'Look closely at this car - it's a fine example of how to create perfect lines'

Racing legend Innes Ireland once referred to the late-1950s as the era when engines were where they should be - at the front of the car.

During these years, rivalry between Maserati and Ferrari continued as both produced cars which fell under Ireland's wise description.

These cars were the Ferrari Daytona and the Maserati Ghibli, the latter of which collectors will have a chance to own at Artcurial's upcoming Collection Cars sale in Paris on February 4.

Like the Daytona, the Ghibli has a robust tubular chassis and a sublime body that was deliberately different to Ferrari's Pininfarina-designed stylings.

Rather than opting for elegance, Maserati designer Giorgetto Giugiaro instead formulated a design that was, in the words of Artcurial, "less sophisticated, almost rustic" with very rigid chassis and especially sleek bodywork.

Under the car's bonnet was a considerable twin cam V8 engine. By the time this 1971 model had come on to the scene, the Ghibli's power had been upped slightly to 335hp instead of 330hp while the torque went from 45 m/kg to 49 m/kg at the same engine speed of 4,000 rpm.

The 1971 Maserati Ghibli, from the 'Golden Age' of motoring

Compare this with the Daytona, which did 354 hp at 7.500 rpm with 44 m/kg of torque. The two rival cars, the exact opposites on paper, had two entirely different destinations.

"The Ghibli's rigid rear axle does not detract from its other qualities," write Artcurial's experts, "such as its superb road holding when cornering and on the motorway and its large engine, which does not overheat or break down."

Not surprisingly, the Ghibli was always highly-regarded - so much so that Henry Ford once bought one that he exhibited in his design office. He attached a notice addressed to his designers which read, "Look closely at this car; it is a fine example of how to create perfect lines."

Collectors will be able to view those "perfect lines" for themselves when the car appears for sale at Briest-Poulain-F.Tajan, Paris, on February 4 estimated at €80,000-100,000 ($130,199).


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