00_Maserati 5000 GT - 1959 © Michael Furman

Modena, 29 November 2019 – Sixty years ago, the 5000 GT, a 2+2 coupé, was presented at the Turin Motor Show and was the undisputed star of the event.

Maserati now celebrates the anniversary of this extraordinary car, built to the specific request of the Shah of Persia, Reza Pahlavi.  Just 34 cars of this model were built at the Viale Ciro Menotti plant in Modena, with bodywork added by Italy’s top coachbuilders of the period.

04_Maserati 5000 GT - 1959 © Michael FurmanReza Pahlavi, the then Shah of Persia, and a great enthusiast of high-performance sports cars, test-drove a 3500 GT towards the end of 1958 and was delighted with it. However, he requested an increase in performance, and Giulio Alfieri, Maserati technical director at the time, realised that the car would have to be completely redesigned to satisfy this prestige customer’s demands.

03_Maserati 5000 GT - 1959 © Michael FurmanThe resulting AM103 project, continued through during 1959, and was in effect a new car and not merely a customisation: the heart of the design was the V8 engine of the 450S (the famous Maserati racing barchetta), with its bore increased to upgrade its displacement to almost five litres. The 5000 GT, a prestigious  2+2 coupé, was born.

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

02_Maserati 5000 GT - 1959 © Michael FurmanThe next year, in 1960, the 5000 GT was exhibited on the stand 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 led to the production of a number of cars for prestige customers including Prince Karim Aga Khan (car with 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).

01_Maserati 5000 GT - 1959 © Michael FurmanMaserati confirmed its ability to create a prestigous product, delivering exclusive elegance, impeccable functionality and absolute comfort, combined with thrilling performance.  The 5000 GT was a VIP’s car, in terms of both exclusivity and performance. Due to its extremely distinctive character and high cost, the total number of cars built was limited to just 34.

Technical Details

Model Type 5000 GT
Production period 1959/1964
Engine Eight cylinders, V – 90°
Displacement 4937,8 cc (from 1960: 4941,1 cc)
Bore and stroke 98,5 mm x 81 mm (from 1960: 94 mm x 89 mm)
Power 325 HP a 5500 rev/min. (from 1960: 340 HP a 5800 rev/min)
Compression ratio 8,5:1
Valves train Dual overhead camshafts per bank
Valves Two per cylinder
Ignition Double with two Marelli or Lucas distributors
Engine lubrication Forced with pressure pump
Clutch Dry twin discs
Gearbox Four speeds + R (from 1963: five speeds + R)
Frame Tubular
Front suspensions Coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers
Rear suspensions Semi-elliptical leaf springs and telescopic shock absorbers
Brakes Power-assisted front discs and rear drums
Wheelbase 2600 mm
Track Front 1390 mm ; Rear 1360 mm
Body Two doors Coupè, 2+2 seats
Dry Weight 1500 Kg
Max. Speed 260-270 Km/h


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