Maserati 5000GT value assessment
As the Charles Dickens quote goes, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times and it was into that environment that the 5000GT was born but to understand the type one must go back a few years and comprehend the history of the Modenese firm. Under Orsi ownership, Maserati had developed the A6G and from that platform came the 250F Grand Prix cars and various sports racing cars. Juan Manual Fangio had joined the Maserati team in 1957 and he managed to take the Formula 1 World Drivers Championship while the works were developing their first production car, the 3500GT. The best of times should have been a boon but Maserati were also developing their Sports cars in parallel with the 250F and with the 300S they began to challenge Ferrari and take WEC wins. Maserati engineer Alfieri had developed the 3 litre 300S engine into the 325bhp 3.5 litre but also designed an entirely new V12 engine in both 2.5 litre Grand Prix and 335bhp 3.5 litre Sports car formats for late 1956. Alfieri didn’t stop there and as early as 1955 they had began design work for a large bore V8 although this development was shelved after the 1955 Le Mans disaster and it was only the order by Tony Parravano for a V8 engine to use in a Kurtis chassis at Indianapolis that saw it resume.
This new Tipo 54 engine was developed in various sizes, most famously the 4.5 litre engine used in the 450s sportsracer which was itself based on the 350S which was the penultimate development of the 300S. Launched at the Swedish GP in August 1956, the 450s was very fast, loud yet a little underdone and further development was required. Some $100k US (in 1956 dollars) was spent during the project and wins at the Sebring 12 Hours and Swedish GP had seen the firm in with a slim chance to win the WEC championship. This was achieved despite several disastrous rounds including Le Mans where they entered the unique Zagato/Costin Coupe which was a failure, the Mille Miglia where (among 27 works Maserati) they entered a 450S for Moss/Jenkinson who retired after just 12km when the accelerator pedal sheared off. Ferrari had only won two of the other rounds (Aston Martin and Jaguar took out the others) so the battle would be decided at the Venezuela GP with Maserati needing to win and ensure Ferrari finishes no better than sixth.
After the Le Mans tragedy in 1955 the CSI (the forerunner of the FIA) were considering the first limits to what had previously been a formula libre category and they chose a 3 litre limit for 1958 and this was announced in mid 1957. This made the Venezuelan GP even more important for Maserati since they had stopped developing the 300S in favour of now outlawed cars and they entered two 450s, a 350s and a 300s for the race with the intention for them to finish well and be sold afterwards while a locally entered 300S and the Temple Buell 450s were also entered. The 350s didn’t start and the start of the race saw Gregory distracted and looking at the chasing pack rather than the circuit when he forgot to brake and crashed, rolling the Buell 450s on lap 1. Behra and Moss managed to take the lead in their 450s until Moss had a stray AC Ace swerve in front of him and the big Maserati cut the little Ace in half, scratch another 450s. Behra in the last surviving 450s pitted for the first time and the car caught fire although it was soon extinguished and Moss continued although only for a lap since the seat was burning a hole in the seat of his pants.
When the fire was finally extinguished Schell did manage to continue in the last 450s although now some way behind the Ferrari’s. Bonnier had been doing well in the relatively slow Maserati 300s, running in third with the 450s coming up from behind to pass. As Schell went by the 300s suffered a freak tire blowout and skidded into Schell. Bonnier managed to extricate himself just as the 300s hit a lamp post while the 450s hit a wall and luckily Schell was thrown out as the car caught fire and quickly became a burnt out hulk. The 350s and 450s could have been sold for $20k each and somewhat offset the development costs but that plan went up in smoke along with Maserati’s hopes of winning the WEC. Adolfo Orsi had met with President Peron while attending the Argentine Grand Prix in 1955 and this contact lead to an agreement to supply machine tools in exchange for wheat with Maserati borrowing money against the wheat so the machine tools could be delivered during 1956.
Unfortunately the Peron government had been ousted in the meantime and with only some of the wheat delivered, Maserati was left with $3 million in debts. Maserati fortunes were changing drastically as withdrew from racing in late 1957 although they had already developed their first passenger car, a luxury GT for series production. The closest Maserati had ever come to a production car was the A6G/2000 and A6G/54 that was based on a competition type chassis and engine much like Ferrari’s early production cars. Like their neighbours in Maranello they were aware they needed to find ways of creating revenue streams that would then be used to fund their racing campaigns so he developed the A6G/2000 tubular platform chassis. This platform was stretched to a 2600mm wheelbase allowing a comfortable 2+2 interior. As developed for racing the 3.5 litre straight 6 engine was used in the 350s but this formed the basis for the road cars engine.
