>Maserati 3500GT Spider by Vignale TIPPED BY STEPHEN HALSTEAD
It’s good to see a fresh face coming to the £500k-plus end of our high-end party in the shape of Maserati’s 3500GT Spider by Vignale. ‘The gorgeous Maserati 3500 GT/GTI Spider may not have captured hearts or wallets as much as its convertible peers such the Aston Martin DB4, Ferrari 250 GT or Mercedes-benz 300 SL Roadster,’ says Stephen Halstead. ‘But thanks to the resurgence of the Maserati brand there’s great potential for the 3500GT to increase in value and catch up with its counterparts.’
The example pictured here, for sale at Mcgrath Maserati in Hertfordshire, was built in 1960 when Maserati was in its pomp. Both the Touring-styled Coupé and Vignale’s Giovanni Michelottipenned Spider have film-star looks but for sheer visual drama the choice has to be the rarer soft-top car. It’s sleek in profile, with the steel body’s swage line kicking up elegantly behind the door and mildly aggressive air intakes set low into the front wing. The front end is simple but imposing, with a huge grille adorned with the Trident badge. The cabin is chic, with luxurious tan leather, a large-rimmed plastic steering wheel and chrome-rimmed dials.
The beauty of the Spider is that it will happily glide along, but give it some pedal and the 3.5-litre straight-six, a distant relative of the 250F’s race unit, snarls throatily as it thrusts you forward and you hear Maserati’s racing pedigree in the rasp from the tailpipes. It’s aided by a short-throw gearshift that snicks wonderfully between ratios, and a good front-disc/rear-drum brake set-up. The ride is supple and forgiving and it’s not a car you would, or should, consider tipping it fiercely into corners, although its current owner says it has the capacity to surprise.
On paper there’s little to separate the 3500GT Spider from its peers in terms of performance, however the Aston Martin and Ferrari are rarer – with 70 and 200 exmples produced respectively, compared to 242 of the Maserati.
‘That isn’t the only factor holding back the 3500GT’S price; Mercedes rolled out 1858 of its Roadster,’ says Halstead. ‘Maserati has always lagged behind its counterparts when viewed as a highperformance marque but the brand’s recent resurgence should ignite interest in its classic models.’
Will the Maserati catch up with the Aston, Ferrari or Merc? ‘In short, no,’ replies Halstead. ‘But I see a huge amount of potential in the 3500GT to appreciate in its own right. The non-vignale coupés are, naturally, valued lower than the Spider and offer a very tempting entry into classic Maserati ownership at around £250k. For a concours condition right-hand-drive Vignale Spider you can expect to pay around £800k.’
It’s a lot of money until compared directly to its supposedly more illustrious contemporaries, and then this stunning ‘new kid on the block’ seems like decidedly good value.
‘Maserati’s resurgence should ignite interest in its classic models’
Despite its gorgeous Michelotti styling, the 3500GT Spider has never been as iconic as its Ferrari, Aston or Merc rivals – making it a relative bargain