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Lot 140: Maserati 3500GT Coupé

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (15 September 2012)

Despite numerous racetrack successes that included Juan Manuel Fangio's fifth World Championship - at the wheel of a 250F - and runner-up spot in the World Sports Car Championship with the fabulous 450S - both in 1957, the marque's most successful season - Maserati was by that time facing a bleak future. Its parent company's financial difficulties forced a withdrawal from racing and Maserati's survival strategy for the 1960s centred on establishing the company as a producer of road cars. The Modena marque's new era began in 1957 with the launch of the Touring-bodied 3500GT, its first road car built in significant numbers. A luxury '2+2', the 3500GT drew heavily on Maserati's competition experience, employing a tubular chassis frame and an engine derived from the 350S competition sports car unit of 1956. Suspension was independent at the front by wishbones and coil springs while at the back there was a conventional live axle/semi-elliptic arrangement. The 3500GT's designer was none other than Giulio Alfieri, creator of the immortal Tipo 60/61 'Birdcage' sports-racer and the man responsible for developing the 250F into a World Championship winner. The twin-overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine was a close relative of that used in the 250F and developed around 220bhp initially on carburettors, later examples producing 235bhp on Lucas mechanical fuel injection. Built initially with drum brakes and four-speed transmission, the 3500GT was progressively updated, gaining five speeds, front disc brakes and, finally, all-disc braking before production ceased in 1964. Chassis number '1020' is one of only 40 right-hand drive cars built, of which it is estimated that fewer than half survive worldwide. A matching numbers example, it boasts arguably the most desirable specification, combining the 'Series 1' cars' purity of line with triple Weber carburettors, a ZF five-speed gearbox and disc brakes. A factory email confirms that '1020' was originally red with black interior as it is today; and that it was supplied new to dealers Murray Motors of Fleetwood, UK. Mr Lyle Emms is recorded as owner in the (copy) 1973 old green logbook while a list of subsequent owners since the 1980s includes: Vartivar Melkonian, Jeremy Coton, Patrick Martin, Captain James May, Daniel Nash, John Saunders and the current vendor, who acquired the 35000GT from marque specialists Bill McGrath Ltd in August 2010. The car had always been in road-going trim but was in need of some rectification. Initial plans to create a semi-competition car were shelved in favour of a conventional rebuild for road use and for sporting road events. Written for AutoItalia magazine and running to some 1,600 words, the owner's detailed account of the restoration is too lengthy to reproduce here but is available for inspection. Works carried out included altering the 'Series 2' front panel to correct 'Series 1' specification, making various body repairs, deleting the sunroof and changing the interior from tan to its original colour of black. At the same time the opportunity was taken to fit inertia reel seat belts. The existing paint was flatted back and re-sprayed, and new Lucas lights fitted all round. Unobtainable as genuine spares, the chromed trim around the front and rear windscreens, and the bonnet moustache were fabricated and plated. Brand new stainless steel bumpers and a new stainless front grille were also fitted. The running gear was in good condition, merely requiring a new brake servo, one rear brake drum and new front disc pads. Koni Sport adjustable dampers were already on the car and it was decided to replace the inadequate front anti-roll bar with a slightly thicker item, which has reduced excessive roll and sharpened the handling. Already dismantled, the engine needed rebuilding, the gearbox needed replacement, and the radiator was missing, The engine was rebuilt with new valve guides, 'lead-free' valve seats, honed cylinder bores, lightweight forged pistons, new crankshaft bearings, lightened flywheel, new upgraded diaphragm clutch, reconditioned water pump and much more. The crankshaft was machined, as were the con-rods, and everything balanced. A previous owner had upgraded the oil filter housing to take a modern spin-on filter. A new oil cooler was fitted together with a new water radiator and new thermostat. The new radiator also included a thermostatic switch to control a powerful 14" electric fan. In addition, the carburettors were rebuilt while the ignition system received new HT leads, plugs, plug caps, points and condensers. The four-speed ZF gearbox was found to be worn out so a reconditioned five-speed ZF 'box was supplied by Bill McGrath Ltd, as was the vast majority of components used in the rebuild (see bills on file). 1960 was the changeover year from four to five speeds, so fitting a five-speed 'box seemed the sensible thing to do. A completely new prop-shaft was fitted also. Following its completion, the 3500GT attended the Maserati Club's summer concours at the Stanford Hall AutoItalia day in 2012 and the subsequent outing to Goodwood Motor Circuit, where it completed many laps with the vendor's wife at the wheel, looking majestic and performing superbly. Only sold to help finance other projects, this understated all-weather classic is offered with the aforementioned restoration invoices, current road fund licence, MoT to April 2013 and Swansea V5C registration document.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood
Lot Number140
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£66000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£75420
Condition rating
Registration number761 STC
Chassis number101/1020
Engine number101/1020
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2