This engine was fitted with Marelli ignition, dual fuel pumps and three twin-choke Weber 42DCOE carbs although it was switched to wet sump for the 3500GT offering 220bhp at 5,500rpm. Due to Fiats dominance and the Italian tax system, Maserati couldn’t use local parts suppliers but this was easily remedied by looking internationally and they chose a Borg & Beck clutch, ZF 4 speed manual, Salisbury rear axle, Girling brakes and Alford & Alder suspension parts as standard equipment. Ferrari dealer Franco Cornacchia had high level contacts at both Touring Superleggera and Maserati and suggested Maserati owner Omar Orsi meet with Touring principal Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni. Touring proceeded to design and body the two prototipo 3500GT shown on debut at the Salon de Geneve in 1957 using its patented lightweight Superleggera method which relied on small diameter tubing and aluminium coachwork for both rigidity and light weight.
The Shah of Persia, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, had been impressed by the 3500GT but wanted something unique so visited Modena and discussions saw him commission a new car. Maserati already had a stock of unused 450s engine and so they chose to dust them off and fit them to the 3500GT platform with special coachwork and while initially unique the Shahs car was effectively the prototipo 5000GT. The second car for Basil Read were also fitted with a spare 450s racecar engine (some sources say three in total), and all of these early cars had the bore increased to 98mm giving 4938cc and 340bhp. The compression ratio was reduced from 9.8:1 to 8.5:1 to be less sensitive to fuel octane ratings, the engines lubrication was changed from dry sump to a simpler wet sump system although with an external oil cooler fed by a separate belt-driven circulating pump.
Fitted to a 3500GT chassis that was strengthened throughout and fitted with upgraded brakes, these luxury GT weighed in at 1652kg and cost $14k at a time when the average US car was $3k and even a Ferrari 250GT California was $12k. After the first two or three cars were built, Maserati decided to officially offer the 5000GT as part of its model range and they changed the specification with a new Tipo 103AM engine of 94 x 89mm form (4941cc) producing 325hp on offer. Tipo 103AM engines also featured Triple chains in place of the 450s gear driven cams to alleviate the clatter of the earlier cars. Most post 1961 had Lucas Fuel Injection in place of the originals Triple Webers. Elsewhere the original cars rear Drum brakes was replaced by Disc brakes all round.
While all 5000GT were by their nature bespoke, the general specification was pre 1961 and post 1961 so hence the occasional (or)
– 81mm bore x 98.5mm stroke (4938cc/301cui) or 94x89mm (4941cc/301cui)
– 340bhp (4938cc) or 325bhp (4941cc) @ 5700rpm
– 8.5:1 compression ratio
– 2 valves per cylinder
– Double overhead Cams, gear driven or triple chains
– Triple Weber (either 45IDM or 46IDM) or Lucas Fuel Injection
– ZF 4 speed manual or ZF 5 speed manual
– Twin plate clutch
– 3.54:1 rear axle gave
– Independent w/Transverse Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs, Hydraulic Shock Absorbers
– Girling disc brakes (front) and Drums (rear) or Girling disc brakes all round
– 4760mm long
– 2600mm wheelbase
– 1700mm wide
The 5000GT was really a car from a prior generation, a homage to the great cars of the 1930s, offered as a chassis only. The client was expected to pay a substantial deposit and choose the spec and given free reign over the coachwork. It may have been intended as a one off, but it is believed that 35 (sources differ between 32 and 36) examples of the 5000GT would eventually be built although two of these were rebuilt with different chassis numbers so only 33 existed at any one time. The final example was not delivered until 1966, fully 8 years after the first. While the first two were fitted with Touring coachwork the following chart shows that by far the most common coachbuilder was Allemano who clothed 22 examples with their Coupe coachwork while 4 featured Touring Coupe coachwork, 4 Frua Coupe coachwork, 2 Monterosa Coupe coachwork, 1 Pininfarina Coupe, 1 Vignale Coupe and 1 Ghia Coupe.
Like some 1930s exotics, 5000GT really were the cars of kings, buyers including the aforementioned Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (the last Shah of Iran), Basil Read (the South African owner of the Kyalami race circuit), President Lopez Mateos of Mexico, the Aga Khan and Prince Saud of the Saudi royal family. Other owners included Italian motoring royalty the Innocenti family and Gianni Agnelli, the Fiat patron who ordered his car with Fiat style coachwork by Pininfarina to alleviate the image of him as a profligate spender. American car royalty Briggs Cunningham was also a buyer and commissioned Michelotti to design coachwork intended to mimic the Fantuzzi bodies on the 450s although it turned out to be a thoroughly modern and aerodynamic example in execution. Perhaps the most iconic example was the car owned by Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh who released a song “Life’s been good” that immortalised the car with the line ‘My Maserati does one-eighty-five; I lost my license, now I don’t drive’.
