1961 Maserati 3500 GT Coupé Coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring Registration no. Not UK registered Chassis no. AM101/1730 Engine no. 101/1730
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 Sports Car 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 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 car built in significant numbers.
A luxury '2+2', the 3500GT drew heavily on Maserati's competition experience, employing a tubular chassis frame and an engine derived from the 350S competition sports car unit of 1956. Suspension was independent at the front by wishbones and coil springs while at the back there was a conventional live axle/semi-elliptic arrangement. The 3500GT's 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 desirable early car with carburettors, this beautifully presented Maserati 3500 GT left the factory in July 1961 and was sold to its first owner in its native Italy. It has the added advantages of front disc drakes and the ZF five-speed manual gearbox. As documentation from the Maserati archives confirms, it was delivered in the most handsome colour combination of Lancia blu scuro with dark red leather interior, which it still wears today. The car was purchased by its second owner in 1984 and has formed part of his exclusive collection of desirable Italian classics until now. In 1996 the car was subject of the cover article in the Italian classic car magazine Ruoteclassiche, a copy of which is included in the sale.
In 2004 the car was brought to well known and respected Maserati specialist Franco Tralli of Bonporto near Modena, where the mechanicals and electrics were overhauled. Since then the car has covered a mere 7,445 kilometres, which is the total recorded on the odometer. The car proudly wears the number '0002' of the International Maserati Register and is offered with the original owner's manual, ASI certification and Italian registration papers. The serious collector will be hard pushed to find a more original example of this iconic Maserati, finished in a striking colour combination and possessing a patina that only the rarest of well preserved cars can offer.