The Ghibli
"Ghibli... a hot dust bearing
wind of the North African desert."

"Ghibli, il vento caldo del deserto che rende tutto più insopportabile e che copre ogni cosa con un tappeto di sabbia." excerpt from the book Ghibli by

"Ghibli, a hot desert wind that renders all things more unbearable and covers everything with a carpet of sand."

Photos marked with an astorisk are from Official Maserati brochures

At the 1964 at the Salone di Torino a new coupé appeared on the Carozzeria Ghia stand. This two door coupé was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, a highly talented young designer, who had recently joined Ghia as the new head of design having left the studios of Nuccio Bertone. Giugiaro's design so impressed Omer Orsi, the son of Adolfo, that he employed the design for the next Maserati Gran Turismo.

After the Mistral, the name of another wind was to mark the arrival of a new Maserati Gran Turismo.

* Giorgetto Giugiaro's gorgeous Ghibli!

In 1966, Maserati launched the Ghibli at the Salone di Torino initially to complement, but eventually to replace, the Mistral, but above all to satisfy the demands of its customers who now demanded an even faster and more powerful car.

In those days, traffic was light and in reality there were no official speed limits, so in Italy it was not unusual to see drivers "racing" along the autostrada at speeds of up to 250 kph (155 mph).

So enthusiastic was the public's response to the Ghibli, that it went into full production a year later.

The classic Maserati eight cylinder engine

The choice of engine was obvious, so Maserati fitted the V8 engine based on that which in 1956 powered the Tipo 450S sports racer. In 1957, the Tipo 450S proved itself to be the fastest sports racer of that era. This engine also powered the series of prototypes designated the Tipo 151s commissioned by the Cunningham and Simon race teams for the 24 Hours race at Le Mans.

Racing success at Le Mans eluded these cars, mainly due to a combination of inadequate preparation and lack of official Maserati support.

During testing for Le Mans, one of the 151s - #002 to be precise - achieved a staggering 308 kph along the Mulsanne straight!

The mechanics of the Ghibli, designated AM.115 by the factory, employed a light alloy 4.7-litre (4710cc) V8-cylinder four-overhead-camshaft engine fed by four large twin-choke downdraught Weber 40 DCNL/5 carburettors. Oil lubrication was by dry sump, giving the car its very low centre of gravity, a format previously adopted for their sports racers.

The Ghibli SS

The chassis was a shortened version of that used in the 3500GT and the 'Mexico' with extra struts introduced to provide a more rigid frame. Front suspension was independent with double wishbones, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar and rear suspension was by a Salisbury live axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar. The overall package, although now somewhat dated, gave the car excellent handling capability.

Carrozzeria Ghia, now owned by Alejandro De Tomaso, knew only too well what was required ot the Casa del Tridente: a Gran Turismo that was well equipped, spacious, comfortable and above all fast. The result was a very low (only 116 cm in height compared with the 120 cm of its competitors) and particularly slender design. Giugiaro's splendid design disguised a kerb weight of around 3500 lbs but could not hide an overall length of some 18ft. It would have been a great pity if it had!

The dashboard layout of the Ghibli

If the design of the Mistral was modern and compact, Giugiaro's design for the Ghibli also followed these two concepts, but with a far more dramatic result. The long, aggressive, sloping bonnet ending in a tapering "mouth-shaped" grille, whose moulded edges functioned as an expensive 'bumper', at the centre of which was mounted the famous Tridente. Only the subtle bulge indicating the presence of its powerful engine.

The ample interior offered two comfortable front seats, behind which were two emergency seats. However, this coupé was primarily a two-seater with the rear area of approximately 0.6 cubic metres, in reality designed as luggage space accessed via a small rear boot lid. The dashboard housed a comprehensive array of instruments and controls, all within easy reach of the driver.

* The boot area is flanked by twin fuel tanks

The body of the Ghibli was considered the best ever constructed by Maserati, not plagued by some of the smaller and sometimes bigger problems that are unavoidable in low series production. The Ghibli's paintwork and finish were always impeccable.

When first shown at the Salone di Torino in 1966, the Ghibli was offered in Coupé version at ITL 7.800.000 and in the Spyder version at IT L8.000.000. It was equipped with many extras normally associated with the more luxurious end of the market: air conditioning, power steering, electric windows, ventilated disc brakes and dual fuel tanks giving a fuel capacity of 100 litres. Its success was immediate, especially in the North American market: between 1967 and 1973, 1274 cars of which 125 were spyders were built. In its Spyder form, produced from 1968, the Ghibli looked more beautiful, even when fitted with the optional hard-top.

The dashboard layout of the Ghibli SS Spyder

In 1970 the Ghibli "SS" was introduced with an engine size increased to 4930 cc developing some 335 bhp and giving it a top speed of over 280 kph. This increase in engine size was achieved by increasing the bore size by 4mm with no alteration in stroke. The "SS" was now equipped with alloy wheels and wider tyres, to comply with the North Americans "norms", a redesigned dashboard and larger reinforced bumpers.