Known for its speed, absolute comfort, handling and immense power perhaps the best commentary comes from Classic and Sportscar editor Mick Walsh who drove #AM103*026 in 2013 noting that it was one of the best sorted examples. Walsh noted that “the 5000GT is easy to drive with its silky low-geared steering. Rush the ZF gearchange and it’ll grate, but once you are in tune with its timing, the action is precise. The clutch is heavy and requires a hefty push but, with so much torque in reserve, the car will cruise easily even if you wrong-slot. The brakes lack feel, but I’m assured that when you really push they transform and bite hard. First impressions are of a superb ride – even over pavé – a taut chassis and minimal steering kickback.” and “once on the open road I finally get the chance to unleash the engine’s glorious power. From an edgy rumble as we slow for a clear stretch, I bury the throttle and the car lets rip a Wagneresque exhaust crescendo.”
“The 5000GT lunges forward with a glorious growl exclusive to exotic V8s. The engine seems to have a triple range when gunned hard: deep burble builds to vibrant growl before a resounding roar as power peaks. The sensational acceleration rapidly reels in the next junction just as I change into third at 100mph. Even so, there feels much more in reserve and it’s easy to believe that 170mph is within the 5000GT’s grasp. Irritiating as the myriad junctions are, you do get to play Behra in a 450S at every stop thanks to that ferocious power punch and blood-curdling exhaust. All my cynicism over Hans Tanner’s 1959 figures is blasted away each time the 5000GT roars off. All that’s needed now is a Ferrari Superfast for the ultimate supercoupé shootout. Gianni Agnelli had both, fitted with near-identical Pininfarina bodywork, but it’s not recorded which he enjoyed the most. After this spectacular work-out we cut back on a twisty route to Capricorn’s workshop. Through the turns the nose understeers when you enter too quickly, and the steering starts to feel sleepy. The short, flat seats also offer limited support through the turns, but these are minor quibbles. Like so many Maseratis this is a bargain compared to rival Ferraris, even after a hefty bill for sorting that wild motor.”
Appendix 1 – Coachwork and owners
|103*002||103*002||Touring Coupe||1959||Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Iran||Via Sothebys Maranello ‘05 Not sold @ $800+k|
|103*004||103*004||Touring Coupe||1959||Basil Read, South Africa||Via RM Amelia Island ‘03 $495k, USA ‘13|
|103*006||103*006||Monterosa Coupe||1962||Rolf Helm, Germany||Tom Coady, USA|
|103*008||103*008||Pininfarina Coupe||1961||Gianni Agnelli, Italy||Via Christies ‘70s.|
|103*010||103*010||Touring Coupe||1961||Renumbered #103*090||N/A|
|103*012||103*012||Monterosa Coupe||1961||Sig. Filippo Montinari, Italy||Unknown|
|103*014||103*014||Allemano Coupe||1961||William Brown, USA||See below|
|103*016||103*016||Vignale Coupe||1961||Briggs Cunningham, USA||See below|
|103*018||103*018||Ghia Coupe||1961||Innocenti family, Italy||Unknown, UK/Saudi Arabia|
|103*020||103*020||Allemano Coupe||1961||Roussell, France||Unknown, Russia (converted to DHC)|
|103*022||103*022||Allemano Coupe||1961||President Lopez Mateos, Mexico||Unknown, USA (Believed fitted with prototipo Mexico coachwork)|
|103*024||103*024||Allemano Coupe||1962||D.E.A., Italy||Unknown, Europe|
|103*026||103*026||Allemano Coupe||1964||Alfredo Belponer, Italy||Via RM London, Sept. ‘18|
|103*028||103*028||Allemano Coupe||1962||Ricardo di Portanova, Italy||Via Bonhams ‘04 $225k|
|103*030||103*030||Allemano Coupe||1962||Pavonlelli & Gaetavo, Italy||Unknown, USA|
|103*032||103*032||Allemano Coupe||1963||Pier Franceto Martini, Italy||Unknown, Europe|
|103*034||103*034||Allemano Coupe||1962||Marcel Leclef, France||Unknown, USA|
|103*036||103*036||Allemano Coupe||1963||Merz & Pobst, Germany||Unknown, Germany|
|103*038||103*038||Allemano Coupe||1963||Martinelli & Sonvico||Unknown, Europe|
|103*040||103*040||Allemano Coupe||1962||Adriano Gorni, Switzerland||Via RM Monterey ‘18|
