Despite numerous racetrack successes that included Juan Manuel Fangio’s fifth World Championship – at the wheel of a 250F – and runner-up spot in the World Sportscar Championship with the fabulous 450S, both in 1957, the marque’s most successful season, Maserati was by that time facing a bleak future. Its parent company’s financial difficulties eventually forced a withdrawal from racing and Maserati’s survival strategy for the 1960s centred on establishing the company as a producer of road cars. The Modena marque’s new era began in 1957 with the launch of the Touring-bodied 3500GT, its first road model built in significant numbers.
A luxury ‘2+2’, the 3500GT drew on Maserati’s competition experience, employing a tubular chassis frame and an engine derived from the 350S sports car unit of 1956. Its designer was none other than Giulio Alfieri, creator of the immortal Tipo 60/61 ‘Birdcage’ sports-racer and the man responsible for developing the 250F into a World Championship winner. The twin-overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine was a close relative of that used in the 250F and developed around 220bhp initially on carburettors, later examples producing 235bhp on Lucas mechanical fuel injection. Built initially with drum brakes and four-speed transmission, the 3500GT was progressively updated, gaining five speeds, front disc brakes and, finally, all-disc braking before production ceased in 1964.
A car possessing such impeccable antecedents not unnaturally attracted the attention of Italy’s finest Carrozzeria: Allemano, Bertone and Frua all created bodies for the 3500GT chassis. Most coupés were the work of Touring while all but one (a Frua-bodied example) of the much less common spyder version were the work of Carrozzeria Vignale. Introduced in 1959, Vignale’s Maserati 3500GT Spyder was the creation of Giovanni Michelotti, at that time the company’s star designer. Built on a slightly shorter wheelbase – 250cm as opposed to 260cm – than the coupé and constructed of steel panels rather than the closed car’s aluminium, the spyder lasted in production until 1964, by which time only 245 cars had been made.
This matching numbers 3500GT Vignale Spyder was manufactured in March 1963. The car currently resided in a private German collection and has been well maintained and as one would imagine, is presented in very good condition.
Restored in 2005, the car has been used on a variety of European rallies and attended numerous Maserati events across Europe since. Most notably, the car is finished in its stunning original colour combination of Grigio over Rosso- as confirmed by Maserati.
The car’s original Lucas fuel injection has been changed to carburettors – a sensible upgrade! Described as being in beautiful condition and driving very well this is certainly an exciting opportunity to acquire an exceptional example of this most sought after of classic Maseratis.