In 1958, while searching for the perfect Grand Touring car in which to traverse his beautiful country, the Shah of Persia (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) commissioned Maserati's chief engineer Giulio Alfieri to drop the 5.0-litre V8 engine from the redundant 450S racer into a 3500GT chassis, before having the entire car clothed with a lavish body by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan. The resulting AM103 project continued through during 1959, and was in effect a new car and not merely a customisation.
The resulting car, which was christened the 5000GT, really was the pinnacle of automotive glamour, performance, and luxury. Owing to its eye-watering price tag (similar to a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud), just 34 examples were built for royals, heads of state, wealthy industrialists, and actors alike.
The most interesting fact of the Maserati 5000 GT was that it was built with bodywork by almost all the leading Italian coachbuilders of the time, including Allemano, Pininfarina, Monterosa, Ghia, Bertone, Frua, and Michelotti for Vignale. But while cars were bodied by various coachbuilders it’s the original Touring-designed examples — the ‘Shah of Persia’, of which three were produced — that are widely considered the most beautiful.
The second car, also a Shah of Persia by Touring, was displayed at Salone dell'automobile di Torino 1959.
Other star customers included Prince Karim Aga Khan (car with bodywork by Carozzeria Frua), Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli (Carozzeria Pininfarina), industrialist Ferdinando Innocenti (Carrozzeria Ghia), film star Stewart Granger (Carrozzeria Allemano) and Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos (Carrozzeria Allemano).
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
We use Coachbuild.com almost daily as our main reference source!
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We use Coachbuild.com all the time for references!
- Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
We are very impressed by your website!
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