|103*042||103*042||Allemano Coupe||1962||Auto O’Farril, Mexico||Unknown, USA|
|103*044||103*044||Allemano Coupe||1962||Umberto Fraschetti, Italy||See below|
|103*046||103*046||Allemano Coupe||1963||Piero Maria Merli Brandini, Italy||See below|
|103*048||103*048||Frua Coupe||1962||Renumbered #103*064||N/A|
|103*050||103*050>*066||Allemano Coupe||1963||Martinelli & Sonvico||Unknown, Europe|
|103*052||103*052||Allemano Coupe||1963||Martinelli & Sonvico||Via Sothebys ‘93 $59k|
|103*054||103*054||Allemano Coupe||1962||Giuseppe Camola, Italy||Via Bonhams Monaco ‘04 Not sold 220k EURO|
|103*056||103*056||Allemano Coupe||1963||Martinelli & Sonvico||Via Lukas Huni ‘10|
|103*058||103*058||Allemano Coupe||1964||Jose Bascones Ayreto, Spain||See below|
|103*060||103*060||Frua Coupe||1962||Aga Khan, Iran||See below|
|103*062||103*062||Allemano Coupe||1964||Giancarlo Guasti, Italy||Panini collection, Italy|
|103*064||103*064||Frua Coupe||1963||Prince Abdel Majid Bin Saud, Saudi Arabia||See below|
|103*066||103*066||Allemano Coupe||1964||Auto-Konig, Germany||Unknown, Europe|
|103*090||103*090||Touring Coupe||1965||Prince Abdel Majid Bin Saud, Saudi Arabia||Unknown|
|103*100||103*100||Frua Coupe||1966||Engelhardt, Germany||Via Motorcar Gallery ‘12|
Sales (2007 – 2018)
Auto Auctions Monthly only covers from 2007 to 2018 and even that coverage stretches the boundaries of what can logically be seen as relevant. Prior to 2007 the 5000GT were fetching between $225k and $495k depending on quality and coachwork. Perhaps the most interesting offer of the period was #AM103*002, which was the prototipo produced for Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, offered in (1-/near perfect) condition with just 9,000 miles and fresh from an engine rebuild by DK Engineering. This car was offered at Sothebys unsuccessful Maranello sale with an $800k low estimate and like many lots at the rather poor sale had an estimate that was 50 to 100% above market value. The next offer was #AM103*060 which was offered at Gooding Pebble Beach in 2007, this car was one of just three bodied by Frua with highly luxurious coachwork by Frua for the Shah of Iran. This was the only one actually bought by the Shah (#048/064 was loaned to him but later sold to Prince Saud, #100 was sold to the Aga Khans architect, Herr Engelhardt in Germany).
Accoutrements included a centre mounted 300kph speedometer in the centre of the dashboard, lavish chrome work and even a 45rpm record player hidden in the dash while the interior was fitted with the finest light beige Connolly leather. #060 was painted Savidin Penombra, a Dusk Grey with pink and purple highlights and displayed at the Salon de Paris in 1962 by Maserati importers Ets. Thepenier where it wowed the crowds as one of the most expensive cars on offer. Restored in the 1990s before sale to Alfredo Brener (1 of 5 5000GT he would own) and repainted in its original colour, it came 2nd in its class at Pebble Beach in ‘99. Offered and sold twice in 2003 and 2004 it had fetched $319k and not sold at $267k which puts the sum fetched at Gooding Pebble, $1,100,000 (against a $650 – 850k estimate) into stark relief. Yes it was rare, had a fabulous story, provenance and was in concours winning condition but it wasn’t the most attractive 5000GT and the high price likely says more about the Gooding marketing team and the volatility of auctions than it does about 5000GT values.
The next offer was #AM103*046, the 23rd of the 35 examples and the 15th of the 22 fitted with Allemano Coupe coachwork. Originally delivered to Piero Luigi Maria Brandini in Italy, it was later exported to Venezuela where it was discovered and latter repatriated to Europe. An unrestored but complete original car, Maserati specialist Bill McGrath restored it over a decade to showroom condition in its original livery of Blu Sera Metallizzato over Bianco leather. #046 was the sole 5000GT fitted with air conditioning from new and as a later production car fitted with the ZF 5 speed manual gearbox. Against a perfectly reasonable $600 – 800k estimate it failed to sell at a reported high bid of just $380k.
