Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photos: Mecum
Production of the standard Maserati 3500 had wrapped up in mid-1964, but this chassis was constructed by Vignale in January 1965 to GTI Spyder specification, which meant a 3.5-litre twin-cam straight-six engine and a ZF five-speed manual ‘box. The body itself is very different to those of the main production cars, with a reworked nose and hindquarters. It was bought by Simini Giuseppe of Milan, Italy and would remain, along with the sole other car built to this style, an intriguing rarity.
This one-of-two Vignale-bodied prototype Maserati 3500 GTI Spyder has sold at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction, beating its top estimate. Against a $350,000-$500,000 projection, chassis AM101/109/001’s final sale price was $550,000.
It came at a busy time for Maserati, with a lot of overlap between models. The 3500 had been in production since 1957, and its final years had seen the introduction of the Sebring and the Mistral. Just five 3500s left the factory in 1964, which goes some way to explaining why series production wasn’t moved forward.
The car had found its way to the US by the time it entered the Rick Grant III collection in 1976. He purchased it for a paltry $10,000 in Ohio, and would regularly use it over the next two decades. In 2005 he treated it a restoration by Dale Oakes of Euro Classics in Dayton, Ohio, which saw fresh paint, upgraded stainless-steel door sills, an interior retrim in red leather and an oak-veneer dashboard. The Lucas fuel-injection system was replaced with triple Weber twin-choke carburettors.
More details are available here.