Alas in 1973 the era of the Ghibli came to a close: another splendid model replaced it, but without a doubt, this car with its combination of outstanding performance, beautiful design, immaculate finish and build quality has left a lasting impression on the history of Maserati and the Italian Gran Turismo.

The identification plate of the Ghibli - AM 115.

* The power operated pop-up headlamps. Note the overriders added to later models.

* Note the extra side light added to models destined for the US market.

The 4.9-litre engine of the Ghibli SS.


The interior of the Ghibli SS.


The ample boot space accessed through the narrow boot lid.

The long chromed twin-exhaust tail pipes.

The 15-inch alloy wheels.

The 15-inch Borrani chrome wire wheels.

The long sloping bonnet ends with a full-width grille.

The front seat retractable head rest.

The air vent on the front wing.

One of the two lockable fuel filler flaps.

The rear tail light. Note the over-rider with rubber inset.

A large Trident adorns the radiator grille.

From Jörg in Germany

"Refering to Your new Ghibli page, I found a few errors and omissions:

1. Power steering was always an expensive option (but very useful if you drive the car around the town). The pictures of the engine bay shows a car with power steering. The alternator had to be "moved" upwards, because the oil pump was normally in the alternator position.

2. Increasing the engine capacity was done by a lengthening the stroke, which required a new crankshaft. The bore at 4.7 and 4.9 is 93.9 mm (This was due to a typing error!). You did it correctly at our Indy page.

3. The tyre size was originally 205-15 VR. Later cars had 215/70 VR 15. Today it is impossible to find the original tyre size (in VR), which is a pity, because of their larger diameter they are more suited to the car's design.

4. You did not mention the biggest change in the car's design, the modification of the boot. On the early cars, up to #200 (ca.) the was boot/ trunk lid was around the back down to the bumper.

There were a few minor changes in the the car's specification:

The early cars had solid brake discs, later cars had ventilated ones.

The early cars had real "knock-off's", some very early cars with 42 spokes, later 52 spokes. Later cars had a four-bolt wheel mounting.

Some early cars had Smith instruments.




and..... I never believe, that there is a Ghibli in existance with 1200 kg only, (This was due to a typing error!) 1550 to 1600kg is more realistic. Same with the Khamsin, which is 1750 kg dry. The old Maserati had been very, very heavy cars. For example a QP III is 2200 kg dry. Believe me, we had all the cars on a balance.

Thank you Jörg. It's always nice to receive feedback.

Follow-up from Jörg in Germany (31-10-2002)

"Hello Enrico,

I have attached two pictures. The Swiss car, I spotted at the International Meeting in Gstaad in 1997, the other is from a sales brochure. It is the brochure with the red car and the girl. The following brochure was with the blue car (I think, You have this).

The boot of the prototype Ghibli with the larger opening.

The production car with restricted boot access.

There is a photo in the Crump/de la Rive Box book "Maserati Road cars" on page 156 too. This is the prototype car. This car was always used for early press-presentation. The boot of early series cars were different from that particular car. It is the only Ghibli with good access to the boot. It is the car without door-handles. It had a push-button mechanism near the window. Do You have a coloured picture of that car? The journalist Paul Frere described its colour as "bronze-gold", and I wonder how does it look. What happened to that car??

Best regards



Body type 2+2 Coupé
Production years From 1966 to 1973
Engine Front engined V8-cylinder @ 90º
Bore and stroke 93.9 mm X 85 mm (from 1970 93.9 x 89 mm)
Engine capacity 4719 cc (from 1970 4930 cc)
Compression ratio 8.5:1
Maximum power 330 bhp @ 5000 rpm (from 1970 335 bhp @ 5500 rpm)
Distribution Four overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder
Induction system Four twin-choke 40 DCNL/5 Weber carburettors
Ignition Single with Marelli distributor
Lubrification Forced with pressure pump
Transmission Rear wheel drive
Differential Salisbury 'live' axle
Clutch Dry single plate with flexible coupling and hydraulic control
Gearbox 5 speed and reverse
Chassis Welded tubular chassis
Front suspension:- Independent wheels, coil-springs, telescopic shock-absorbers and anti-roll bar
Rear suspension:- Rigid axle, semi-elliptical leaf-springs, telescopic shock-absorbers and anti-roll bar
Brakes Hydraulically operated disc brakes on all four wheels
Wheelbase 2550 mm
Wheel tracks Front 1440 mm    Rear 1400 mm
Tyres Front:- 205 x 15 (215 x 15)    Rear:- 205 x 16 (215 x 15)
Dry weight 1200 kg
Maximum speed 270 kph (from 1970 280 kph)
Models constructed 1274 including 125 Spyders

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