Maserati 3500 GT Spyder
Maserati is one of the great Italian racing dynasties, building winning race cars throughout the prewar period. After World War II, the company began producing a series of sports racers, which would ultimately lead to the company’s first street cars. It is interesting to note that prior to the introduction of the 3500 GT, total production was about 130 cars!
Descended from the A6G/2000, the 3500 GT was introduced in 1957. The prototype 3500 GT Coupe, bodied by Touring of Milan with their patented “Superleggera” (superlight) construction, was enthusiastically received and went immediately into production. Although it was the first Maserati produced in quantity, all the bodies were coachbuilt, most by Touring or Vignale. As a result, small differences are common. The chassis were classically Italian, welded from large tubes.
In production through 1964, these extremely handsome grand touring coupes became the company’s financial saviors during a particularly difficult period. Like Ferrari, Maserati tended to focus on its racing cars rather than road cars and the resulting irregular cash flow had put the company on a shaky financial footing by the end of the 1950s.
Power was from a detuned version of the 350S racing engine. Initial carbureted versions produced about 220 hp, but in 1962 Lucas mechanical fuel injection was added, raising output to 235 hp. Purists continue to prefer the original, carbureted cars for the sheer magic of looking at all those Weber velocity stacks, plus they proved to be more reliable and easier to maintain. Maserati claimed a top speed of 146 mph.
The engine was a delight; its twin-plug ignition immediately betrayed the racing origins of this high performance six - although it was completely redesigned, twice in fact, to make it both more easily maintainable by non-racing mechanics and more economical to build. The dual overhead camshafts operated the valves through bucket followers with shim adjustment in preference to the screw-type adjustment favored on the racing engines. Both the cylinder block and the head were cast in light alloy with iron cylinder sleeves. Seven main bearings ensured reliability.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
240 bhp, 3,485 cc twin overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder engine with triple 42 DCOE Weber carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, front wheel disc brakes, rear wheel drum brakes, tubular steel chassis, independent front suspension with coil springs, solid rear axle on leaf springs and tubular shock absorbers. Wheelbase: 102".
Source: RM Auctions