The 14th Allemano Coupe, #AM103*044 was next on offer at Bonhams Retromobile sale in 2009, this example was delivered to Ing. Umberto Fraschetti in Rosso Rubino over Nero Connolly leather and while it was a later production car it only had the 4 speed ZF manual. #044 later passed to Sweden and later still to Germany where it was restored to what Bonhams described as “exceptionally fine condition throughout” but experts present noted “Variable panel gaps. Older paint has some chips, stress cracks, rubs, and spidering” and said it rated just (3- or average). Bonhams estimated #044 at €350 – 450k or $448 – 576k which was probably about right for the market (2009 was the year the GFC truly hurt and prices were down across the board) and the condition as noted. #AM103*046 was offered once more in the same condition at Gooding Amelia Island in 2010 with a $575 – 675k estimate and the high bid of $520k saw it fail once more.
#AM103*058 was the 20th example of the Allemano Coupe and was originally delivered to José Bascones Ayreto in Spain and while no history was given, it was said to have been mechanically restored by Giulani and repainted in its original livery of Blu Sera. #058 was offered by Artcurial at its Le Mans sale in 2010 (with the market just starting to return from 2009s lows) and they noted it to be “in a very good state of presentation and working order” although experts present noted the car was “borderline shabby inside and out. Bumpy rechromed bumpers, interior worn” and classified it a 3- or merely average. #058 sold for €255,282 ($322,600) which was not an unreasonable amount for a car needing at least reconditioning if not a full restoration and accurately reflected the market. Bonhams offered #AM103*046 at Quail Lodge in 2011 in unchanged very good condition (2-) finally sold for $557k which was appropriate for the condition and market.
RM offered the first of the three Frua Coupes, #AM103*048/064, a car possibly ordered by Aga Khan and loaned to John Simeone as well as displayed at the 1962 Salon de Geneve in its original Oro Metallizzato (Metallic Gold) over Deerskin livery, it was later returned to Modena and repainted Blue-Grey before display at the Salon de Paris in late 1962. Finally it was refurbished and renumbered as #AM103*064 before sale to Instituto Farmacoterapico who himself returned the car in 1966 and redone in Rosso Rubino before it was sold to Abdel Majid bin-Saud, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia for his father, King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who was then living in exile in Egypt although it was soon impounded for non payment of taxes. Actually it was the seven day war and Egypt requiring the support of the new govt. In Saudi Arabia that saw them compelled to expel the Saud family and impound the car. #048/064 was stored for nearly 30 years in Cairo and discovered in the very late 1990s, famously offered at Bonhams Monaco in 2000 in as found (4 – good driver/poor cosmetic) condition and sold for a well over estimate $333k despite requiring $500+k in restoration. Bought by John Bookout, the car was restored by Giuseppe Candini, Franco Bacchelli and Roberto Villa over four years and won awards at Villa d’Este in 2004. Repainted in its original Rosso Rubino and offered in “sensational” condition, rated as a (2 or very good) this was one of the best 5000GT out there although the looks were more distinctive than pretty. Against a crazy strong $2.2 – 2.9 million estimate the car failed to sell at a reported $1.8 million high bid, which surely would have been all the money for the car.
#AM103*014 was specially built with unique Allemano coachwork to a Giovanni Michelotti design for William Brown, a Pennsylvania businessman and was uniquely nicknamed Indianapolis. Later sold to the UK and losing its engine, the vendor purchased the car in ‘96 and managed to acquire the original engine from Bill McGrath. #AM103*014 was
restored by Francorchamps of America and others to exceptional condition. Experts present noted #014 was in very good, almost concours (2+) condition and deserved the $1.677 million sale against a $1.5 – 2 million estimate when offered at Gooding Pebble Beach in 2016.
The most recent example offered was #AM103*016 with its unique Michelotti designed coachwork commissioned by American sportsman and car collector Briggs Cunningham. Briggs design brief called for a car that closely mimicked the original 450s. In reality it was only similar in the curves over its fenders and was otherwise a truly modern creation with a
glassy greenhouse, chrome strakes and a semi tapered deck. The headlights were hidden with a small opening grill covering them when not in use. #016 was another 5000GT that was owned by Alfredo Brener although it had already been restored when he purchased it. Offered at RM Monterey in 2017 in condition 2 (very good) condition with a reasonable $1.1 – 1.4 million estimate, this unique car was let go for just $1.017 million, which was a slight under market results (perhaps $100k too light).
