LIGHTER, FASTER AND RARER THAN A DB5. THE MASERATI 3500 GTi is one of the most undervalued Grand Tourers in today’s market, and this example is to be auctioned tomorrow by COYS at their Classic Days at Schloss Dyck Auction.
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.
So here is the value proposition – the 3500GTi’s value has been held down by comparison with the lowest value 1960s Ferrari, but it could also be compared to Aston’s most valuable, the DB5. 1,059 DB5s were produced between 1963-1965 and one 1964 example recently sold at Bonhams Newport Pagnell sale on 13 May, 2017 for $738,134.
The two cars are very close in specification, both using straight six all-alloy engines with dual-cam heads mated to the ZF 5-speed manual gearbox. Both use a solid rear axle and front double wishbone suspension, with disc brakes all-round. And both feature steel chassis featuring 2+2 seating, clothed in superleggera aluminium coachwork designed by Touring of Milan.
The Maserati weighs 1,440kg (3,175 lb) and the DB5 weighs 1,502 kg (3,311 lb). The Maserati’s 3.5L engine is of very similar specification to the Aston’s 4.0L, with power of around 232 bhp at 5,500 rpm versus the DB5 power claim of 282 bhp (210 kW) at 5,500 rpm. Although the Aston wins on power and displacement, the Maserati unit has genuine competition pedigree, whereas the Aston does not. Its 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. Alfieri modified the 350S’s engine to suit a touring car, e.g. by switching to a wet sump oil system and changing the engine accessories.
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, and is equivalent to a DB5. Aston produced 1,185 Touring bodied DB4s and 1,085 DB5s, for a total of 2,270. Maserati only built a total of 1,981 Touring bodied 3500 GT series cars, and less than 1,000 of the Series 3 3500 GTi, so it is slightly rarer than the Aston.
Of course, nothing can compete with the iconic status of the DB5 thanks to it’s starring role in Goldfinger. However, the Maserati was also a star of the silver screen, featuring in many movies including Charade, 1963 – starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.
COYS’ Schloss Dyck Auction this weekend features this 1963 3500 GTi Chassis No. 2660 which was the subject of an in-depth restoration from 2005 onwards. Finished in arguably the best colour combination for a 3500 – gunmetal grey over red this wonderful example of the marque is also reported to be in excellent mechanical order. It features the ultimate Series 3 specification for car, and with it’s Borrani knock-off wire wheels (which were an official option for the car) it looks like the perfect Italian early sixties GT.