruiser capable of 175 mph top speed, and it will run at these speeds long after the contemporary vette has chucked a rod out the side of the block. It is not really a sports car and it is very comfortable, whereas a 95 c4 vette is a cacophony of squeaks and rattles.

        As far as styling, try flipping your comment, Corvette actually copied the Italians. Bill Mitchell was a big Italian car fan and he used them for inspiration in designing the vettes, specifically the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. I am starting to wonder if you know what you are talking about Frank.

        I don’t hate corvette but if I had to choose one it would probably be a 60’s c2 coupe. The c4 is faster and less expensive car, but the c2 looks better and is still a heck of a lot of fun with the right set up. It is not a logical choice based purely on performance, but given the price of the C2’s vs the C4’s I am not the only one making this choice.

        I’m sorry but trying to compare a c4 vette against a vintage Maserati Ghibli is just silly. They are apples and oranges.

        Like 15
  4. Troy s

    I think I saw one of these in an old Columbo TV show. No, not the car the Lieutenant drove.
    Got to admit, the car’s got style covered.

    Like 2
  5. Larry Brantingham

    The type 115 engine used in the Ghibli is the dry sump derivative of the type 107 V8 used in all classic Maserati V8s (5000GT, QP1, Mexico, Indy, Bora. Khamsin, Kyalami and QP3). It is based on the engine used in the 450S sports racer of the late ’50’s and is not related to the C114 used in the SM and Merak. It does not have the sodium filled exhaust valves or chain tensioner problems suffered by early versions of that engine. The 107/115 is, for an exotic engine, very reliable and long lived. The designer of this first generation Ghibli is the famous Giorgetto Giugiaro.

    Like 20

    Cheap at double the price regardless of resto costs.

  7. Bruce

    Having been around more than a few of these Ghibli the comparisons between any Corvette and this Maserati show that you have never seen one. They are bigger than you might think both in width and in length and the interiors are simply amazing compared to the Corvettes of the last century.

    The Vetts were designed to be sports cars and this is a GRAND TOURING CAR of the highest order. The ones I knew were reliable to a fault, good heaters, air conditioners and plant of room for two. The ones I saw had high miles with the only problem being a rather strange water pump design that was generally good but expensive to repair when needed.

    The biggest dump against one is the solid rear axel as compared to a independent suspension. Maserati was just not up to that when this car came around. Build quality was excellent in almost all areas. It is interesting to note that the first two purchasers of this era of Ghibli were Henry Ford the Second was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The laters statement that this was the first and only car he had ever owned that he could sit in comfortably and still have room to move the seat back should tell you something.

    So if you wish to compare cars made over 20 years a part that is your right but technology marches on. Does that mean that a pre WW-II Packard, Rolls Royce or Duisenberg is not worth all that much because they are not as good as a 1960’s Caddy. You are comparing apples with oranges and not understanding that excellence is always valued for what it is and what it was at the time.

    Like 24
    • Frank Sumatra

      Take a peek at a 1963 Corvette coupe front end. Apparently you have never seen one. They are pretty easy to find.

      • Joe Elliott

        Oh my. I could squint hard enough and almost understand how a certain sort of untrained eye could see a resemblance between a Ghibli and a ‘68 Corvette, but I never dreamed anyone would compare it to a ‘63. What? Because they both have pop-up headlights and both predate the angular styling trends of the following decade? LOL. It reminds of the time a commenter on one of these sites compared an Iso Lele to an Alfa Montreal which, of course, couldn’t be more different but both have headlight ‘eyelids.’

  8. t-bone bob

    These are spectacular in Spyder form

    Like 1
  9. Frank Sumatra

    Thanks for the news Champ! Lots of bad assumptions on your part. Huge surprise. Oh, and Michael Jordan owned a 1993 Corvette ZR-1.

    • ace10

      When you find yourself at the bottom of a deep hole, with only a shovel in your hand… stop digging.
      OR make some bizarre MJ reference.

      This has to be one of the funniest comment string I’ve seen on BF in a while.

      Like 10
      • Joe Elliott

        LOL indeed. I especially enjoyed the insinuation that the ‘68 Corvette somehow inspired the styling of the ‘67 Ghibli. Wouldn’t want to let to let numbers get in the way of our ethnocentric popular mythology, would we?

        Like 2
    • John

      Why are you being so obnoxious?

  10. JoeNYWF64

    Perfect proportions. That’s 1 tiny shifter! Awkward control for each side vent window, but they OPEN! Who was the 1st to enlarge AND seal them shut? – possibly ’75 Ferrari 308.

  11. james simpson

    Details, Details–Fitting only the Merak, Bora, Kahmsin, Indy, Mexico, and Ghibli– Vitaloni, the makers of the cast plastic combination switches behind the steering wheel on these 1970 thru 1974 vehicles, designed, and quickly abandoned a unique type of switch contact design. Instead of conventional brass and copper sliding electric contacts used on most all other switches, Vitaloni chose an entirely new electromechanical approach. The conductivity through these switches uses a dime-sized copper disk that rests on three contacts- and was lifted on and off these contacts by round ball bearings rolling in ramps around the perimeter of the disks. I know them well. Abandoned innovations keeps me alive! I follow Tony’s footprints on all exotic Italian cars. Very interesting innovations in technologies.

  12. Frank Sumatra

    $71,400. I am stunned. Can someone be that foolish? This is a restoration project. Well sold. Could have had two C8 Corvettes that could be driven tomorrow by time all the $$$ are sunk into this. This will be back under the “Stalled Project “ heading next year

    • grant

      I don’t think you understand the point of. Let me put it in a way you’ll understand. Why spend 15k on a ‘Vette? You can spend 3500 on a Pinto and drop a mild 351 in it for another 5k and be money ahead.

      Like 2
      • Frank Sumatra

        Allow me to clarify- The point is somebody just spent a lot of money for a car with rust issues (Rust never sleeps) and an engine that has not been started. My guess is the owner will also discover a myriad of unseen and/or undisclosed issues.This is a well-sold and poorly-purchased car. I would be pleased to drive a new Maserati but this one is doomed. We will see it back here in 12 months or less. End of story

      • grant

        You’re missing the other half of the equation as well. They made 1100 of these, 50+ years ago. How many C-4s got punched out again?

        Like 3
    • John

      Give it up, ol’ sad eyes.

  13. Pete

    So in 1984 While I was stationed in Germany I was driving back to where I was stationed after visiting Robinson Brks ( Stuttgart ) I chose to take the back roads instead of the autobahn. I drove thru a small village and passed a used car lot. Out of the corner of my eye I spied a Ghibli as I drove past. I did a quick turn around and went and looked at it. They were asking 25,000 DM which translated into about $8,000 USD via the exchange rate. I did my personal best to get that deal done. But my future ex wife effectively killed it. The last time I looked them up, you couldn’t buy one for less than 90K in running order. I have only seen one convertible for sale and that was going for 250K. These things are wonderful cars from that era.

    Like 1
  14. Araknid78

    Ended:Oct 27, 2020 , 12:54PM
    Current bid:
    US $71,400.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 137 bids

  15. Araknid78
    • Frank Sumatra

      “Greed is good”

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