1959 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder by Frua
$750,000 - $1,000,000
RM | Online Only - SHIFT/MONTEREY 14 - 15 AUGUST 2020 - Auction Closes on 14 August 2020
- A unique Maserati spyder custom-designed by Pietro Frua
- Initially styled as a prototype submission for the 3500 GT Spyder
- Widely featured in period magazines and film
- Upgraded with desirable five-speed transmission and front disc brakes
- Extensive mechanical restoration by RM Auto Restoration
- Successfully completed the 2018 Colorado Grand
- Suitable for historic driving events and rallies as well as international concours
Prior to the official release and production of Maserati’s 3500 GT, the company enlisted a handful of coachbuilders to design bodywork to sit upon the 3500 GT chassis. Five chassis and drivetrains were sent to the Torino-based coachbuilder Pietro Frua and one only, chassis AM101 268, was an open spyder. Its one-of-a-kind design features headlights set into subtly “scooped” fenders, delicately flanked with barely-there “coves” decorated in chrome strakes, and slightly flared tailfins.
Completed in January 1959, the Frua spyder was driven by Maserati’s chief mechanic and test driver Guerino Bertocchi and German journalist Richard von Frankenberg on the Modena Motodromo. It was then exported to France via Paris importer Simone et Thenpenier. In 1960, the car featured with film actor Roger Pierre in a scene from La Francaise et l’amour, “Love and the French Woman.” The Maserati would remain in France and there it was sold new and registered to its first owner, Floret Remy, wearing number plates RM 27 in Eure.
The next known owner was Bruno Bouvier of Evreux, who acquired the 3500 GT in 1981. Bouvier proceeded to have the Maserati fully restored and fitted a new 3500 GT engine acquired from the Maserati factory. Restoration work was continued by the next owner, Peter Garett of Kent, United Kingdom, at Glendale Engineering of Oldham. This included finishing the car in the present striking exterior color of pastel yellow, along with a turquoise and white leather interior. At that time, the car was also upgraded with a factory-correct five-speed gearbox and front disc brakes.
In December 1991, after completing restoration, the car appeared in Classic & Sports Car magazine as part of a feature article by Martin Buckley. Then passing through Philippe Olczyk and Ben Huisman, the 3500 GT was eventually acquired by renowned Maserati collector Alfredo Brener. Mr. Brener had the restoration freshened between 1998 and 2000, which featured new cream paintwork, and the car was shown at the 2000 Concorso Italiano and 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show. Acquired by another significant collector from Brener in 2003, the Maserati remained in the U.S. when it was purchased by the current collector in 2017.
Immediately following acquisition, the one-off Frua spyder was sent to RM Auto Restoration, where it was mechanically and cosmetically prepared for the 2018 Colorado Grand. This included an extensive mechanical restoration to bring the car to reliable running and driving order. The engine and transmission were both rebuilt, with a new second gear and clutch fitted, in addition to rebuilding the rear differential. The brakes were likewise overhauled, and a new exhaust was fitted along with sorting the electrical wiring.
Cosmetically, the bodywork was found to be in sound condition, and was otherwise properly cleaned and detailed. The interior was completely retrimmed in dark red Connolly leather with cream piping to match the exterior, fitted with new carpeting, and the dash was repainted to match the exterior, as well. To top it all off, a new soft-top was fitted with a matching yellow leather boot cover.
During the Colorado Grand, the consignor notes that the 3500 GT performed without issue, effortlessly handling the rigors of the rally at speed—with the driver, two passengers, and a trunk full of luggage, no less. The Colorado Grand has been the car’s only significant outing since acquisition three years ago, and it would certainly be welcome at any number of historic driving events as well as prominent concours d’elegance as a true, one-off coachbuilt Maserati.
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