1960 Maserati 3500 GT
- One of only 43 Maserati 3500 GTs in right-hand drive
- Matching numbers, retaining its original engine
- Presented in the stylish colour combination of Grigio over Rosso
- Delivered new to England, where it has resided ever since
- Twin-spark six-cylinder engine derived from the legendary 350S prototype racer
What is it?
It’s a 1960 Maserati 3500 GT, a model to which enthusiasts of the Trident marque owe an awful lot. See, just before the handsome Gran Turismo was introduced in 1957, Maserati was in a precarious financial situation.
Despite a stellar year of motorsport during which Juan Manuel Fangio won the Formula 1 World Championship of Drivers with the jewellike 250F, political unrest in Argentina, a country in which Maserati’s parent company was heavily invested, promptly dried up the marque’s wealth, forcing its withdrawal from racing.
An elegant, luxurious and, most importantly, higher-volume Gran Turismo was seen as the solution to the problem. Designed by Maserati’s skilled chief engineer Giulio Alfieri, the resulting 3500 GT utilised the 3.5-litre twin-spark six-cylinder engine from the dizzyingly beautiful 350S sports-racing prototype, modified with wet-sump lubrication and tuned to be more tractable and refined for road use.
The high-waisted bodywork was the work of Touring, which employed its signature Superleggera lightweight construction technique. It’s a graceful yet understated design, which embodies the romance and allure of the classic Italian Gran Turismo.
Could you tell us about this particular 3500 GT’s history?
Resplendent in Grigio with a contrasting Rosso Rubino roof and a sumptuous Rosso Connolly leather interior, this Maserati 3500 GT is chassis number 902, one of just 43 cars built in right-hand-drive configuration. It was delivered new in 1960 to one Ronald Whitehead via Murray Motors in Fleetwood, which was then the official Maserati concessionaire for the United Kingdom.
The car passed through the hands of two further UK owners before being offered at auction in 1986 by Walker, Walton and Hanson. Chassis 902’s next custodian, Anthony Vardy Pope of Jubilee M/C Tools, chose to have the car fully restored by Corley Motors. The work, which included a full rebuild of the six-cylinder engine, is documented in photos accompanying the car. Pope enjoyed the Maserati until 1996, since when it has had three further owners, the second of which commissioned a further cosmetic restoration in the early 2010s, including a bare-metal repaint.
This Maserati 3500 GT is a fantastic example of the breed thanks to its UK history and the fact it’s always been cherished and maintained in excellent condition regardless of cost. You only have to sit in the sumptuous original interior, breathe in the rich scent of the supple Connolly hide and grip the tactile large steering wheel and Bakelite gear knob to appreciate that. It’s a heady experience, one which serves as a great reminder why driving an old car is so special. Accompanying the car is a generous history file, which is filled with invoices, MOT certificates and photos.
What’s this Maserati like to drive?
It’s just as you’d imagine of a 1960s Gran Turismo. There are oodles of torque-laden power from that race-bred straight-six, which encourages you to rev it out. The cabin is a gloriously airy and relaxed place to sit, with that sculpted dash and delicate yet easily legible dials complementing the view ahead over the long and imposing bonnet.
It’s a softly sprung car, but you can feel its inherent raciness – ride the wave of power and build up momentum, and you’ll realise the rate at which it travels defies the way it looks. Oh, and the gearbox is a delight, positive and satisfying, with a short throw. As Max likes to say, it’s an ‘A-to-B’ car, designed for dispatching long, cross-continental journeys with aplomb.
Sell it to me in a sentence…
It’s a rare, desperately pretty Italian Gran Turismo coach-built by one of the greatest names in the business – the discerning collector’s alternative to the Aston Martin DB4.
Price: £150,000 (GBP)
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