Monterey

18-19 August 2017

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Lot 117

1964 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Michelotti

  • Chassis no. AM103 016
  • Engine no. AM103 016

$1,100,000 - $1,400,000

To be auctioned on Friday, August 18, 2017


Please note that Internet bidding is not available for this lot. Interested parties that are unable to attend the sale may register to bid by telephone or place a commission bid online at rmsothebys.com.

  • Briggs Cunningham’s personal 5000 GT
  • Reportedly the most aerodynamic and fastest 5000 GT built
  • Unique 450 S-inspired bodywork commissioned from Michelotti
  • Not shown publically for nearly two decades
  • Inarguably one of the most significant Grand Touring Maseratis


THE MODERN CAR OF KINGS

As the old question asks, “What do you buy the man who has everything?”

Having exhausted the realm of mere production models, the Shah of Iran in 1958 went to Maserati and requested something special – specifically, a 3500 GT fitted with one of the massive, potent 450 S racing engines. Maserati’s entire team of 450 S cars having been obliterated in racing accidents, the company thought it was a fine idea that would use some of the spare engines, and set about producing three 450 S-powered road cars for special clients.

Following additional tuning of the 450 S engine to make its unruly specifications more suitable for regular use on the street, the so-called 5000 GT would eventually reach a production run of 34 bespoke automobiles, each one of the ultimate Italian road cars of its era. The small list of clients included the world’s elite motorists, including Gianni Agnelli, the Aga Khan, and the American racing driver Briggs Cunningham, a man whose wealth was equaled only by his thirst for speed. A more ideal 5000 GT driver could not have been created by Maserati themselves.

BRIGGS CUNNINGHAM’S 5000 GT: A 450 S FOR THE ROAD

Cunningham requested that his 5000 GT resemble, as much as possible, the 450 S upon which its engineering had been based. As so often happens, in translation this became something different but equally wonderful. Michelotti’s design has a trace of 450 S in the rounded curves of its fenders, but was otherwise a fully and remarkably modern creation. With a glassy linear greenhouse, ventilation scoops with decorative chrome “strakes” tucked behind the front wheel arches, and a semi-tapered rear deck, it was reminiscent of a Ferrari 330 GTC. Hidden headlamps, flanking a relatively small oval grille opening, helped to preserve the car’s aerodynamics. The muscular, menacing side exhaust is subtly visible, peeking out behind the wheels.

It may not resemble a road-going Le Mans car, but if performance was what Cunningham was after, and it usually was, then Maserati and Michelotti delivered. Reportedly this was the most aerodynamic 5000 GT built, thanks to its lines having been developed in the wind tunnel at Università degli Studi di Torino, and arguably it was the fastest, as well. Cunningham insisted on test-driving it prior to delivery . . . at Monza, presumably ensuring that its speed was up to his standards. He then used it to commute between various European race tracks at which his team was competing.

Records of Maserati historian Adolfo Orsi indicate that the car had by 1968 made it to Cunningham’s home base in California, then to Oliver Kuttner of Virginia, who in 1988 offered it for sale. It was subsequently restored in the early 1990s in Europe, making its way to Poland, where in 1998 it was acquired by Alfredo Brener. Mr. Brener is well known for having owned more 5000 GTs than any other individual, including several well-known one-off designs. At the time of his sale of this car to its present owners in 2003, he noted, “This is the fastest one [5000 GT] that we have,” testament indeed to its aerodynamics and highly tuned engine.

The car’s restoration now bears considerable patina of its finishes and would benefit from cosmetic freshening. The interior, however, is in quite good condition, and appears correct, original, and authentic, as do the physical engine and chassis number stampings, and the accompanying serial number tags. Accompanying the car is the original spare chrome wire wheel, mounted in the trunk. At the time of cataloguing its odometer reflected 66,693 miles.

Inarguably one of the fastest, most unique, and most potent 5000 GTs, the Briggs Cunningham car is true to the audacious personality of its original owner, America’s most famous and respected gentleman racer of the era. It is offered here with considerable pride, as the closest thing to a road-going 450 S that Maserati ever made.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more