The very first 1968 Maserati Ghibli Spyder prototype is sold in Monterey

After Maserati introduced the Ghibli coupé at the 1966 Turin Motor Show, it quickly became a jet set darling and demand for a convertible version quickly arose. Too happy to help, the car manufacturer ordered this prototype from Ghia.

The first of just 125 examples built, this Maserati Ghibli Spyder bears chassis number 1001 and features a few unique touches. Drawing on Giorgetto Giugiaro’s superb bodywork, this example differs from the eventual production vehicle in its door handles (which are mounted on recessed ovals) and its lack of external fuel filler caps (they are instead hidden in the chest).

The rear deck lid is also longer on this prototype than on the production model, and it features a character line to improve rigidity. The radio aerial, meanwhile, is in a different location than later models and the badges are placed together on the driver’s side, rather than one on either side of the rear.

Read also: The first Maserati Ghibli Spyder goes under the hammer

Mechanically, the car is similar to the production car, but its heads are built with extra openings to accommodate a twin-spark ignition, a feature common to early examples of the 310 hp (231 kW/4.7-litre) V8. 314 hp). , although it is believed that no car has ever been equipped with it.

Although it doesn’t look exactly like the eventual production version of the Ghibli Spyder, many members of the public have become familiar with this particular example through its public appearance at the 1968 Turin Motor Show and its features. in Quattroruote and Road & Track.

The car was brought to America in the 70s and in the 80s it was put into long-term storage. This meant that it was still in fairly good condition, although some modifications had been made over the years, such as the installation of mirrors and speakers.

In 2018, however, she was sold at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale and the new owner sent her to RM Auto Restoration for a complete refurbishment. The restoration included a complete rebuild of the engine, Weber carburettors, distributor and transmission, as well as brakes and suspension. The radiator was re-flooded and a new wiring harness, water pump and hoses were installed.

The dashboard, meanwhile, was reupholstered in appropriate mouse hair fabric and new brown carpeting was installed. The seats and interior were upholstered in brown Maserati leather, the windscreen was replaced and sealed, the Campagnolo alloy wheels were refurbished and they received new Pirelli Cinturato tires.

The body was also stripped down to bare metal and repainted in the correct Giallo paint while the soft top was rebuilt and relined with new maroon canvas, and all shine work restored to make the car look like new. Following her $422,000 restoration, estimates suggest she will sell for between $1,250,000 and $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction Friday, August 19.

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