1957 Production Example, Uniquely Specified for the Paris Auto Show. Desirable Configuration with Webers, Wire Wheels, and 5-Speed. Matching Numbers, and Offered with Extensive Documentation Including Maserati Classic Certificate. Ideally Suited to Premier Rally Events Around the Globe.
1957 Maserati 3500 GT
s/n AM101*058*, engine no. AM101*058*
White with Red Leather Interior
Originally founded by a family of talented and versatile Italian brothers, Maserati leveraged their passion for racing into heralded competition victories, reflecting their superlative engineering and dedicated automotive artisanship. Through their commitment to innovation, the Maserati brothers assembled some of the finest racecars in the world while attracting world-class drivers. Though lacking the resources to compete against more robustly funded companies, Maserati eventually found financial stability through Adolfo Orsi who invested heavily in the company and retained the brothers for their technical services. During his tenure, Orsi wisely shifted focus to dual-purpose vehicles capable of delivering competition performance yet configured for touring use. The move was critical as post war interest in personal cars proved to be far more lucrative. By 1957 Maserati made the decision to place their in-house racing program on hold in order to focus resources on the development of an all-new road car.
Introduced at the 1957 Geneva Auto Show, the 3500GT presented an elegant, refined 2+2 design penned by Guilio Alfieri and constructed by Carrozzeria Touring. The lightweight handmade aluminum body panels were formed over a high-resistance tubular steel frame. Having been based on aircraft construction methods refined for production during the war, the patented Touring Superleggera (super lightweight) method was perfectly suited for low to mid-volume production cars. Under the dramatic hood, Maserati utilized their race-bred twin-plug 3500cc engine. The triple chain driven twin overhead camshaft unit housed hemispherical combustion chambers, proudly atop the in-line six-cylinder block with 8.2:1 compression. Updated to a wet-sump system, tuned for street use, and mated to a ZF 4-speed synchromesh gearbox, the engine and gearbox combination was very well balanced for the 102” wheelbase. The solid rear axle featured torsion rod suspension and cantilevered leaf springs, while the independent front suspension utilized coil springs and torsion bars. The beautiful Touring body combined with superlative performance pleased contemporary press and buyers alike. Production for the 3500 GT continued through 1964, allowing Maserati to not only remain profitable, but to gain an important footing in the North American market, establishing a world brand that would host the development of numerous sports and GT offerings throughout the ensuing sixty years.
During the inception of the 3500 GT model, in the fall of 1957, this car was constructed and retained by Maserati for internal evaluation and demonstration use. During the time the car was used by Maserati, American driver E.D. Martin recalls testing the car at the Modena Autodromo. Having been tested and refined during the evaluation, this early prototype then assigned the completion build date of March 1958. As specified in the Maserati S.p.A. Classiche Certificate and supported by copies of the original factory reference letters and documents accompanying this car, this 3500GT was finished in Bianco Polo Park (white) with Red Leather (Connolly code PAC.1603), with ventilated Turrino wheels and wheel covers, and built with an instrument cluster specified in French. On November 6, 1958 the car was delivered directly to Paris, France on Maserati invoice no. 1248, to Thepenier, the official Maserati Paris dealer, assigned to Colonel John Simone. Interestingly, the invoice notes that half the shipping charges were paid by consignor and half by consignee. Once delivered to Paris, the car was then shown at the Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l'automobile de Paris) and subsequently registered for road use by Simone. Shortly thereafter, the car returned to Maserati where it was used again for test and demonstration purposes including a road registration by the factory on Bologna plates. By 1959 it was offered for private sale for the first time, once again through Thepenier by Simone.
