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Maserati Ghibli: Italian Perfection

January 20, 2012 by Matt

Maserati Ghibli 1 I Red Burgundy Maroon Auburn

On occasion, it behooves me, as a designer, to draw my readers’ attention to a classic but often forgotten automotive shape.

One of the most beautiful profiles ever to grace the automotive landscape, the legendary stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro got it exactly right with the ’67-’73 Maserati Ghibli—and I do mean exactly. Not a line, not an angle, not a proportion is out of place or poorly-shaped in the image above. The harmony of visual masses does all the talking; there’s absolutely no need for more adornment than the car is given. It’s just…perfect.

Maserati Ghibli 1 I Blue

Pitched as the consummate GT car, the Ghibli arrived on the scene just as the Miura sparked the mid-engined supercar revolution. It thus belongs, like its contemporaries the Iso Grifo and Ferrari Daytona, in the golden age of the front-engined Italian GT, the last hurrah before the powerplant of any respectable range-topping exotic was relocated behind the seats. Motivated by an incredibly thirsty 4.7-4.9l DOHC V8, the four downdraft Weber carbs poured enough fuel down the engine’s gullet for it to crank out 350 hp in the ultimate Ghibli SS iteration.

Maserati Ghibli 1 I Red

It’s an Italian thoroughbred, to be sure, with all the temperamental-ness and heartbreak that implies. That said, the car was certainly more comfortable to drive than many of its rivals, chalk that up to a reasonably spacious cabin and the fact that it was made by an automaker with more experience than anyone at that point with the big Italian GT; they’d been doing it since the 3500GT took the world by storm in ’57. Maserati knew what their customers wanted, and pulled out the stops with the Ghibli—but just the right ones. The combination of excess and restraint is key to the car’s mystique; it goes exactly as far as it needs to go both power- and styling-wise, without putting a toe over the line. The Ghibli was a car that hit the bullseye in so many ways, and it’s a shame its tenure was overshadowed by more flamboyant, more forward-looking yet more exasperating Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

Filed under: Aesthetics, Maserati

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