In Dearbon, at the Ford design offices, a sign is stuck to the wall: "Take a good look at this automobile, here you see perfect lines" - signed by Henry Ford II. Above this memo, is not the photo of a Ford, but that of a Maserati Ghibli! It is indeed the limpid clarity of its style, the work of the designer Giorgetto Giugiaro at the peak of his career, that made it an instant classic.
The end of the sixties was the high point of the great GT automobiles, with beautiful models such as the Lamborghini Miura, Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, De Tomaso Mangusta and Maserati Ghibli leading the way. The latter two were both designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, a new arrival at the design offices of the Ghia coach builders, recently bought out by the automobile manufacturer Alejandro de Tomaso. It was during his short time with Ghia that he would hit the heights of his creative talent.
The Ghibli was surely the most remarkable creation of De Tomaso's career prior to his founding of Italdesign, its most head-turning attributes being its rigid lines - barely affected by the presence of curves, the purity of its volumes and the simplicity of its details. Its profile was classical - long hood and cockpit sat back on the rear axle - and unsullied by impurities, with the only real flamboyancies of its form being the inlets on the front wings and the clever structure around the extractor, where the rear quarter glass merged into the rear quarter panel.
With its 15"4" feet length, the Ghibli is long for a two-seater (although the rear bench is perfectly unusable), and very low, barely 3"8" feet in height. To achieve such a low profile, a dry sump engine had to be used, as was often the case in competitive models, reducing the height of the engine and therefore the automobile for better aerodynamics - and also guaranteeing better lubrication, especially on high-speed bends.
To be continued...