1962 Maserati 5000 GT by Allemano
£1,000,000 - £1,200,000
RM | Sotheby's - LONDON 5 SEPTEMBER 2018 - An Important Maserati Collection
Documents: UK V5
- Offered from an important Maserati collection
- The 5th of 22 Allemano-built 5000 GTs
- Originally owned by Scuderia Corse Brescia principal Alfredo Belponer
- Extensively used on rallies and shown at concours events, including at Pebble Beach
- Featured in numerous classic car magazines
- Restored and maintained by McGrath Maserati since 2008
With profitability shrinking by the late 1950s, Maserati was in dire straits. They gladly accepted an order from the Shah of Iran to fit a 3500 GT with one of the V-8 engines from the monstrous 450 S sports-racer in an effort to keep things moving at the factory. Recognizing that a market existed for a Maserati supercar, the 5000 GT was officially introduced at the 1959 Turin Salon, and two more cars were built utilizing the 4.5-liter alloy engine.
The V-8 was soon re-engineered for better manners around town, displacing almost five litres but developing less compression. In this form, 31 more cars were built for a total of 34 examples. Ordered by elite clientele such as Gianni Agnelli, Briggs Cunningham and the Aga Khan, the 5000 GT was a top-shelf performer with elegant aesthetics that handily challenged the finest offerings from arch-rival Ferrari.
Chassis no. AM103 026 is the fifth of 22 Allemano-built coupes, and the thirteenth of 34 total 5000 GTs constructed (by both chassis number and build date). With factory records stating production as 3 January 1962, the 5000 GT was finished in Rosso Arcoveggio paintwork with an interior upholstered in black leather. The sensational flagship tourer was sold to Brescia resident Alfredo Belponer, the future owner of the Scuderia Brescia Corse, and in May 1964 he drove the Maserati to the GT Grand Prix at Monza.
In July 1964, the 5000 GT was sold to a Milanese manufacturing company called S.r.L. I.R.C.A. (Industrie Riunite Confezioni ed Affini), and then re-sold three months later to pop singer Antonio Ciacci of San Marino. Better known as Little Tony, Ciacci initially achieved renown as a performer in Great Britain during the early 1960s with his band Little Tony & His Brothers (his nickname was an homage to Little Richard). After returning to Italy during 1963, he continued to professionally sing and record and began an acting career that eventually included 20 Italian films. A photograph in two period magazines of the mid-1960s shows Little Tony standing next to chassis AM103 026.
At some point during the late 1960s or early 1970s, the Maserati was exported to the U.S., and the car was understood to have been owned by Joe Walsh, the famed rock guitarist who played in the James Gang and later joined the Eagles. Walsh’s slide guitar sound and technical virtuosity lent the Eagles a new texture that helped propel the group to unprecedented success with the legendary 1976 album Hotel California. Two years later, Walsh released the solo album But Seriously, Folks . . . , including the hit song ‘Life’s Been Good’, in which he sang: ‘My Maserati does one-eighty-five; I lost my license, now I don’t drive’. (In truth, the model’s top speed was closer to 170 mph, but who could blame such artistic license?) If Walsh did indeed own chassis no. AM103 026, then it was undoubtedly the inspiration for one of the ’70s great rock songs, a party anthem that endures to this day.
In May 1985, the 5000 GT was purchased by the well-known Washington-based collector Kenneth McBride, and he undertook some cosmetic freshening. In August 1999, he presented the Maserati at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for display only in that year’s special class of 5000 GTs. His assessment of the car in Maurice Khawam’s book, Maserati 5000 GT, A Significant Automobile, is unequivocally glowing: ‘The fuel injection works smoothly, the beast idles quietly, and roars when you bury the throttle. The acceleration from 50 to 150 mph is smooth, seamless, and inspiring; the best road-going Maserati ever built.’
In August 2002, the Allemano coupé was purchased in Carmel Valley, California, by Hong Kong collector Ian Wade, and it was exported to Great Britain and garaged. Terry Healy of Oldtimer Australia purchased the car in August of 2007 and sold it to the consignor to be part of his growing collection of Maseratis. The owner sent the car to the marque experts at McGrath Maserati, and they commenced a comprehensive freshening that included a complete rebuild of its original 5.0-litre V-8. Several mechanical upgrades were tastefully implemented for greater safety and comfort during event use, including a dual-circuit master cylinder for improved braking, and low-speed steering power-assist to aid in parking.
Upon the restoration’s completion, the 5000 GT was entered at numerous events, starting with the International Maserati Rally at Goodwood in October 2009, and display at the NEC Classic Motor Show in Birmingham a month later. In March 2010, the car was presented at the Royal Automobile Club at Pall Mall and in July it was exhibited at Salon Privé. A few days later the Maserati entered the Silverstone Classic and in September it won Best of Show at the Concours d’Elegance held in conjunction with the International Maserati Rally in Bastad, Sweden.
In June 2011, chassis no. AM103 026 won its class at the Maserati Club UK Annual Concours d’Elegance at Stanford Hall, an honour it repeated later in the month at the Maserati Club’s Concours d’Elegance at Graypaul. Five months later, the car participated in the Brooklands Autumn Motorsport Day, and it also ran the Maserati Club UK’s tour of Southern Ireland in 2012, winning its class at the related Concours d’Elegance at Wexford. In April 2013, the 5000 GT took 1st at a club event in Northern Spain, and won its class again at the Maserati International Rally and Concours d’Elegance in Montreux, Switzerland.
In September 2014, the 5000 GT participated in Maserati’s official Centennial International Gathering, running a special tour from Bologna through Modena to Turin, and receiving a class award at the concluding Concours d’Elegance in Turin. Two months later the coupé was awarded Car of the Show at the NEC Classic Motor Show.
Featured in enthusiast magazines such as Classic Cars, Classic & Sports Car and Auto Italia, this sensational and rare 5000 GT Allemano retains its original V-8, and is documented with a huge file of research and invoices from McGrath Maserati chronicling all of its recent restoration work and servicing, with the last invoice dated October 2017. Having been driven extensively around Europe with its current custodian during his ownership, including drives in Ireland, Northern Spain, the South of France, Ireland and 1,600 km in Norway last year, it is more than ready to return to the open road.
Abounding in understated elegance and presented with exceptional authenticity, this breath-taking and powerful 5000 GT would make a crowning addition to any sporting collection, inviting the consideration of Modena connoisseurs and supercar enthusiasts worldwide.