With most prototypical cars of this era often dismantled, significantly reconfigured, or subjected to novice alterations, it is remarkable that this Maserati not only survived, but retained all of the unique components still with the car today. Of particular note are the early 1957 casting numbers on each of the various castings, roll up windows with elegant hand cranks, evidence of prototypical aluminum body construction including early Touring badges, and several mechanical features of note. The chassis is uniquely different from a standard 3500 GT with prototypical suspension geometry, a 300-S type oil cooler, and magnesium cast Alfin brake drums. Having been destined for the 1958 Paris Motor Show, the unique Jaeger French language instruments and dashboard cluster are quite different from production 3500 GTs, including the French graphics and a tachometer with no redline. Most striking however is the exquisite brass and chrome plated body trim adorning both sides of the car, which offers a striking forward gesture to the profile. Further unique exterior features include a more finely detailed grill mesh, chrome hood and trunk support, unique amber side marker lights, and no chrome trim on the hood scoop. Inside the car, the doors have hand-formed polished aluminum garnish trim accenting the area below the vent windows, an ornate steering wheel with a unique horn button, hand painted emblems, and in the trunk, a more decorative diamond quilted red leather floor mat and liners.
Having completed the duties of a prototype, the rigors of demonstrator use, and the role as a show car, this special Maserati was assigned the first owner, Karlina Castillion de Perron of Bologna on September 29, 1959. For reasons unknown, Perron then sold it back to Thepenier the following month. Shortly thereafter on November 27, 1959 the car was sold to Roger Baillon, and four years later in December 1963, sold to Antoine Basson of Paris. Remarkably, this special 3500 GT then spends the next 26 years in the Alfredo Brener Maserati Museum Collection, housed among the finest special bodied 3500 GTs in the world.
After much negotiation, on or around 2002, Japanese collector Kasumoto Sasaki is able to convince the Brener Museum to part with the car. The Maserati stays with the Sasaki collection for some years until it is sold to the next owner, and subsequently, by 2014, to the current owner. By this time, Maserati had released details and documents of their early history confirming the lineage of this car including a bounty of original assembly records and invoices compiled by Maserati’s After Sales Director, Sig. George Mauro, and the head of Maserati’s Historical Department, Sig. Fabio Collina. Further, detailed original ownership, export, import and correspondence documents for the first owners are further provided by Maserati historian Walter Bäumer, and of course supported by the contemporary Maserati Classiche Certificates. All of these collected documents deliver a detailed account of the early years this car served as a factory prototype and Paris show car.
In 2014, the current owner purchased the car with the intent of using it as a touring and event car. Prior to his purchase, the previous owner had entered the car in the 2014 Quail Gathering in Carmel, CA, so the current owner was pleased to participate in the 100th year celebration of Masterati as its new owner. In 2015, the car was prepared for the Copperstate 1000 with a comprehensive rebuild of the engine performed by Lyman Scherer, Scottsdale, AZ. During the rebuild, the head was carefully assessed, and it was determined that a new head was necessary. An authentic and correct Maserati head was sourced, the Weber carburetors were rebuilt by Pierce Manifolds, and a 5-speed gearbox was installed to allow for lower revs during long event driving. Finishing off the look of the car, a new set of beautiful 15 inch Borrani wire wheels and fresh tires were installed to allow for modern tires. The car completed the 2015 Copperstate 1000 with no issues and has since been thoughtfully enjoyed by the owner, properly serviced, and cared for in a manner consistent with the previous cadre of enthusiasts fortunate to have been custodians for this rare 1958 Paris Motor Show car.
Today this Maserati 3500 GT presents as a handsomely, although not freshly, restored example with wonderful prototypical details and one-off elements adding to the elegance and purity of this series. The clean Touring lines are beautifully enhanced by the white paint which retains a very nice quality feel to the finish. The paint is glossy throughout, but, as some time has lapsed since restoration, there is evidence of road use and minor stone chips revealing a few small areas of use. The beautifully detailed and refined grille screen is quite nice especially when compared with the heavier gauge grille mesh used in the production version. The characteristic side vents are all the more enhanced by the unique chrome plated garnish accenting the body sides. The upper trim line along the rear fenders, formerly among the only chrome trim on a production 3500 GT, now are harmoniously unified with the side trim. The rare ventilated bimetal wheels have been restored and retained with the car with new Michilen X Tires, while the beautifully finished aluminum Borrani wire wheels and recent Good Year tires currently mounted add a captivating touch to the exterior.
