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Lot 655
1961 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder


Selling on Saturday Evening

Coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale

CHASSIS NO: 1011269

• 1 of only 242 Maserati 3500 GT Spyders produced
• Accompanied by Maserati Classiche Certificate and build sheet
• Equipped with desirable ZF five-speed gearbox, Borrani wire wheels and disc brakes
• An impressive numbers matching example

3,485 cc inline six-cylinder engine, 220 HP, triple Weber carburetors, ZF five-speed gearbox, disc brakes, limited slip differential; wheelbase: 100”

When the Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spyder debuted at the 1959 Turin Auto Show, it captivated audiences and soon drew devotees in Dean Martin, Prince Rainer III of Monaco and the luckiest of the jet set. Hindsight has cemented its reputation as one of the finest GTs of its era. Looks, performance and well-appointed comfort coalesced into the entire package that no single Gran Turismo of its time could equally deliver in every area. Had it not been for the preceding 3500 GT’s well-received debut at the 1957 Geneva Auto Show a couple years prior, the Maserati marque would likely have faded into history. The boutique manufacturer was in serious financial straits and had poured nearly all its available resources into a successful racing program. Maserati did have a world champion in Juan Manuel Fangio to show for it, which was a welcomed boost. The 3500 GT mated racing pedigree with well-appointed cabin comfort and a body that was just irresistible; the formula equated to the marque’s first large-scale series production vehicle at 2,000 total units. It was also the much-needed economic savior for the company. In a couple of years, their open-top 3500 GT Spyder, with a body by Vignale, was released. The exclusive Spyder would represent the pinnacle of Maserati production in the company’s history thus far.

Only 242 Spyders were created from Giovanni Michelotti’s exquisite design for Carrozzeria Vignale and the timeless body remains one of the most attractive Maseratis of all time. While developing the open-top Gran Turismo, the wheelbase was shortened to 100 inches to enhance agility and the rearrangement of the body resulted in some breathtaking styling cues. The haunches were swept up while the rear-end leaned forward, giving it the impression of a machine on the brink of flight. The stunning Spyder was the marriage of all the best features over the course of the 3500 GT’s evolving development.
Beneath the bonnet lurked the effective 3.5-litre, dual-overhead-cam, inline six-cylinder light-alloy block engine, which could mate to either triple Weber carburetors or a fuel-injection option, for the first time, all of which shifted through the superior ZF five-speed gearbox. The Spyder offered limited slip differential and later models, like this one, boasted disc brakes over drums. Suspension, which was sourced from superior British firms partly for tax purposes, consisted of independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and tubular shock absorbers. The resulting automobile was arguably the most well-rounded, thoughtful GT of its time; it was fast, handled well, looked amazing, but most importantly, from within its well-appointed cabin, it was a joy to drive.

Chassis number AM1011269 is a numbers matching example robed in silver with burgundy interior and a black canvas convertible top over Borrani wire wheels. The result is timeless elegance on the Sixties’ most sporting chassis. This example is equipped with the original engine and gearbox, triple Weber carburetors instead of fuel-injection, resulting in 220 horsepower. Other equipment includes a radio, electric windows, disc brakes and limited slip differential. Accompanied with the sale are the build sheet and important Maserati Classiche Certification.

The cockpit is another area where Vignale’s coachwork really shines. The seats are correctly reupholstered in alluring burgundy leather, which is echoed on the dash pad, through the door panel and around the gear stick that’s perched next to a steel ashtray, an echo of another time. The carpeting is grey and is topped with period-correct weather mats. The grey dashboard holds the original Jaeger instrumentation and gauges. The interior presentation charms with graceful patina. Although this car received a thoughtful restoration in the past, it has retained many original elements like the interior instrumentation and mechanical components that make this car all the more special. Graced with the original, matching-numbers engine, the timeless color scheme and chic looks of this magnificent Spyder are guaranteed to make you feel like you’re cruising topless through a Fellini film. One of only 242 Spyders produced, and among far fewer wholly intact survivors, this car is indeed highly collectible. There is something special about authentic, high quality, low production, Italian sports cars that sets them apart from all others. One glance at this 3500 GT Spyder and it is very easy to see why.

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