Two further cars are on offer in August/September 2018, #AM103*040 and #AM103*026. The first of these is on offer at RM Monterey in late August and covered in depth in the valuation chapter below while the other is the famous ex Joe Walsh car. #026 is believed to be the example that spawned the quote “My Maserati does 185” having been both the subject of one of the most popular hits of the 1970s and also exposed to the worst examples of modern bureaucracy on offer. Bizarrely enough the most recent owner of #026 is an Australian native although the car is understood to have remained in the UK until late 2017 when the Maserati Global Gathering was launched with the launch event hosted in Australia. This exciting initiative was launched by both Maserati, and hence FCA, and the local Maserati owners club, in this case the Maserati Owners Club of Australia. Each of the cars entered, many European and American owned had paid at least $4,000 AUD and shipped their cars to Melbourne, Australia for the start of the event which involved driving from Melbourne to Sydney.
Australia, like most of the world, had decided to get hard on the use or import of asbestos and legislated to allow random spot checks of imported items for asbestos. The import of multiple Maserati from 1956 to 2018 caused someone within Australian Border Control to decide to impound eight of the more important examples for checks to see whether they contained asbestos. Perhaps the worst part of this entire affair is that the only test that was then allowed was an invasive inspection that could have involved drilling into the chassis and other selected parts. At that point the worlds media covered the sorry saga which can be found easily on the internet although I would note there has been little further word on the issue and the likely answer was to export #026 before any damage could be done. That said, if anyone is interested in #026 a thorough check of what, if any, damage that was done is essential.
Fig.1 All sales calculated as gross sale (US$) and (US$) low estimate for no sales
Fig.2 All sales calculated as gross sale (US$) and (US$) low estimate for no sales
Despite the extreme rarity of the type, enough sale data exists to get a handle on the model and some of the value strata and correlations although some relevance must be duly required. Being so prevalent, the Allemano Coupes have value dynamics all of their own while the others are produced in much more limited quantities and they have other value dynamics. Allemano Coupes are a well defined item and while some say the tail treatment is fussy, it remains that they are a highly elegant, fast, luxurious Coupe and their value is dependent on two factors, primarily condition but also, and frequently more importantly, extraneous factors, which will be covered later. Whether a buyer buys a 5000GT intending to drive it on various driving events or show it at the worlds finest concours, that option is open to them but they will need to consider the quality of the vehicle on offer and whether that example best suits their intended purpose.
Should the car be intended for driving, a collector can yield some cosmetic quality in favour of reliable mechanical condition and an expert such as Bill McGrath would ensure the chosen example is in tip top shape although this will always be a continuous process. From start to end, even a basic rebuild would cost roughly $100k USD to do everything to a driver level and every year of even minimal use might require $10 – 20k maintenance. So it follows that any example with excellent mechanical condition and preferably great maintenance history should carry a $100 – 200k premium over a car with dubious mechanical condition, after all no purchaser wants to spend seven figures to find out they need to spend another six figures and several months before they can drive their new pride and joy. Should the buyer be thinking about concours success they need to consider those six figure numbers bargains indeed.
Many 5000GT are offered in restored condition although few have ever been offered in #1 condition and none with an accurate description of the costs involved. That said an Aston Martin DB4/5 or Ferrari 400 Superamerica would cost $300 – 400k to restore to concours condition and that would assume a decent driver quality car to base the restoration upon. As an example, the 5000GT that was sold at Artcurial back in 2010 required a figure within the low amount quoted to restore it to the quality needed for local concours while an event like Pebble Beach might require $400 – 500k in expense before one sees success worthy of the time and expense. Further, you can consider an opportunity cost of someone else spending the years it can take to restore a car and the potential risk and expense, so that the buyer can have immediate enjoyment.
An accurate value range for the Allemano Coupes is
Condition 5 – 6: $750 – 850k
Condition 4: $850 – 950k
Condition 3: $950k – 1.1 million
Condition 2: $1.1 – 1.2 million
Condition 1: $1.2 – 1.4 million
The non Allemano Coupes are either unique or ultra low production and add a third major value dynamic centred around perceptions of beauty. Any discussion of beauty touches on subjects outside the purview of this document and perhaps the most appropriate answer is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perceptions of beauty are usually proven or disproven when an example is offered and they do lend themselves to irrational bidding since it is easy to market them as unique. If you fall in love with say a Frua Coupe and know that its your one chance to buy you will be at least encouraged to bid far above any reasonable market value and it is fair to say its worth what the high bidder deems it so. There is some added value to these cars compared to the Allemano Coupes which are relatively common and whereas there would be plenty of competition for an Allemano Pebble Beach whereas a unique car is always going to be welcome.
