London | Lot 118
1964 Maserati Mistral 3.5 Coupé Prototype
£195,000 - £235,000 GBP
| London, United Kingdom
7 September 2016
- A factory prototype; the second Mistral coupé built
- Originally delivered to racing driver Mario Mazzacurati
- Presented in its original colour combination
- An iconic 1960s GT and true piece of Maserati history
235 bhp, 3,485 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with triple Weber 42DCOE 8 carburettors, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400 mm
Throughout the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, Maserati became synonymous with single-seater Grand Prix cars. These racing cars were always aesthetically pleasing and highly competitive alongside their contemporaries. The illustrious line culminated with the 250F Grand Prix racer wielded with such grace by Juan Manuel Fangio in the mid-1950s. During this period, Maserati also built road-going sports models in small numbers; however, this changed in 1957 with the launch of 3500 GT at the Geneva Motor Show. The basic outline of the 3500 GT would form the basis of successive models through to the last of Maserati’s front-engine straight-sixes, the Mistral, which was first shown at Turin in 1963.
The Mistral benefited from a stiffer and shorter square tube chassis than the 3500 GT, and it was fitted with a fuel-injected, twin plug engine, both of which elevated its sporting character compared to the preceding Sebring. The sweeping two-plus-two body with opening rear hatch was penned by Giovanni Michelotti at Frua, and it endowed the car with contemporary styling, which kept the car fresh into the end of the decade.
Maserati historian Adolfo Orsi has confirmed from factory records that this car was one of the factory prototypes built in 1963 with chassis number AM109 004, and that it was the second Mistral coupé built. Once the car had fulfilled its purpose at the factory, it was sold to Mario Mazzacurati, a retired Italian racing driver living in Johannesburg. To avoid South African import duties, the factory re-stamped the car to chassis number AM101 960, relating to a 3500 GT which had been exported to the United States. Mazzacurati later informed Maserati that he had shown the “ex-109004” at the Cape Town Motor Show in 1964.
Shortly thereafter, the car was sold to the son of South Africa’s finance minister and lived a sheltered life in the warm, dry climate of South Africa before returning to Europe in the 2000s. Once back in Europe, it formed part of a small private collection in the United Kingdom. In 2006 and 2007, the car benefitted from extensive re-commissioning at the highly respected TDH Classics Ltd. in West Maldon, and by 2010, the car was ready to be displayed at Goodwood Revival in the Grand Touring Greats display in its original and highly attractive colour combination.
As one of the very earliest examples of one of their most charismatic models, this Mistral represents an important part of Maserati history.