DRIVE-IN CHATS – Conversations for a Cause – eps 5
Marc Fierman and his black Maserati Ghibli SS Spyder
Text by Jeff Ehoodin
In the 5th installment of Drive-In Chats, Marc Fierman relates the childhood memory of joining his dad for a trip to the car dealer, piggybank in hand, to purchase a new 1956 Chrysler New Yorker. The dealer happily accepted his boyhood earnings, and for years Marc believed the car was his own, cleaning it, firing it up and listening to the radio in its New York City garage. Thanks to his father’s creative influence, thus began a lifelong passion for the automobile.
The 1971 Maserati Ghibli SS Spyder featured is equally a story of influence. Debuting at the Turin Auto Show in 1966, the Ghibli was penned by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro, then at coachbuilder Ghia, for Maserati. Crisp lines demonstrated the car’s purpose, power and elegance without flourish. The heart of the car is an upsized road version of the booming Maserati V8 that dominated the highly contested 1957 12 hours of Sebring with the legendary Juan Fangio and Jean Behra sharing the wheel.
An immediate sensation, the Ghibli succeeded against formidable local competition such as the Ferrari 365 GTB (aka Daytona) and the mid-engine Lamborghini Miura. Only 1170 coupes were sold, with 125 in the convertible variant. Only 45 of these were in the ultimate 4.9 liter SS Spyder trim and only a handful with the removable hardtop that came as an option. Notable owners were not, however, lacking. Improbably spanning Sammy Davis Jr. to Wilt Chamberlain, the Ghibli was a car to throw a bag in and head out on the road to Lake Como, Palm Springs, or anywhere else of suitable elegance and action.
The progenitor of the sharp, wedge-shaped supercars of the next two decades, the Ghibli ceased production in 1973. A year later, automotive design itself would be shifted in the same manner by a very different execution from the hand of the affable Italian. VW had the gargantuan task of replacing arguably the most iconic (and round!) automobile in history, the Beetle. Now the head of his own firm, Giugiaro referenced the same crisp, angular philosophy of the Ghibli to create the groundbreaking first-generation Volkswagen Golf (Rabbit in the US Market). The purposeful hatchback would become ubiquitous around the world and is credited as one of the most impactful automotive designs ever created.
Back to the Ghibli, one would imagine that this car’s rarity and provenance would ensure a pampered life. Marc tells a tale quite the opposite, finding the car in a junkyard after a theft recovery, beaten up and missing key parts. After 46 years of ownership and a thorough restoration, his Maserati is stirring example of the ingenuity and influence of Italian design.
About Drive-In Chats:
Directed and produced by Alexander Davidis, and inspired to capture a car collectors’ affection for their most special vehicles, the ‘Drive-In Chat’ philosophy began as a fundraising tool supporting non-profit Drive Toward a Cure, with a 9-part series of video vignettes of individual car love stories.
New videos will be released ongoing over the late winter and early spring and can be viewed here and on Drive Toward a Cure’s website (below).
In 2020, Deb Pollack, founder of Drive Toward a Cure, sought to continue supporting various regional Parkinson Foundation Centers of Excellence throughout the country as part of her Foundation’s “Access to Care” program. Prior localized events all included physical drives, but limitations later set by COVID-19 gathering restrictions and winter weather challenges allowed for ‘Drive-In Chats’ in the Northeast to become a reality over this past Thanksgiving Weekend.
The event brought together car collectors who had grown hungry to share their beautiful and historically significant vehicles in a safe setting. The fundraising effort exceeded initial monetary goals – with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the Division of Movement Disorders at Columbia University (NY), a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, and one of seven Centers supported by Drive Toward a Cure.
Enjoy the clip, and please help us continue to raise funds for Parkinson’s Disease, right here on our dedicated donation site: https://www.drivetowardacure.org/conversations-for-a-cause-2020/