The body panels have excellent fit including tight closures with the hood, and trunk, and good fit from the doors when shut with enthusiasm. There are some paint chips, and minor blemishes in a few of the panel opening edges, noticeable when looking closely, but not diverting from the otherwise cohesive and satisfying visual presentation. Glass and surrounding trim are in very good condition with only minor windshield marks visible upon close examination. The chrome and polished trim are all in excellent condition, showing only light hazing in just a few areas. The more modern headlights are a provision to allow for contemporary road use, while the remaining trim, emblems, and other lighting and lenses have all been properly restored with care and authenticity, especially those unique to this car including the side marker lenses and Touring badges.
Inside, the red leather interior vividly comes to life against the contrasting white exterior and satin black dash. The leather seats have been upholstered with correct piping and pleating patterns, though now showing some lightly relaxed materials since the restoration was completed. The rear seating compartment, headliner, door panels, and carpeting are elegantly unified in material, color, and composition and all show in very good to excellent condition. The dashboard features the exclusive French lettering Jaeger gauges, showing clear graphics and near perfect numeric indication. The unique black steering wheel is handsomely finished with polished aluminum spokes and a visually striking center emblem. Overall the various trim, interior components, and details have been addressed with impressive attention to detail, all the more remarkable given the rarity of the prototypical features retained with the car. The trunk compartment features the quilted diamond pattern, which lines the trunk floor and walls in matching red vinyl as well as the original jack and tool kit, finished in black with matching red straps.
Under the hood, the original matching numbers engine block features the impressive twin-cam, twin-plug 3500 series engine, triple Weber carburetors, and proper finishes reflective of Maserati factory cars. The detailing and finishing performed under the hood when the engine was rebuilt in 2015 has been faithfully performed using correctly painted finishes, proper hoses, lines, and mostly correct fasteners. Although the finishes have mellowed since the restoration was completed, the overall impression is very strong. Most importantly, the early factory castings are retained with the car, many of which are dated to reflect 1957, further supporting the early history of this car as a prototype development example. The underside of the car is clean and well-tended, showing no structural compromises, correct castings, and factory components, properly representing the care and stewardship of the previous and current owners who have so lovingly preserved this rare car.
The car starts easily, steadily advancing to a smooth idle, delivering a rich, warm carbureted sound combined with an excellent exhaust note. The 5-speed unit, changed out in 2015, is easily engaged and the clutch takes up smoothly under acceleration. While the former 4-speed gearbox is retained for historical purposes and included with the car, it should be noted that the 5-speed, which was rebuilt by noted mechanic Jim Stokes is a welcomed improvement to the driving experience. The snappy throttle response and smooth powerband are even more enjoyable particularly at freeway speeds. Acceleration is brisk as the power comes with all the unique instruments functioning as intended, showing good temperature and oil pressure. Braking from the rare cast magnesium Alfin brakes is very good, coming down from higher speeds with even pedal pressure and smooth tracking. The responsive suspension delivers dynamic driving manners, which, it must be said, are very well balanced, perhaps in part to the unique prototypical suspension used on this car. In all this 3500 GT delivers an exhilarating motoring experience with the added pride of knowing you are driving a unique show car, reflective of Maserati and their development history.
The car comes with numerous documents including letters and factory invoices from Maserati supporting the prototype history, previous early ownership, documents showing the unique features of the car, and Maserati Classiche Certificate. Also included with the car is the original 4-speed gearbox, five original Borrani bi-metal wheels and wheel covers (complete with new tires) in excellent restored condition, tools and tool roll, tire tools, and jack.
The Maserati 3500 GT must be counted as one of the finest cars of the 1950s, yet this particularly striking Maserati features not only the beauty of the original design and superlative Touring coachwork, but also offers exquisite one-off details, factory prototype demonstrator history, and Paris Salon provenance, all of which combine to make a truly stunning automobile. Boasting a professional restoration, recent engine rebuild, and excellent visual presentation, this specially constructed Maserati is ready for enjoyable tours, vintage events, or concours exhibits.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608