$896,000 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
- A highly desirable example of the elegant Vignale-bodied Maserati; one of 242 examples built
- Retains matching-numbers engine and accompanied by rare original factory hardtop
- Beautifully restored in striking triple-blue color combination
- Desirably equipped with front disc brakes and ZF five-speed gearbox
- Documented with factory build sheets from Maserati Classiche
- Ideal for concours presentation or touring event use
After years of fiscal loss and an inordinate budget poured into its racing program, Maserati in the late 1950s was in desperate need of an appealing road car. Salvation appeared at the 1957 Geneva Salon in the form of the 3500 GT. Featuring a detuned version of the six-cylinder engine from the successful sports-racing 350S, the 3500 GT was initially equipped with 12-inch finned drum brakes and a Salisbury-type rear axle, marrying a powerful motor with a compliant and sporting chassis.
Customer demand soon necessitated the formulation of an open-top version, and Maserati duly assigned a small number of chassis for design studies to Frua and Touring, the latter of which had already bodied the popular saloon. But ultimately the manufacturer approved a Giovanni Michelotti design built by the carrozzeria Vignale for a standard production model, which was officially introduced at the 1959 Turin Salon. Mounted on a shorter chassis for superior agility, the delectable Vignale Spyder was built in a modest quantity of just 242 examples through 1964. Later cars are particularly desirable for being equipped with front disc brakes and a ZF five-speed gearbox. A distinctively styled alternative to the open models at Maranello that offered equivalent performance, the 3500 GT Spyder reversed Modena’s flagging fortunes while signaling a fresh chapter in the company’s celebrated history.
Benefitting from a recent comprehensive restoration to concours standards and retaining its matching-numbers engine and rare factory-issued hardtop, this Vignale Sypder is an exquisite example of Maserati’s celebrated grand touring model. According to copies of Maserati factory records that include a certificate of origin, technical sheet, an order sheet, the handwritten factory build sheet, and a delivery note, chassis number 1295 was ordered in late March 1961 by Franco Cornacchia SrL, the well-known dealership in Milan.
Built in April 1961, the chassis was equipped with the carbureted six-cylinder engine and a manual ZF gearbox, and clothed in Vignale’s elegant open coachwork. The 3500 GT was mounted with Borrani wire wheels and finished in Azzurro Real (light blue) paint, while the interior was upholstered with white Connolly leather. Options included a rare color-matched hardtop, which when fitted in place achieves a striking roofline, making this spyder particularly desirable.
The Maserati was completed in late April and eventually delivered in August to its first owner, a company in Rome called Finmonte. Though the 3500 GT’s interim history is currently unknown, the car presumably remained in Europe for many years, as it was reportedly treated to a significant restoration in 2004 by Auto Stangl in Prague, Czech Republic. This included a repaint in orange red and appointment of the interior in beige leather. Following refurbishment, the spyder was imported to the United States and exhibited at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in Danville, California; the car went on to win a class award at the 2008 Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance.
In August 2011 the 3500 GT was acquired by the consignor, a respected collector residing in Connecticut. The owner soon opted to conduct a complete nut-and-bolt refurbishment, for which he retained the services of Redline Restorations in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In addition to performing a comprehensive mechanical rebuild, Redline refinished the coachwork in an attractive midnight blue. A matching soft top was installed and the interior was re-trimmed with complementary blue leather, while the original hardtop was refinished in white. The consignor reports that he spent approximately $500,000 to complete the meticulous restoration.
Still displaying the immaculate benefits of the recent refurbishment, this Vignale Spyder retains its matching-numbers engine, and its front disc brakes and the ZF five-speed gearbox make it a prime candidate for driving enjoyment or use on touring events. It is also accompanied by the rare factory hardtop, which effects a beautiful color combination when installed. Equally poised for presentation on a concours field or at marque club events, this Maserati would make a splendid acquisition for any enthusiast of the Trident, sure to add unique panache to any collection or gathering of post-war sports cars.