Maserati celebrates 55th anniversary of the Ghibli
Maserati is celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Ghibli. On November 3, 1966, the Maserati Ghibli made its debut on the world stage: at the Ghia stand at the Turin Motor Show. A new interpretation of the concept of a gran-turismo car: The two-seater coupé was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The name recalled a wind: A tradition which continues to this day with the Grecale, part of the Trident brand’s new era.
The Ghibli is a powerful warm wind in North Africa which carries with it a great deal of sand. The decision to take its name was no coincidence, given the car’s speed and the “warmth” of its technical and stylistic specifications.
In its presentation of the Ghibli, Maserati proposed a car with a sporty yet unostentatious impression: the engine was newly-designed, based on the experience of the well-known eight-cylinder used in Mexico. It could deliver an output of 246 kilowatts in the 4,700-cc version; and was followed by a more powerful 4,900-cc version.
To leave more room for style by lowering the height of the hood, the engine was equipped with a dry sump – a solution used solely in racing – and was mounted on the tubular chassis – low down. This solution gave the car its typically-assertive and -slender appearance: one of the cornerstones of its success.
The design was entrusted to Ghia, that then had Giorgetto Giugiaro on its creative design team. The most significant design cue – the marker of a decisive change from the Ghibli’s predecessors – was the integration of the volumes. There was no distinction between the car’s body and the passenger compartment: They were neither separate nor overlapping; rather, they were joined together as a single surface. While the lines were geometric and taut, Giugiaro’s hand ensured that the sense of stiffness could be smoothed out.
The most obvious new stylistic feature was the front – definitely an original for Maserati: the headlights were retractable and the extremely-slim grille occupied the car’s entire front. The Trident logo remained in the middle – albeit, smaller than before.
The side view enhanced the slender line of the Ghibli: a long low bonnet, a heavily-inclined windscreen, perfect proportions with no superfluous decoration. The triangular rear pillar took on its own identity; later, becoming an iconic component and was taken up in other successful models from the Trident brand.
Also, the changes from the past could be seen in the conception of the two-seater interior, where the instruments were built into an overall design which prevailed over the individual components.
The result was a gran-turismo car which remained true to the exclusive luxury style, power, and comfort – yet with an over-arching theme of racing – for which Maserati cars have always stood out.
After it was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show on November 3, 1966, the Ghibli was launched onto the market in 1967. The following year, its interior was restyled and could also be fitted on demand with automatic transmission; as well as, a five-speed manual gearbox. From 1969, the Spyder version became available, that could be equipped with a hard top. One year later, both models were offered with a 4,900-cc engine – taking the name Ghibli SS. In this configuration, the car further strengthened its solid market position.
In all, between 1967 and 1972, 128 Ghibli-Spyder models and over 1,200 Ghibli coupé models were produced: One was purchased by Henry Ford (the Founder’s grandson), who would place it in the lobby of the Ford Product Development Center in Detroit: being an example to follow and a source of inspiration.
An inspiration which has never ceased at the Trident brand, the Ghibli has always been considered an iconic car. In 2013, Maserati decided to unveil a new model, bringing back the Ghibli name for a sports sedan and, therefore, starting another success story.