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Presidential Connection: 1965 Maserati Vignale Prototype

I apologize for not being more adept at understanding how the rich and powerful can get any factory in the world to build a car to their liking, but here’s my best shot at deciphering exactly what happened to this 1965 Maserati Mexico Vignale Prototype: it has the chassis of a 5000GT with the body of a Vignale prototype (otherwise known as a Mexico). Confused? Good. Find it here on eBay with a $275,000 Buy-It-Now.

The Vignale prototype was an instant hit when it appeared on the brand’s display stand at automotive shows, and it also caught the eye of President Adolfo López Mateos of Mexico. When his 5000GT was severely damaged in an accident, the car went back to Maserati where it received the Mexico’s body (still known as the Vignale prototype at this point) on the 5000GT’s chassis.

It remained titled as a 5000GT, as the president requested that the factory not change chassis number in order to avoid import duties associated with a new car. The downside, I’d imagine, is that you have to tell the story every time as to why this should be considered a genuine prototype despite the chassis number identifying as a more “common” 5000GT.

Regardless, I’ve always found the Mexico to be one of Maserati’s best looking cars, and this one presents incredibly well. The seats look lovely, including the rear buckets, and the Borani wheels with knock-off hubs appear to be in fine shape. The 4.2L V8 still turns over and the car looks complete overall. The story is certainly hazy, but at least it’s no longer stuck in Mexico – you’ll find it in California.


  1. H5mind

    Perfect. I’ll alert my pilot to ready the jet for a jaunt to the Sunshine State. Maybe hobnob with some celebrities while I’m there. That car is twice the price of my first home.

    Like 5
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      Only twice the price. That ones over 14 times the price of my first house, how’s that for inflation. When new, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the tires and rims cost more than my house.

      Like 5
      • Pete VASQUEZ

        OK , Seldom does something catches my eye , this one does .
        Only 32 5000 gt’s were made , and those were offered only to VERY
        SPECIAL clients of Maserati. Everything about this IS ABOUT it’s
        Serial Numbers , the Chassis Number, Coach Number, Engine number
        and needs the be checked out with Maserati Experts, The Mexico didn’t come till Aug, 66′..So a 65′ Mexico would be a prototype .
        A nice Mexico is running about $175 K …If you can find a 5000 GT it’s
        between $750K-$900K …So it looks like a $200-300K Restoration
        At a asking price $275 K …NOT SO MUCH …$185K – $200 K Maybe
        All In ….$ 500 K
        As it is said ” Go Big or stay at home ”
        If Everything Checked out could be worth $ 700 K – $ 800 K
        NET PROFIT .. $ 200 K

        Like 1
    • Fiete T.

      You’re going to Florida..?

      Like 2
  2. The Car guy

    by the looks of the pictures.. the buyer purchased it in Mexico in some dumpy little town.. I bet he paid no more than US $10k.. $191,129. Peso’s.. Now he is looking for some American Sucker…

    Like 3
  3. John Holden

    I think the engine is in fact 4.95 litres. I had a Maserati ‘Shah of Persia’ 5000 GT and the engine was one of a lot left over from Maseratis’ Grand Prix days. Unfortunately, it had Lucas fuel injection and Weber carbs would not fit without modifying the bonnet.

    Like 1
    • Rick Rechter II

      My father bought the Shah’s 5000 in the early’70’s. It had a cracked block due to no antifreeze in the engine when they flew the car out of Iran. I would be interested to know where it ended up.

      Like 1
  4. ccrvtt

    Beautiful car, but $275,000 is just about $10,000 too much….


    Like 6
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      only $10K too much? Sorry, it’s way too much for me.

      Like 1
    • SamM

      Wait,,, it’s not 2750.00? Darn it,,,,,

      Like 2
    • Mountainwoodie

      Don’t be so cheap!.

      Another way to look at this is the way I prefer.

      Some people who have the means get incredibly screwed on every single thing they purchase in life. You can see them coming a mile away. Whether it’s “classic” cars, homes, whatever, they are paying through the nose for the privilege of having something that is overpriced merely because there is an azz for every seat

      Like 0
  5. Will Fox

    Prototype & heritage aside, the asking price is ludicrous. “this one presents very well.”? Where. I look at the interior, and it’s missing door cards and trim, etc. which I could only hope come with the car for that price! Considering what this one-off will need in restoration, the price is way out of line. This is NO half-mil car when done; not by a long shot. And “IF” someone were to pay such a price for it, well, you know what they say about a “fool & their money…..”

    Like 6
  6. Gaspumpchas

    funny that you guys compare the cost of a car to cost of your house- I tell my wife all the time that I cant buy a car that cost more than my house–house cost $26,000 in 1975, so I’m screwed, plus broke ,lol. fixed up the house, we raised 2 beautiful daughters in it, and married 45 years. Still in the house.Still fixing up cars with junkyard parts., Wouldn’t have changed a thing!! Sorry off topic, Love barnfinds.com!!


    Like 19
  7. Del

    While you guys were Jawing, I grabbed it

    Like 3
  8. michael streuly

    I would not pay 275.00 dollars for that piece of S**T

    Like 3
  9. Rx7turboII

    Wow Michael….

    Don’t hold back on your feelings! Lol!

    Would you pay $274.99 for it? Haha

    Like 2
  10. 8banger Dave Mika Member

    Ooh, hey there michael, it certainly ain’t no POS, actually a very sexy little machine, but alas, way out of my price range.

    Like 2
  11. Wilde

    Very special car and I think this is the proper pricing. It’s not an avarage classic Maserati, it’s a one-off. I knew this Mexico in the books but never saw it in the flesh.

    Like 2
  12. t-bone Bob


    Like 2
  13. Danh

    A car is worth whatever somebody is willing to pay for it. Period.

    Like 6
  14. Bruce

    NO Way is this car worth the asking price. A good Sebring like mine might go for that after it is restored but not a Mexico. I know because that was the selling price for my old Sebring after it was restored. The price quoted is somewhere close to the restoration costs. These are nice period pieces but they are old technology now even the carbs or fuel injection which was working on mine and was wonderful. Started first time overtime without hesitation.

    Unless there are photos of the repaint you should consider this to be a total restoration project with the possible exception of the seats which look to be not bad. These are luxury performance cars and performance cars bring the value the luxury cars do not or at least not so much. In perfect condition the price is high in this condition I am not certain the owner wishes to sell or is just looking for someone with more cash than brains. Shame that this happens to Maseratis, they are well made for the most part and are good street cars. Thirsty ones but good usable cars.

    Like 1
  15. Derek

    It’s a lovely-looking thing. If you compare the price with what’s asked for similarly-aged Ferraris, it doesn’t seem so bad. Too rich for me, tho’…

    Like 2
  16. Del

    Michael pretty much covered this Italian donkey dung.

    Like 0
  17. Chasmo

    ?Wait? 275K and the motor still turns over? As in not running? What did I miss?

    Like 0

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