1966 MASERATI SEBRING 'SERIES II' 3500 COUPÉ
COACHWORK BY CARROZZERIA VIGNALE
CHASSIS NO. AM101 10441
Introduced in 1962, the Sebring was one of the final manifestations of the landmark 3500 GT, which had been the linchpin of Maserati's programme to establish itself as a manufacturer of road cars. Despite numerous racetrack successes that included Juan Manuel Fangio's fifth World Championship - at the wheel of a 250F - and runner-up spot in the World Sports Car Championship with the fabulous 450S - both in 1957, the marque's most successful season - Maserati was by that time facing a bleak future. Its parent company's financial difficulties forced a withdrawal from racing, and Maserati's survival strategy for the 1960s centred on switching production from competition to road models.
A car possessing such impeccable antecedents not unnaturally attracted the attention of Italy's finest carrozzeria: Allemano, Bertone and Frua all created bodies for the 3500 GT chassis. Most coupés were the work of Touring, while all but one (a Frua-bodied example) of the much less common Spyder version were the work of Carrozzeria Vignale.
Built on the short-wheelbase chassis of the Spyder and likewise styled by Vignale, the Sebring 2+2 coupé arrived in 1962. By now a five-speed gearbox, four-wheel disc brakes, and fuel injection were standard equipment, with automatic transmission, air conditioning, and a limited-slip differential available as options. With a price tag of £5,116 (tax paid in the UK) the Maserati was some 22% more expensive than the contemporary Aston Martin DB5, its closest rival. Introduced in 1965, the Sebring Series II came with a 3.5 -litre 232bhp, 3.7-litre 245bhp engine, while some cars left the factory with 4.0-litre units towards the end of production in 1966, by which time 591 Sebrings had been built, 247 of which were in the second series.
One of the most elegant and understated Grand Touring cars of the 1960s, the Maserati Sebring offered here is a late Series II model fitted with the 3.5-litre engine and five-speed gearbox. According to the accompanying copy of Maserati's build sheet, chassis number '10441' was manufactured late in the series in July 1966.
Available for sale at Sports Classics London.