1966 Maserati Sebring
ChassisnummerAM 101 10 419
1966 Maserati Sebring Series II Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale
Chassis no. AM 101 10 419
Introduced in 1962, the Sebring was one of the final manifestations of the landmark 3500GT, which had been the linchpin of Maserati's programme to establish itself as a manufacturer of road cars. 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 switching production from competition to road models.
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 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, 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.
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.
Built on the short-wheelbase chassis of the Spyder and likewise styled by Vignale, the Sebring 2+2 coupé arrived in 1962, named in celebration of Maserati's win at the Sebring 12 Hours race in 1957. By now a ZF five-speed gearbox, four-wheel disc brakes and fuel injection were standard equipment, with automatic transmission, air conditioning and a limited-slip differential available as options.
Introduced in 1965, the Series II (Tipo AM 101/10) featured redesigned headlamps; modernised bumpers; new front indicators; and new side grilles replacing the lower extraction vents used hitherto. At the rear, apart from the squared off bumpers, the taillights were now mounted horizontally rather than vertically and the boot lid opening was narrower. Series II cars rode on larger 205x15 Pirelli Cinturatos. Production ended in 1969, by which time 591 Sebrings had been built, 242 of which were in the second series.
One of the most elegant and understated Grand Touring cars of the 1960s, the Maserati Sebring offered here is a Series II model fitted with the 3.5-litre engine and five-speed gearbox. The car was ordered at the beginning of 1966 by the Geneva Maserati dealer, Mr Ciro Basadona, and was delivered in May of that same year to its first owner, a well-known Geneva personality of impeccable taste. The Sebring was delivered finished in elegant Grigio Inglewood with contrasting Cognac Connolly leather upholstery.
In 1970, with only 17,000 kilometres recorded, the car was purchased by the last private owner's father. The car has been maintained by Maserati Service and everything has been done to keep it in good order. The body is in excellent condition and has been repainted to its original colour of Grigio Inglewood. The braking system, including the four discs and callipers, was completely overhauled in July 1988. In April 1989 the ZF gearbox and ZF steering gearbox were completely overhauled by the ZF authorised workshop Ateliers Jean-Schmid. The Sebring has been driven only some 4,000 kilometres since then.
In March 2011, the engine was completely disassembled and overhauled by FB Motors in Saint-Jeoire, Haute-Savoie, and a manually controlled electric cooling fan installed. The 16" wire wheels were restored by Borrani in Rho, Italy and the four shock absorbers and the tyres replaced. At the same time, the Lucas fuel injection system and the Magneti Marelli ignition distributor were overhauled and tested by recognised specialist Harm Klijn in Eemnes, Netherlands, the Lucas high-pressure pump being replaced with a more powerful Bosch unit. In November 2011, the front seats were completely re-trimmed in the original Cognac colour by Les Ateliers de Garniture Automobile Schwitter in Geneva, Switzerland.
In summary: this wonderful car was continuously maintained by two generations of the same family for almost 50 years. The car has always passed the demanding technical examinations (TüV) of the Automobile Service Geneva and comes with all the important invoices.