Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Allemano
From an Important Maserati CollectionWilliam H. Brown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (acquired new in 1961)Jimmy Castle, Tucson, Arizona (acquired circa 1973)Richard Kreischer, Arizona (acquired circa 1975)Oliver Kuttner, Charlottesville, Virginia (acquired from the above circa 1987)Lord Charles Brocket, Hertfordshire, England (acquired circa 1991)Randy Simon, Boston, Massachusetts (acquired circa 1995)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1996)
Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance, Houston, Texas, May 1998Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance, Houston, Texas, May 2006“Maserati 100 – A Century of Pure Italian Luxury Sports Cars”, Museo CasaEnzo Ferrari, Modena, Italy, June 2014 through January 2015
The history of the 5000 GT begins in November 1958, when Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran, met with Maserati executives Adolfo Orsi and Giulio Alfieri and outlined his concept for a new supercar. Envisioning an automobile befitting his Imperial Highness, the shah expressed his desire to have a luxurious gran turismo, like the 3500 GT, equipped with the powerful V-8 engine found in the 450S sports racing car. Naturally, Maserati accepted the shah’s request and, in so doing, created one of the most extraordinary automobiles of all time.
At the heart of the 5000 GT was a magnificent five-liter engine equipped with exotic dual-overhead camshafts, hemispherical combustion chambers, and twin spark ignition. Though the first two examples were equipped with lightly detuned 450S engines, Maserati further developed the powerplant for road use, revising the internal dimensions and replacing the noisy competition-spec gear drive with more conventional timing chains. Another, more notable change was the introduction of Lucas mechanical fuel injection, which replaced the 450S’ Weber carburetors. Although it was more complex, the injection system made the engine more user-friendly and improved throttle response across the entire power band.
The 5000 GT chassis was based on the 3500 GT, but was specially engineered to cope with the increased power and weight. A ZF manual gearbox and twin-plate clutch delivered power to the rear wheels, while state-of-the-art Girling disc brakes helped slow the car from its 165-plus mph top speed.
Between 1960 and 1965, Maserati built just 34 examples of the 5000 GT, with eight Italian coachbuilders supplying their own distinct designs for the chassis. Priced at a staggering $14,000 when new, the 5000 GT was a direct competitor to Ferrari’s Superamerica and attracted an elite clientele. Famous owners included Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli, American sportsman Briggs Cunningham, industrialist Ferdinando Innocenti, actor Stewart Granger, and King Saud of Saudi Arabia.
The 5000 GT presented here, chassis 103.014, was the first of 22 examples to receive elegant Coupe coachwork by Carrozzeria Allemano, a Torino-based firm that had worked closely with Maserati since the A6G series of the mid-1950s. The imposing looks of the Allemano Coupe are credited to famous designer Giovanni Michelotti, who was also responsible for Cunningham’s 5000 GT and other classic Maserati models such as the 3500 GT Vignale Spider, Sebring, and Indy.
Unlike the Allemano Coupes that followed, this 5000 GT carried the name “Indianapolis” and possessed unique features, including a different grille design, dashboard arrangement, and unique script on the rear quarter panel. Completed in October 1961, and originally finished in Grigio Montebello with red leather upholstery, the Indianapolis Coupe was the only 5000 GT illustrated in Maserati’s official brochure for the model and also graced the cover of Auto Italiana magazine.
The car’s first owner was William H. Brown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a millionaire with holdings in steel, banking, and publishing. In August 1961, Mr. Brown collected the Indianapolis Coupe in Modena and drove it throughout Europe. When he returned the 5000 GT to Maserati, he insisted that his car be tested and tuned to ensure it was fully capable of reaching its advertised 168 mph top speed.
On October 19, 1961, Maserati loaded the 5000 GT on the Pia Costa and, when it arrived in the US that November, Mr. Brown took delivery in New York. He then drove the Indianapolis Coupe – presumably at high speed – to his 2,500-acre ranch, El Mirado, in Sasabe, Arizona. In April 1962, Mr. Brown drove the car to meet his daughter in Beverly Hills, California, and then shipped it to Italy for general servicing.
William Brown sold his 5000 GT in September 1967, and the car’s next recorded owner was Jimmy Castle, a resident of Tucson, Arizona. During his ownership, the Maserati made an appearance in a Tucson Daily Citizen article titled “The Most Aristocratic Automobiles in Tucson.” By 1975, the Indianapolis Coupe had come into the care of Maserati enthusiast Richard Kreischer, who rescued the neglected car after it had been left sitting in the Arizona sun.
In the late 1980s, the 5000 GT was sold to Oliver Kuttner, of Charlottesville, Virginia, and by March 1988 it was advertised by English dealer Griffon Motor Cars. From there, the Maserati joined Lord Charles Brocket’s extensive classic car collection. When Randy Simon acquired the Maserati in the mid-1990s, its engine had been removed and hidden during Lord Brocket’s infamous insurance scam.
In 1996, the current owner purchased 103.014 from Mr. Simon and managed to track down the car’s matching-numbers engine, which had been carefully inspected and verified as original by English Maserati specialist Bill McGrath. The following year, McGrath shipped the 5000 GT engine to Francorchamps of America, Inc. in Costa Mesa, California, and it was rebuilt to original specifications before being reunited with the car.
Displayed at Keels & Wheels in May 1998, the Maserati was invited to take part in the 1999 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, where a special 5000 GT exhibit was being organized. The invitation was ultimately declined in favor of restoring the car to its original condition and color scheme.
In late 2001, the 5000 GT was carefully disassembled for restoration and the coachwork stripped to bare metal. From there, the body was painstakingly prepared and refinished in its original color, with the paint formula supplied by Ermanno Cozza at the Maserati factory. The upholstery was re-trimmed with red leather and custom carpeting, specially ordered to match samples of the original materials removed from the car. Completed in May 2006, the restored Indianapolis Coupe was unveiled at the Keels & Wheels Concours and displayed alongside one of its relatives, a Frua-bodied 5000 GT.
Most recently, the Indianapolis Coupe represented the 5000 GT line in the prestigious exhibition “Maserati 100 – A Century of Pure Italian Luxury Sports Cars,” held at Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari in Modena, Italy, between June 2014 and January 2015. Today, the Indianapolis Coupe remains in exceptional condition and is accompanied at auction by an impressive file of documentation.
Though it was first introduced over 55 years ago, the 5000 GT is still widely regarded as the ultimate Maserati road car. A true “car for kings,” built in extremely limited numbers during the marque’s postwar zenith, it offered exotic Italian style and outright performance never before seen in a roadgoing automobile.
A singular expression of power and exclusivity, the Indianapolis Coupe exudes the individual character and artistry of a bygone era. Custom-tailored by Carrozzeria Allemano and delivered new to an important American customer, 103.014 is not only a striking, singular creation, it also possesses a rich, well-documented provenance and a faithfully executed restoration.
Those with an appreciation for the prestige, glamour, and sophistication embodied by a one-of-a-kind, coachbuilt Maserati should recognize the appearance of this exceptional 5000 GT as an opportunity not to be missed.