The Maserati 5000 GT sports car was truly a car 'Fit for a King', for it was the Shah of Persia, now Iran, who instigated the making of this true supercar. Reza Khan Pahlavi, a great Maserati enthusiast, had apparently been greatly impressed with the performance of the 3500 GT after being taken for a drive by Maserati's test driver Guerino Bertocchi and it was the Shah who gave impetus to this project. This car became known as the 5000GT 'Shah of Persia' and gave rise to a limited production of 'custom made' 5000GTs designated Tipo 103 by the factory. While the Shah was taking delivery of his 5000 GT (#103.002) in Teheran, Maserati were diplaying a similar 5000 GT 'Scia di Persia' (#103.004) at the Salone di Torino. This car was purchased by Basil Read, a South African businessman and owner of the Kyalami race circuit.
All 34 5000 GTs carried custom coachwork by Italy's coachbuilders: Frua, Touring, Pinin Farina and Bertone were among those to fashion bodies for the 5000 GT chassis. However, Allemano, a small coachbuilder with a long association with Maserati, fashioned, what many consider the most elegant and coherent design of all - one which suited the car's aggressive performance and air of exclusivity. The design was penned by Giovanni Michelotti and his characteristic touch shows through in each line, long overhangs and thoughtfully executed details.
The first Allemano bodied 5000 GT (#101.028) was displayed at the Turin Motor Show in 1961 and became known as the 'Indianapolis' in honour of Maserati's victories at the 'Indy 500' in 1939 and 1940. This car is important as it was the basis for the 'production' 5000 GTs. Allemano built 22 examples. After the 'Indianapolis', three more were built that year. In the following year, 12 cars were built, a further 4 cars in 1963 and another 2 cars in 1964.
I am not a natural flatterer, I like to think that I "tell it like it is", politely I hope. So when I tell you that I am very impressed by the contents of your website, it is just not English politeness. I of course love the subject matter but you deal with it in an energetic and respectful manner. I am overwhelmed by the research that has gone into compiling the list of coachbuilders/bodybuilders for Europe and North America. I have never heard of the vast majority of them.
Congratulations on an excellent website.
- N. Maltby of Car Scene International
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