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Lot 149

2015   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2015

1961 Maserati 3500 GT Spider

Coachwork by Vignale

Estimate

$850,000 - $1,000,000

Chassis

101.1121

Engine

101.1121

Car Highlights

The 121st of 242 Vignale Spiders Built
Matching-Numbers Engine
Refinished in Original Color Combination of Verde Scuro and Marrone
Originally Fitted with Borrani Wire Wheels, ZF 5-Speed, and Disc Brakes
Imported to the US in 2000 and Sympathetically Restored

Technical Specs

3,485 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three Weber 2-Barrel Carburetors
220 HP at 5,500 RPM
5-Speed ZF Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
Coil-Spring Front Suspension
Live Rear Axle with Leaf Springs
Register to Bid

Maria Piera Merli Brandini, Rome, Italy (acquired new in May 1961 via Cornacchia Automobili)Pictro Badoglio, Rome Italy (acquired from the above in 1962)Paolo Paglioli, Naples, Italy (acquired from the above in 1962)Salvatore Porciello, Naples, Italy (acquired from the above in 1963)Maria Pirone, Naples, Italy (acquired from the above in 1964)Tommaso del Pozzo, Naples, Italy (acquired from the above in 1964)Pier Giorgio Fiorentini, Naples, Italy (acquired from the above in 1965)Giovanni Iumiento, Naples, Italy (acquired from the above in 1965)Federico Jermano, Naples, Italy (acquired from the above in 1973)Luigi Mancini, Pisa, Italy (acquired from the above in 1975)Suuderia Lorenzo S.r.l., Carpi, Italy (acquired from the above in 1993)Luciano Caporali, Florence, Italy (acquired from the above in 1998)Current Owner (acquired in 2001)

By the late 1950s, Maserati had an enviable competition record, with classic victories scored by the 200S, 300S, and 450S sports racers in the hands of such greats as Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. The cars were campaigned frequently, with a skeleton support crew and “an air of grappa and panic,” as expert Thor Thorson noted drily. The 300S was so fast and reliable that the results matched, and often exceeded, the efforts of juggernaut teams.

The original 3.5-liter DOHC six-cylinder 350S engine would be chosen as the basis for the company’s most successful sports car, the 3500 GT, of which 2,223 would be sold between 1957 and 1964. This fast grand tourer – designed by Maserati’s Giulio Alfieri with a sturdy chassis constructed with large-diameter steel tubes – would be in use through the Sebring and Mistral models at the end of the 1960s.

The 350S engine was detuned from the competition car’s 325 bhp to 220 bhp, but it was good enough to power the 3500 GT from 0 to 60 mph in eight seconds and to a top speed of 140 mph. While Frua, Ghia, Bertone, and Boneschi built a handful of cars, Touring built almost 2,000 coupes, and Vignale contributed 242 handsome Spiders including the superb example presented here.

This Vignale Spider was bought new by Signora Maria Piera Merli Brandini in Rome on May 31, 1961. Signora Brandini was an avid Maserati enthusiast, and she and her husband also owned an Allemano-bodied Maserati 5000 GT Coupe at the same time. According to the research of Maserati historian Walter Bäumer, this 3500 GT Spider was desirably equipped from new with a five-speed gearbox, four-wheel disc brakes, Borrani wire wheels and a fitted hardtop and finished in the attractive color combination of Verde Scuro with Marrone leather interior.

The Maserati remained in Italy until it was imported to Symbolic Motors of San Diego in 2000. Soon after its importation into the US, the consignor acquired the Maserati. By this time, the car had been refinished in red with a black interior and it still retained its original matching-numbers engine.

During the consignor’s ownership, the Maserati has benefitted from a sympathetic and correct restoration, and has been enjoyed regularly. The restoration work was performed with careful attention and with an effort to retain as much originality as possible. In 2005, Antonio di Pasquale of FX Motors in Los Angeles rebuilt the engine and suspension. In 2008, the highly regarded Blackhorse Motors restored the body, paint, and interior to its original and rare color scheme of Verde Scuro with Marrone leather interior. Finally, the consignor entrusted Precision Wire Wheels with the restoration of the five matching and correctly date-coded Borrani wire wheels.

This spectacular Vignale Spider comes with a partial original tool kit, an original wheel hammer and jack, and an impressive array of original documentation provided by Maserati S.p.A. and Walter Bäumer. As an additional attraction, this Spider also has a 2011 movie credit: it is visible in the car collection owned by the character Britt Reid in The Green Hornet. An excellent example of Maserati’s first successful venture into the mainstream market of luxury sports cars, this is a refreshing alternative to the Ferraris of the period and bound to draw attention wherever it is shown.