Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

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Maserati – 3500 Spider Vignale Prototipo (1959)


Vehicle Type:
Coach Builder:
Inline 6
Engine CC:
Phil White (US)

Class E


Maserati - 3500 Spider Vignale Prototipo
Class E56

The Maserati 3500 GT Coupé came onto the market in 1957 wearing a standardised Touring body. In 1958, Touring had already built the first two prototypes of the open-top 3500 GT Spider version. The design of the body was essentially equivalent to that of the coupé and the beltline was continuous, as in the case of the coupé. However, the order for series production was ultimately placed with Vignale. In contrast to the coupé, the bodywork was largely made of steel because aluminium would not have been robust enough for a self-supporting body and excessive torsion would have been exerted. Vignale’s body design for the Spider was penned by Michelotti and presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1959. The most striking feature of the body styling was a clear hip curve above the rear wheels, and the wheelbase was 10 cm shorter than in the coupé. As in this version, the inline six-cylinder engine fitted with Weber triple carburettors yielded 220 hp and the car reached a top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph). From 1959, front disc brakes and limited-slip differential could be ordered as an option, and these attributes were then supplied as standard in 1960, with rear discs also becoming factory fitted in 1962. The Spider shown here demonstrates many styling details that were not incorporated in production models. They include the shape of the bumpers, the front-grille Maserati trident, the bulge on the hood reprising the shape of the instrument binnacle, and the air scoops at the side of the front bumper – to name just a few! Moreover, the line of the doors at the top was also modified to wrap tightly around the windscreen posts. This sports car was delivered with disc brakes and competition engine in 1959. The first custodian was Joe Lubin from California, a gentleman racing driver who at the time also owned the first Birdcage Maserati Tipo 61 delivered to Los Angeles. A total of 242 Spiders were built until the production run finished in 1964.

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