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Coachwork by Ghia
*Please note that this car is titled AM115491237.
One of Only 24 US-Specification Examples | Multiple Award-Winning RestorationDavid S. Golden, Atlanta, Georgia (acquired in 1981)Stephen Claassen, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (acquired from the above in 1986)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2009)
Introduced in 1966 at the Torino Motor Show, the Maserati Ghibli was an immediate sensation, hailed as one of Italy’s most exciting new offerings. The Ghibli was a masterpiece of automotive design, owing its genius to Ghia head stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro. The long, low, razor-edge sports car had a refined yet brutal appearance. With a four-cam aluminum V-8 engine and a top speed approaching 170 mph, the Ghibli was among the fastest production cars available.
In 1969, Maserati unveiled the Ghibli Spider, for which Giugiaro received more acclaim. The following year, Maserati offered the 4.9 SS variant that produced 335 bhp – an increase of 25 bhp over the original 4.7-liter engine. As a result, the 4.9 SS could reach 100 mph in a staggering 16 seconds and claimed a top speed of 170 mph. Maserati justifiably described its car as “powerful and ultra-fast, smooth and dependable, modern and efficient.”
The Ghibli Spider, like most exclusive open sports cars, was aimed at the important North American market. Of the 128 examples built, 70 were originally destined for the US. Of the 30 4.9 SS Spiders sold new in the US, 24 examples were equipped from the factory with the five-speed ZF gearbox and the remaining six received BorgWarner automatic transmissions.
According to factory records, this 4.9 SS Spider, chassis 1237, was originally finished in the elegant color scheme of Celeste Chiaro (light metallic blue) with Senape (mustard) leather upholstery. Intended for sale in the US, the Ghibli was originally equipped with a ZF manual gearbox, chrome Borrani wire wheels, power steering, air-conditioning, AM/FM radio, headrests, and Veglia instruments calibrated in miles per hour. The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin was issued on April 8, 1971, and from there the Ghibli Spider was shipped by boat to official Maserati dealer Grossman Motor Car Corporation in West Nyack, New York.
While little is known of the Maserati’s whereabouts during its first decade in the US, by 1981, David Golden of Atlanta had acquired the car. In 1986, Mr. Golden sold the Ghibli Spider to Stephen Claassen, a mechanic living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Intending to complete a restoration, Mr. Claassen disassembled the Maserati. For the next two decades, it remained in static storage waiting to be completed.
After acquiring the Maserati in 2009, the consignor commissioned marque specialist Martin Logé of JML Restorations in Santa Barbara, California, to perform a comprehensive, show-quality restoration. Between 2009 and 2014, the 4.9 SS Spider received a complete nut-and-bolt restoration, with all work carried out to the highest possible standard.
During the restoration process, it was decided to present the Ghibli Spider in European specification, as these cars featured more elegant details and greater performance. This entailed sourcing a correct wood-rim steering wheel, proper Carello lamps, and a complete NOS Ansa four-pipe exhaust system. The original, matching-numbers engine was rebuilt with Europeanspec camshafts and headers, forged Arias pistons, and a custom crankshaft with an aluminum block girdle for improved strength and reliability. The driveline was also rebuilt, with the rear end incorporating a 3.31:1 ratio and limited-slip differential.
During a recent conversation with a Gooding & Company specialist, Logé confirmed the exacting nature of the restoration and stated that this 4.9 SS Spider “is probably the best Ghibli out there.” In all, more than 4,500 hours and nearly $600,000 went into the preparation of this car. Jewellike in every detail, the Ghibli Spider is presented in its original Celeste Chiaro with the elegant dark blue carpeting and top providing a contrast to the light upholstery.
Since the restoration, the Maserati has been shown selectively. The quality and accuracy of the restoration garnered a First in Class (Maserati Club) award at Concorso Italiano in 2014 and a Best in Class award at the Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance in 2015. Having covered less than 200 miles since the work was completed, the car remains in show-quality condition and is an ideal candidate for future concours outings.
In keeping with its impeccable presentation, the Ghibli Spider is offered with an extremely rare factory hardtop (finished in body color), two pieces of fitted luggage, a correct tool kit and jack, as well as an original 4.9 SS owner’s manual, parts manual, and other factory literature. The car is also presented with Maserati Classiche documents, including copies of the original build sheets, Certificate of Origin, and sales invoice.
With just 46 examples built, the Ghibli 4.9 SS Spider is among the most exclusive of all road-going Maseratis. These extraordinary automobiles rarely appear for sale, either at auction or privately, as most are fixtures in major collections. This particular example, with its attractive original color, desirable accessories, and prize-winning restoration, possesses all the qualities one looks for in a classic Maserati.