Large 16330 Maserati5000GT 1959MichaelFurmanLuxury vehicles company Maserati celebrated the 60th anniversary of the launch of the 5000 GT, a 2 + 2 coupé at the Turin Motor Show built at the specific request of Shah of Persia, Reza Pahlavi.

The 5000 GT, made only in 34 models, was built at the Viale Ciro Menotti plant in Modena, with bodywork added by Italy’s top coachbuilders of the period.

Reza Pahlavi, the then Shah of Persia, and a great enthusiast of high-performance sports cars, test-drive the 3500 GT towards the end of 1958 and was very pleased with it. However, he requested an increase in performance and Giulio Alfieri, the then technical director of Maserati, realised that the car would have to be completely redesigned to meet the needs of this prestigious customer.

The resulting AM103 project, which continued in 1959, was, in effect, a new car and not just a customisation: the heart of the design was the 450S V8 engine (the famous Maserati racing barchetta), which increased its bore to nearly five litres. The 5000 GT, a prestigious 2+2 coupé, was born.

The car, the first of which was built by Carrozzeria Touring, was launched at the Turin Motor Show in 1959 and received the nickname “Shah of Persia” in honour of this unique customer. Only three of that special version have ever been produced.

In 1960, the 5000 GT was exhibited at the Geneva International Motor Show, with a few revisions to the engine.

The most interesting fact of the Maserati 5000 GT was that it was built with bodywork by almost all the leading Italian coachbuilders of the time: from Allemano, Pininfarina, Monterosa, Ghia, Bertone and Frua, not to mention Michelotti for Vignale.

Its great success has led to the production of a number of cars for prestigious customers, including Prince Karim Aga Khan (car bodywork by Carozzeria Frua), Fiat Boss Gianni Agnelli (Carozzeria Pininfarina), industrialist Ferdinando Innocenti (Carrozzeria Ghia), film star Stewart Granger (Carrozzeria Allemano) and Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos (Carrozzeria Allemano).