1960 Maserati 3500 GT Coupé

Maserati’s 3500 GT was the car that turned the company into a successful producer of Grand Touring cars, whereas Maserati had previously been known for its very fast racing cars. Appearing first at the Geneva Motor Show in 1957 in two variants, one christened the “White Lady” (Dama Bianca) with Superleggera coachwork by Touring and the other with coachwork by Carozzeria Allemano. The “White Lady” was chosen as the production version and a new chapter in Maserati history was begun.

Maserati's GT 3500 Coupé immediately gives the impression of being balanced and coordinated. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

Maserati’s GT 3500 Coupé immediately gives the impression of being balanced and coordinated. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

But the story behind the car’s development stretches back to 1955. Maserati’s chief engineer Giulio Alfieri had already started work on a new 3.5 litre engine with a view to endurance racing powering the Maserati 350S. To this end Alfieri designed a long stroke in-line six cylinder engine with dual ignition, as is commonly used in aviation engines to provide redundancy and increase efficiency.

Giulio Alfieri's in-line Dual Overhead Camshaft engine for the 350S endurance racing car and then for the 3500 GT utilises a dual ignition system, meaning two spark plugs per cylinder, two distributors and two ignition coils. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

Giulio Alfieri’s in-line Dual Overhead Camshaft engine for the 350S endurance racing car and then for the 3500 GT utilises a dual ignition system, in this case meaning two spark plugs per cylinder. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

Alfieri modified his straight six 3,485.29cc DOHC dual ignition racing engine to make it suitable for a road car. Power was reduced to a more moderate 217bhp. The change was made to a conventional wet sump and the engine was fitted with three twin choke Weber 42 DCOE carburettors and Marelli dual fuel pump and dual ignition. The engine was made to provide a balance between reliability and power. The gearbox for the 3500 GT was initially a four speed ZF later upgraded to a five speed ZF.

The triple Weber 42 DCOE carburettors are fed from dual Marelli fuel pumps. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

The triple Weber 42 DCOE carburettors are fed from dual Marelli fuel pumps. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

As Maserati was not able to source suitable parts for this new car in Italy a trip to Britain was made and British brakes and Salisbury rear axle were sourced along with Alford & Alder suspension parts. Early models of the 3500 GT were fitted with 12″ Girling finned drum brakes and later models were upgrade to having front discs retaining the drums at the rear and then the last models were upgraded again to having disc brakes all around.

The Maserati 3500 GT Coupé has a Salisbury rear axle and Girling brakes. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

The Maserati 3500 GT Coupé has a Salisbury rear axle and Girling brakes. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

Suspension of the 3500GT was by double wishbones with coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar at the front. Whilst at the rear a live Salisbury axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs with an anti-roll bar, longitudinal torque arm and hydraulic shock absorbers.

The car was  built on a tube platform frame chassis with tubular steel framework and aluminium Superleggera bodywork.

The interior of the 3500 GT is simply furnished yet exudes quality. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

The interior of the 3500 GT is simply furnished yet exudes quality. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

The interior of this car featured quality upholstery and carpeting in a restrained environment. The instrumentation by Jaeger being sufficiently comprehensive.

The 3500 GT is a 2+2 and the rear seats are adequate, as one would expect. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

The 3500 GT is a 2+2 and the rear seats are adequate, as one would expect. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

The Maserati 3500 GT Coupé not only sold well but was purchased by quite a “who’s who” list that included Prince Rainier III of Monaco (who was married to American actress Grace Kelly), Anthony Quinn, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and Stewart Granger. So it was a car that appealed both to royalty and to Hollywood royalty of the fifties and sixties.

The interior layout reflects Maserati's expertise in creating performance cars for knowledgeable drivers. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

The interior layout reflects Maserati’s expertise in creating performance cars for knowledgeable drivers. (Picture courtesy Bonhams).

The car we are featuring is coming up for sale at the Goodwood Members Meeting Bonhams auction and you will find detail information about the pictured car on Bonhams site if you click here.

The car is one of only twelve right hand drive models produced.

(Picture courtesy Bonhams).

(Picture courtesy Bonhams).

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