1964 Maserati Mistral
Year of manufacture1964
Formerly owned by HRH Prince Sultan Bin Saoud
1964 Maserati 3.5-Litre Mistral Spyder
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Frua
Chassis no. AM109*S*005
'We do not suppose there are many cars whose names conjure up an aura of exotic glamour to the same extent as that of Maserati. Even now, many years after the company has withdrawn from any form of competition, past glories linger on.' - Sporting Motorist.
Maserati's survival strategy for the 1960s centred on establishing the company - which hitherto had mainly concentrated on its Grand Prix and sports car racing activities - as a producer of road cars. The Modena marque's new era began in 1957 with the launch at the Geneva Salon of the Touring-bodied 3500 GT. A luxury '2+2', the 3500 GT 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 3500 GT'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 Formula 1 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 3500 GT was progressively updated, gaining five speeds, front disc brakes and, finally, all-disc braking.
Last of these classic six-cylinder Maseratis, the Pietro Frua-styled Mistral commenced production in 1963. The 3.7-litre version of the Bolognese manufacturer's long-stroke engine was fitted to most cars, other options being the 3.5-litre or, from 1966, the 4.0-litre unit. A handsome two-seater on a shortened, square-tube chassis, the Mistral was built in coupé and spyder versions, the former's opening rear window hatch making it an unusually practical car. A five-speed gearbox, all-round disc brakes, and fuel injection were standard equipment; automatic transmission, air conditioning, and a limited-slip differential the options. Production ceased in 1970, by which time a total of 828 coupés and 123 spyders had been built, making the latter one of the rarest of this family of classic six-cylinder Maseratis.
We are advised by the vendor that '005' is the third Mistral Spyder of 27 made with the 3.5-litre engine. According to Maserati Museum curator, Mr Ermano Cozza, this car was manufactured in July 1964 and used in the movie Giulietta degli Spiriti (Juliet of the Spirits) by the renowned Italian director, Federico Fellini (copy telex available). The Mistral was then sold (in March 1965) via the Maserati agent in Athens, Greece to HRH Prince Sultan Bin Saoud, a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family.
The Maserati somehow ended up in Beirut, Lebanon, changing hands several times before being damaged in the civil war of 1975. In 1988 the car was rescued by the vendor and since then has undergone restoration in two stages: the first carried out between 1989 and 1991 and the second and final during 2011-2014. The vendor twice travelled to Modena to obtain parts for the restoration, which was carried out locally. Parts receipts and restoration invoices are available. Weber carburettors have been fitted and the car also comes with its original Lucas fuel injection system, rebuilt by marque specialists, McGrath Maserati. It should be noted that the original odometer was badly damaged and had to be replaced (at less than 40,000 kilometres) with one showing a higher total. Fewer than 500 kilometres have been covered since the rebuild's completion in 2014 and the Mistral is described by the private vendor as in excellent condition throughout.
The Maserati comes with its Lebanese (cancelled) registration paperwork and an 'Out of Circulation Certificate', while Maserati Classiche documents confirming that the car retains its original engine and gearbox are available also. A Maserati Lebanon report includes a compression test showing all cylinders at either 145 or 150psi.
Finished in Grigio Fusilli metallizzato (Gunmetal Grey metallic) with Burgundy Connolly hide interior, the car comes with its original jack and rawhide wheel hammer; an owner's manual; and a parts book. Representing an exciting opportunity to acquire the rare Spyder version of one of these highly sought-after classic Maseratis, this is a dream come true for any aficionado of fine thoroughbred sports cars.