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What does one usually find in the desert? Sand for one thing, heat, dust and maybe the odd oasis if you are lucky. Now, imagine you are sauntering through the Saudi desert, you notice a car, and you when you get close, you see a Trident badge which can only mean one thing. Providing it’s not a mirage, you have found yourself a Maserati.
Except this is exactly what happened, apart from a bit of dramatic story telling in the previous paragraph, for this 1961 Ghia-bodied Maserati 5000 GT has just been unearthed in Saudi Arabia and is now up for auction by RM Sotheby’s.
The 5000 GT was made in limited numbers and contained a 5-litre race derived V8 engine, which meant 350hp or thereabouts, and this example was the only one of the 34 5000 GT’s built to feature a one-off coach-built body by famed Italian styling house Ghia. The same guys who penned the De Tomaso Pantera and Ford Granada.
It was ordered brand new by the founder of Lambretta Scooters, Ferdinando Innocenti. He held onto the car for a number of years before the Maser went through a few Italian owners before moving to Saudi Arabia. The new owner lost interest in the car and it sat in the desert decaying and becoming overgrown by the sands of time. The owner then passed on many years later and the Maser was brought inside, even though the Saudi police had marked it as an abandoned vehicle.
Now, it’s obvious this gorgeous Maserati has seen better days. In fact, it looks like a hell of a restoration job is required to get this Italian Aristocrat back to full health. However, Sotheby’s have pre-sale estimates of between $500k and $700K US. In Kiwi currency, that will set you back between $764k and $1.07 million.
Hey, if you have ever wanted a project car different from your mates, better get bidding!