by Mike –
A two seat, comfortable grand touring sports car with a long hood covering a powerful engine that will take two occupants wherever they want to go very quickly in style.
This describes the Maserati Ghibli with the Maserati V8 engine (4.7 or 4.9 liter), the Iso Grifo with a Chevrolet Corvette V8 engine (5.3 liter or 7 liter) and the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 with the Ferrari V12 power plant (4.4 liter).
Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s these three GT cars competed for the attention of the same type of drivers. A driver who appreciated style, elegance but also brute power and speed.
When they were new the prices were fairly close, although as expected the Ferrari was higher, but in the classic car market today there is a huge difference in values between these three great GT cars.
Are the current prices an accurate statement of value? Or are one or two of these cars poised to appreciate?
All of my data here are for the Coupes, not Spiders or Targas (click on the table for a larger view).
All current values are taken from the Hagerty Price Guide.
Sports Car Graphic magazine had this to say in September 1968 after a test drive on the Lime Rock race track in the new Ghibli,
The quietness of the Ghia body and strength of the tubular frame construction were comforting enough to make you feel as though you might be sitting in your living room at home. Only the side forces under cornering make you realize the car is actually moving.
But it’s the Ghibli that sticks in your mind. It’s the first great sports car Maserati has built in a long time. There are very few cars, if any, that can surpass the Ghibli in quality of performance.
Autocar magazine had this to say about the Iso Grifo in April 1966,
No one we met nor apparently many passers-by, failed to be impressed with the appearance of the Grifo. To the few who rode as passengers in it, it became a new experience that they still keep talking about. To some of us who drove it, it is the ultimate in transport for the enthusiast, a kind of dream car come true. It brings back some of the lost pleasures of motoring and introduces many more new ones.
Sports Car Graphic magazine said this about the Iso Grifo in July 1966,
…the Grifo is a performance GT in every sense of the word…While Iso is a relatively new firm, we still rate the Grifo as one of the top GTs in existence. It has some unique practical features all its own, and the body styling gets our personal vote over all others that can be considered “production GTs.”
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (Daytona)
In 2004 Sports Car International magazine nominated the 365 GTB as the top sports car of the 1970s. Motor Trend Classic named the 365 GTB/4 and GTS/4 (convertible) as number two in their list of the ten “Greatest Ferraris of all time”.
In 1971 the GTB/4 was driven by Dan Gurney and Brock Yates in the inaugural Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. They won with an average speed of 80.1 MPH, completing the distance from New York to L.A. in 35 hours 54 minutes covering 2,876 miles.
“Daytona” is a nickname and not an official name from the Ferrari factory but it is a nickname that has stuck.
Autocar magazine published the following test data in September 1971,
* 0-60 MPH – 5.4 seconds
* 0-100 MPH – 12.6 seconds
* Top speed – 174 MPH
Road & Track magazine reported in November 1974 where they tested a competition version,
* 0-60 MPH – 5.8 seconds
* 0-100 MPH – 12.6 seconds
* Top speed – 186 MPH
“It might as well be said right now, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona is the best sports car in the world. Or the best GT … ”
The Grifo is much more rare that either the Ferrari or the Maserati, with the Ghibli and the Daytona having about the same number of examples produced – each about three times as many as the Grifo.
The Maserati and Ferrari both have factory designed and manufactured engines compared to the Corvette engine in the Grifo. For some collectors this has been a demerit for the Grifo in the past. I think today this is not a negative but is a plus because of the lower cost, ease of maintenance, reliability and the performance of the Corvette engine. This is borne out by the value appreciation of the Grifo over the past few years.
The Grifo is three to four times the value of a Ghibli and the Grifo is keeping up pretty well with the fast appreciation rate of the Daytona.
What does all of this mean? I think it means that if you like these three cars then the Ghibli could be a good investment, the Grifo will remain strong and always be more rare than the Ghibli or Daytona.
Let us know what you think in the Comments.
My thanks to Don Meluzio for suggesting this article.
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