Aside from the beauty and rarity dynamics it should be remembered that they share all of the other value dynamics that the Allemano Coupes do all these values overlay to create a type of matrix. For example a Frua Coupe in poor condition would be due a value boost due to its rarity and a potential large value boost depending on personal taste but would also have a value reduction due to the poor condition. Where the Allemano Coupes might top out at $1.4 million, these cars could be worth closer to $2 million.
5000GT with Special bodywork value range:
Condition 5 – 6: $750 – 1 million
Condition 4: $1 – 1.2 million
Condition 3: $1.2 – 1.4 million
Condition 2: $1.4 – 1.6 million
Condition 1: $1.6 – 1.8 million
An interesting example worthy of contemplating in light of what has already been discussed is #AM103*016, the 1964 Michelotti Coupe, offered in correct and authentic condition. As a decent car in condition 2 (near concours) fitted with absolutely unique if slightly awkward coachwork, it should have been worth the higher end of the $1.1 – 1.4 million estimate given by RM Monterey in 2017. However it sold for just $1.017 million and its sale is symptomatic of another value dynamic, one already mentioned, the extraneous factors endemic in any auction. The best auctioneers, RM, Gooding and to a lesser extent Bonhams will market any given car to within an inch of its life and there wont be many in the car industry that aren’t aware of any 5000gt being offered. Even with all of that prep work, it still requires two or more bidders to make a successful auction and in some cases this happens either too well or more worryingly, not at all. Whereas a negotiated sale, tender or even a fixed price offer provides certainty to a seller and often to a buyer, an auction can see an amount that would never be fetched by any other type of sale. There are multiple safe guards that can be put in place, not least a full comprehension of fair value (+/- 10 – 20%) or using an agent.
So how does the car on offer at RM Monterey, #AM103*040, compare? This is a relatively common Allemano Coupe although it is painted Blu Sera which really suits these cars since it brings out the elegance in the design. The provenance isn’t perfect because little is known about the 1966 to 1978 period and some value could be added by commissioning an expert such as Walter Baumer to fully explore its history, although maybe it will never be known exactly what happened during that period. As for condition, #040 was refurbished by Vantage Motorworks prior to 1997 who rebuilt the motor, refurbished the paint and the interior. RM note the car to have been “well preserved” and “still in beautiful order”. While it won its class at Pebble Beach in 1997, that was 21 years ago and who knows what well preserved might refer too, hopefully its a positive BUT that would a key question.
At the very minimum I would expect that any buyer would make their intentions to bid clear and expect RM to supply any and all documents pertinent to understand its mechanical and cosmetic condition, even if not physically attending the sale. I would also recommend requesting an inspection of the car to ensure any faults are fully disclosed and that is priced into a bid whether good or bad, this inspection may have already been completed by RM in preparation for the sale. Finally it would be worth seeing if one of the Maserati experts such as Bill McGrath or Walter Baumer or even a knowledgeable dealer you trust are going to be in Monterey for the sale and consider getting them to give the car a once over. As it is #040 would appear to be a nice mid level example of the Allemano Coupe, likely to be in good driver condition, (2 – 3*) and that is exactly where RM have valued it.
For the buyer intending to drive #040 and possibly show it at local and national concours, this car would have potential for use straight out of the box, however there will always be some maintenance needed, no matter how well preserved it might be. Factoring that in, #040 is quite cheap at the low estimate and anything up to a million USD would be acceptable but bids above a million would require some certainty of mechanical and cosmetic condition. The 5000GT is an extremely rare car and its value is pretty much certain to remain at somewhere around the $1 – 1.5 mil. USD range for the immediate future at least.
Appendix 2 – List of cars sold (2007 – 2018)
|#AM103*014 – 1961 Allemano Indianapolis Coupe – Gooding Pebble Beach 20/8/16 #048 – $1,677,500
Grigio Montebello over Rosso leather. Unique Allemano Coupe bodywork fitted for William H. Brown, USA (1), unknown, Jimmy Castle ’73, Richard Kreischer ’75, Oliver Kuttner ’87, Lord Charles Brocket, UK ’91, engine removed, Randy Simon, USA ’95, vendor ’96, original engine repurchased and fitted, restored by Francorchamps and others.
|#AM103*016 – 1964 Michelotti Coupe – RM Monterey 18/8/17 #117 – Est. $1.1 – 1.4 mil. $1,017,500 €866,695 -7%
Grigio over Nero leather. Ordered by Briggs Cunningham, USA (1), bespoke bodywork by Michelotti fitted, Oliver Kuttner (2?), restored, unknown, Alfredo Brener ’98, good driver condition. Correct and authentic. 66,693 miles from new. Unique.
