1961 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder by Vignale
- One of 242 Vignale Spyders built
- Originally a factory demonstrator
- Rare removable hardtop; spectacular colors
The Maserati 3500 GT that was launched at the 1957 Geneva Salon was designed by chief engineer Giulio Alfieri, and it was essentially developed from the company’s first street car, the AG6 of 1946, which was offered only as a rolling chassis and was bodied by numerous exotic coachbuilders. It is a testament to the chassis design that continued to evolve throughout the 1960s, and it ultimately powered the Sebring and Mistral. In its 3500 GT form, the twin-plug, 3.5-liter inline-six could carry its passengers upwards of 140 mph, which was an impressive figure for the era.
The best possible components went into the 3500 GT, such as a ZF all-synchro four-speed gearbox, a Salisbury axle, Alford and Adler front suspension, and Girling brakes. Mechanical developments were steady throughout production, with a five-speed ZF gearbox being made an option in 1960 and then standardized the next year. Massive Alfin drum brakes were offered until 1959, when three key options were added, front disc brakes, center-lock Borrani wire wheels, and a limited-slip differential.
The most rare factory iteration of the 3500 GT was the spyder, which was bodied by Alfredo Vignale on a slightly shortened 100-inch wheelbase chassis. Only 242 Vignale spyders were produced, compared to 2,000 production coupes.
The car offered here, chassis number AM101.1029, is recorded in Maserati’s factory records as having been built in October 1960. It was delivered on June 30, 1961, to Mr. Carlo Ostani, of Montebelluna, near Torino, and interestingly, these records indicate that Mr. Ostani, a real estate agent, purchased this Spyder directly from the factory, without interacting with a dealer. Further, the 3500 GT was ordered new with Borrani wire wheels, and it was also one of the last to be built with the preferred Weber carbureted engine, as fuel injection was being installed on later models. Interestingly, the factory documents mention “new vehicle registration, but used by the house for demonstrations,” indicating that the factory had used this particular car as a demonstrator for prospective customers.
The car has more recently been fully and professionally restored, and it is finished in a rich, dark blue with brand-new beige Connolly leather upholstery. In fact, since the photographs pictured here were taken, a new interior has been installed, one in a richer shade of tan than is shown in the photography.
In addition to the standard factory soft-top, it is equipped with the optional factory hardtop. In fact, many enthusiasts would agree that this is one of the true Italian sports cars that look just as good wearing their hardtop as they do with the top down. The car also features its tool kit.
This Maserati is ready for the concours circuit or to be used as a spectacular driver, as it is a beautiful example of the most sought-after 3500 GT variant: Vignale’s sexy spyder.