Weekly Historical Car
Maserati's chief engineer Giulio Alfieri developed the two 2+2 prototype 3500GT, revealed at the Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva, March 1957. Both had a 2,600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase and aluminum bodywork; one a superleggera body by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, the other by Carrozzeria Allemano. The design incorporated
- Maserati 350S-derived straight-six cylinder, DOHC 3485 cc litre 42 DCOE Weber carburetor engine (220 bhp at 5500 rpm),
- mechanical Magneti-Marelli ignition, dual spark plugs and dual fuelpump
- 4-speed ZF S4-17 gearbox (2.98:1, 1.99:1, 1.34:1, 1:1),
- Girling 12" turbofinned drum brakes front and rear
- Borg & Beck-made single-plate dry clutch,
- live rear axle, differential (mechanics) by Salisbury,
- suspension by Alford & Alder: Front wishbone and coil-springed suspension; rear semielliptic springs.
- 16" steel wheels with 6.5" Pirelli Cinturato diagonal tires.
Minor design changes were undertaken before production of the 1,420 kg (3,131 lb) Touring-based body started late 1957. Front disc brakes and limited slip differential became optional in 1959, standardized in 1960; rear discs became standard in 1962. Borrani knock-out wire wheels complemented the standard steel wheels, as well as wider 185x16" radial tyres. All cars had leather interior and Jaeger-LeCoultreinstruments. Power windows was added as standard.
In 1959, the Maserati 5000 GT was introduced using the chassis of the 3500GT. Two steel-bodied convertible prototypes by Carrozzeria Vignale and Michelotti were developed in 1959 and shown at the Salon de l'Auto in Paris 1959.
The 3500 GTi was introduced in 1961 as the first fuel-injected Italian production car. It had a Lucasfuel injection (235 bhp). A 5-speed ZF S5-17 gearbox was now standard (3.02:1, 1.85:1, 1.29:1, 1:1, 0.85:1), as well as disc brakes all round. The body had a lowered roofline and became somewhat longer; minor outward changes appeared as well (new grille, rear lights, vent windows). The rather similar Maserati Sebring (3500 GTiS) also a 2+2 coupe entered production in 1962.
The first year (1958) sold 119 cars, 1961 was the best-selling year totalling 500. All together, 245 Vignale convertibles and nearly 2000 coupes were manufactured, of these, 1981 being Touring coupes, the rest were bodied by other coachbuilders, Carrozzeria Allemano (four coupes, including the 1957 prototype), Zagato (one coupe, 1957), Carrozzeria Boneschi (two cars; 1962, 1963 Salone dell'automobile di Torino, 1962); Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva, 1963), Pietro Frua (two or three coupes, one spider) and Bertone (one coupe). The last was a coupe byMoretti (Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva, 1966).