|#AM103*040 – 1962 Allemano Coupe RM Monterey #227 – Est. $900,000 – $1,250,000 €765,000 – €1,062,500
Blu Sera over Rosso leather. 1 of 22 Allemano Coupes, via Martinelli & Sonvico to Dr. Adriano Gorni, Switzerland (1), unknown ’66 (2), unknown, By the 1970s, the car had been imported to the U.S. via Swiss Maserati dealer, Garage Ruf-Oftringen. In 1978, it was noted as being in the ownership of Benjamin Bauer of Houston, Texas. Chassis AM103 040 then passed into the ownership of Norbert Reuter of Switzerland, who commissioned Richard Gorman of Vantage Motorworks to refurbish the paint and upholstery and rebuild the motor. In 1997, the car was displayed by Mr. Reuter at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, appearing in the Custom Coachwork – Postwar class, in which it handily won. Most recently the car’s restoration has been well preserved within a prominent private collection, and is still in beautiful order.
|#AM103*044 – 1962 Allemano Coupe – Bonhams Retromobile 7/2/09 #145 – NS€350000
Rosso Rubino over Nero leather. ZF 4 speed manual, Lucas Fuel injection. 1 of 20 fitted with Allemano Coupe coachwork. Ing. Umberto Fraschetti (1), Silvio Bonetti ‘64 (2), Julius Shapiro, USA ‘71 (3), later to Sweden, later still to Germany. Mechanically restored. Meticulously restored and maintained, ‘044’ has since covered several thousand trouble-free miles across Germany and Europe and is presented in exceptionally fine condition throughout. The car features Borrani wire wheels, shod with original-type Michelin XWX tyres, and comes complete with tool kit.
|#AM103*046 – 1962 Allemano Coupe – Bonhams Quail 18/8/11 #434 $557,000, Gooding Amelia Island 12/3/10 #37 – NS$575000 & Gooding Pebble 16/8/08 #46 – NS$600000
Blu Sera Metallizzato over Blanco leather. 5 speed ZF manual. Piero Maria Merli Brandini, Italy (1), later to Venezuela, discovered ’90’s, returned to Belgium, restored by Bill McGrath over a decade in original livery. Retains originality and absolutely superb.
|#AM103*058 – 1964 Allemano Coupe – Artcurial Le Mans 9/7/10 #153 – $322,600 €255,282
Blu Sera over Nero leather. via Auto Paris to Jose Bascones Ayreto, Spain (1), via Jean Guikas to unnamed ’89 (2), restored by Giulani in Blu Sera by Canisero, Manoir de l’Automobile (2), well maintained.
|#AM103*060 – 1962 – Gooding Pebble 18/8/07 #45 – $1,100,000
Savidin Penombra over light Beige leather. 1 of 3 with Frua bodywork. via Thepenier to Prince Karim Aga Khan, Iran (1), displayed at Paris Shown, very well specced, later returned to France ’66, unknown until discovery, restoration and sale to USA ’90s, later redone in original livery, well maintained. Pebble Beach ’99 award winner.
|#AM103*064 – 1963 Frua Coupe – RM Monterey 15/8/14 #152 – NS$2200000
Oro Metallizato over Deerskin. Built as #AM103.048, bodied by Frua and displayed at the ’62 Geneva Motor Show, loaned to John Simone and Aga Khan, France, refinished in September ’62 in Blu Argento, refurbished ’63 and renumbered as #AM103*064, Instituto Farmacoterapico, Italy (1), returned to Maserati ’66, reconditioned in Rosso Chiaro over deerskin, Abdel Majid bin-Saud, Saudi Arabia (2?), impounded upon import into Egypt due to non payment of taxes, sold at Bonhams Monaco ’00 to John Bookout, USA, restored over four years, Villa d’Este prize winner, unnamed vendor, restored in original livery.
|All information is copyright Auto Auctions Monthly except images which are copyright of Artcurial, Bonhams, Gooding & co., Mecum, RM/ Sothebys, Russo & Steele and Worldwide Auctioneers. All figures are US$ and gross unless specifically stated. All figures are accurate in the home currency for the sale, any figures in other currencies are calculated based on the exchange rate for the date of sale accessed from FxTop.com. Percentages as given are calculated as the % below low estimate or above estimate as noted. All information given for recreational use only and cannot be personally guaranteed for accuracy by the author.|