This month Maserati is celebrating an important birthday: the 50th anniversary of the first-ever Indy Coupe built for a customer, which left the factory in Modena in 1969, while the rest of the world was occupied with the Moon landing, the Manson family, and Woodstock.
A wealthy Swiss financier had ordered the car, which was first displayed at the Turin Motor Show in 1968, followed by the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1969 where it obviously caught his eye. Maserati had commissioned coachbuilder Carrozzeria Vignale to create the car in response to customers who wanted grand tourer that could perform as well as anything on the road.
The Indy was named in honor of Maserati's two landmark victories at the Indy 500, and Vignale's fastback 2+2 design, which combined comfort, performance and innovative styling, immediately won over Italian car enthusiasts.
The new Indy had large windows to "ensure excellent visibility without blind spots, while also giving the car a particularly sleek line." That was also helped by the pop-up headlights, air scoop underneath the slender bumper, and aerodynamically designed rear of the car, making it a real head-turner.
Its power output was a pulse-racing 260 hp with a top speed of 155 mph thanks to a 4.2-liter V8 engine. This was upgraded to 4.7 liters in 1970, which boosted power to 290 hp with a top speed of 175 mph.
And in 1971 it was first offered with the 300 hp, 4.9-liter powerplant which became its only propulsion unit from 1973–1975 when production ceased.
The interior of the Indy was no less impressive, with beautiful leather upholstery, adjustable sport steering wheel, heated rear window, tinted power windows, reclining front seats with headrests, and an automatic gearbox, power steering and radio available as options. From 1973, air-conditioning system was added as standard.
Prominent customers included Abdorreza Pahlavi, the Shah of Persia’s brother, who ordered an Indy in 1974, specifying a number of custom extras including an operable sunroof. That car still survives and is now in a private collection.
In total, from 1969 to 1975, the Modena factory built 1,102 Indy cars, making it one of the most successful Maserati models to date.
And for those trying to prophesy what model Maserati might re-introduce next, after having successfully revived the Ghibli, we'd give good odds that the Indy is on the shortlist.
Because it still looks great 50 years on.