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 sports car unit of 1956. The 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, 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.
Luxury ‘2+2’ GTs have always trailed similar 2-seaters in value, and one of the reasons for this valuation is because the classic Ferrari market is used as the template for other marques. The Ferrari market is shaped by the factory’s output of predominately 2-seaters, with luxury ‘2+2’ GTs only being added once mass-production began with the 1960 250 GT/E, which has always been the most affordable early 1960s Ferrari. However, other manufacturers, notably Aston Martin, produced predominantly 2+2s throughout the fifties and sixties, and their 1963 DB5, which is Aston’s most valuable production car of the decade, was a direct competitor to the 3500GTi.
The 3500 GT (Series 1) was constructed from 1957-1959 with a 4-speed ZF gearbox, and is equivalent to an Aston Martin DB4. The 3500 GTi (Series 2) was constructed between 1960 and 1961, and had the 5-speed ZF and front disc brakes. The 1962-1964 3500 GTi (Series 3) added rear disc brakes
The Maserati 3500 GT was built from 1957 to 1966. In total 1972 units were built. In 1962, a modified and improved version was offered to the market. The most relevant upgrades were full disc brakes, a five gear transmission instead of 4 gears, and electric windows – but there were also some minor visual improvements. This upgraded version was called the Maserati 3500 GTi. The ”i” stands for a fuel injection system made by Lucas that was now standard for the car. Since the fuel injection technology was new at the time, it was not very reliable and it still is not reliable today in these cars.
This car was first bought by Commendatore Alfonso Morini, a well-known Grand Prix Race Driver and the founder of the famous motorcycle brand “Moto Morini”.
He was one of the most renowned gentlemen in his era in the motoring world. In 1963, he lived in Bologna where the car was delivered to him when it was new.
Alfonso Morini knew about the pros and cons of the fuel injection technology and wisely bought the upgraded GTi version of the car but he requested the much more reliable carburetor set-up. So this 3500 GT(i) combines the best essence possible specification of the car. All the advantages of the second generation of the 3500 GT with the desirable carburetor set-up being all original. There is no documentation about the number of GTis that were ordered with carburetors but I am sure there were very very few of them.
On the passenger side of the dashboard, there is a small metal plate with a blue round stone-like shape and the name Gabriella engraved on it. Gabriella was Alfonso Morini’s daughter and presumably as a lucky charm or a reminder of her, he installed this little plate on the dashboard. Interestingly it was his daughter Gabriella, who ran Moto Morini after her father Alfonso passed away in 1969. She managed the company for almost 20 years until it was sold. It is unclear but likely that Gabriella owned this Maserati after the death of her father before she sold it.
This Maserati had 3 prior owners. Alfonso Morini bought it new and it can be assumed that he passed it on to his daughter Gabriella who drove it for a few years. The car was then sold within Italy once before it was exported to the United States, where it received a minor restoration and was owned by Mr. Barnes in Sacramento for many years. It was after his ownership that the car came back to Europe where the current owner acquired it in 2016.
From 2017 till 2021 the CAr was restored to the last detail of the car. The engine overhaul alone cost more than 40.000 Euros. All other mechanical components were rebuilt as well. Steering, braked, fuel tank, suspension, fuel pump, oil, pump, electrical wiring, etc. – everything was completely rebuilt to the highest standards. A very lengthy and costly process but the quality that the car deserves. In total, the seller estimates the total restoration expense in the range of 200.000 euros. The great thing about the car is that it is 100% original and matching. The engine and all components of the engine have the correct “numero intero” stamped on them. So in a way, the car is “as matching as it gets”.
A Maserati 3500 GT is a truly fascinating car to own and drive. The 3500GT was the first car Maserati ever built that was not a pure race car. The beautiful 3,5 liter straight 6 cylinder engine was originally developed for the Tipo 350S which was a race car that Stirling Moss raced at Mille Miglia. The engine received some minor modifications to make it more durable and usable and went straight into the Maserati 3500GTs. The driving experience of the Maserati 3500 GT is dominated by its incredible engine. It is rev hungry, strong, loud, and very agile, an absolute blast to drive.
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