Maserati 3500 GT For Sale?

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    Maserati 3500 GT Review (1957 – 1964)

    Overall Summary

    Dusty Cars Rating

    The Maserati A6 went into history in 1956, leaving room for the next mass produced Maserati car. However, even though the A6 is considered the first mass produced Maserati, the fact that only about dozens of them were made a year, means that they weren’t really in proper series production. This is why they needed to go further in this direction.

    The 3500 GT was the first Gran Turismo Maserati car. It was far more upmarket than the A6 and also further removed from the racing solutions, although still heavily based on the vast racing knowledge of Maserati’s engineers.

    The 3500 GT was what they came up with. The grand tourer had two body styles – 2+2 coupe and 2-seat convertible. It featured a lot bigger 3.5 l engine, compared to the magnificently capable A6, based on the one used for endurance races in the 350S. This meant that he engine was capable and reliable at the same time – if it could sustain the perils of endurance racing, street driving should not present any kind of a problem.

    There were two versions of the engine. The less powerful one was equipped with Marelli ignition and dual fuel pump producing 220 horsepower with fuel fed from three Weber carburetors. A switch to Lucas mechanical fuel injection increased the power to 235 horsepower. There were also two transmission options – four-speed ZF manual, or five-speed ZF manual which came later.

    The 3500 GT was a magnificent touring car in absolutely every respect, from its engine’s capability and reliability to beautifully styled leather interior. It was also significantly heavier than the lightweight Maserati A6 for sale, but, with the weight of 3,175 lb in its heaviest form, it was still reasonably light and confidence-inspiring in curves.

    Driving & Performance

    If you were looking for pure driving pleasure, the Maserati 3500 GT was an excellent choice. Apart from the incredibly capable 3.5 l, DOHC engine which would pull confidently even from lower rpms, the car also had revered ZF transmissions with four or five speeds.

    The same engine came with two power ratings, depending on the fuel system. The 220 horsepower carbureted engine had the top speed of 138 miles an hour, while the Lucas mechanical fuel injection increased the power to about 235 horsepower and the top speed to 147 miles an hour – just as much as the fastest version of the almost twice as light A6.

    Similarly, the suspension was more than sufficient. The front had double wishbone coil springs, hydraulic dampers and an anti-roll bar, at the back there were also hydraulic dampers and an anti-roll bar, but this time with a longitudinal torque arm and a Salisbury solid axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs. The 16” wheels featured three different sets of brakes. Initial models had Girling 12” drums, but discs were introduced later, first only on the front wheels and then all around.

    All this meant that the lightweight car would pull confidently, turn with precision and stop reassuringly. Although some other cars of the era might be the choice of some, no one can really say that the Maserati 3500 GT was a bad, or dull ride.

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    Equipment & Comfort

    On the inside the Maserati 3500 GT was a proper Gran Turismo car, designed to provide comfort and elegance for long cruises. The leather seats were rather long and comfortable and there was enough room for the driver and passenger.

    There were two kinds of dashboards. On older models there was an instrument cluster flanked by two big dials for the speedometer and the rev counter and three smaller ones between the two for other vitals of the car. All of the other switches were at the very bottom of the dashboard, while the passenger’s side was fairly clean with a big glove compartment.

    The other kind had a similar instrument cluster, but the switches were scattered around the dashboard. In front of the passenger there was still a glove compartment, but also a radio and a big handle running down the bottom of the dashboard.

    Between the driver and passenger there was a big transmission tunnel which, on the latter model, also included an ashtray.

    The two versions had different number of seats. The coupe and was a 2+2, while the convertible was a two-seater. However, the two rear seats on the coupe did not leave enough legroom for the rear passengers.

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    History & Development

    After notable success in motorsport Maserati decided to start including production models in their lineup. After the A6 they were looking for a capable Gran Turismo car. The engine they opted for was already familiar for the factory, being used in the 350S endurance car for two years before the 3500 GT came. The engine did sustain some changes, including going for the wet sump.

    Maserati, being a small company, had big problems with tax system in Italy at the time, since it favored companies that would build every part in-house. This meant that not many components could be found in Italy, so the United Kingdom was an obvious choice, with parts like Salisbury rear axle, Girling brakes and Alford & Alder suspension sitting alongside Italian Weber carburetors and Marelli ignition.

    The convertible version came in 1959, two years after the first coupe. It was significantly different from the coupe, not even sharing the same body. Its wheelbase was shorter and the car was lighter which is not very common for convertibles. The same year marked the moment when front brake discs and limited slip differential appeared as optional features, only to become standard one year later. In 1962 all four brakes were discs.

    First change to the engine came in 1960. Instead of the mentioned Weber carburetors, Maserati now used Lucas mechanical fuel injection which increased the power to 235 horsepower. The car with this engine became known as the 3500 GTi. Other changes included five-speed ZF gearbox, a longer and lower body, new grille and new rear lights.

    The production ended in 1964 after 2,226 3500 GTs, 245 of which were convertibles. Vast majority of coupes were the company’s Touring coupes, but there were several special edition models made by various famous coachbuilders, such as Allemano, Zagato, Boneschi, Frua, Bertone and Moretti.

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    Facts & Figures

    Body2- door convertible and coupe
    Engines3.5 L I6
    Dimensions and weight
    Wheelbase98.4” - 102.4”
    Length175.2” – 188.2”
    Width64.4” – 69.3”
    Weight3,000 lb – 3,175 lb
    Maserati Ghibli years of production
    1957 – 1964
    Maserati Ghibli production numbers
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