Maserati Sebring Series I Coupé 1964 by Vignale
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale
Chassis no. 101.01975
•Desirable first series example
•An older restoration
•Sympathetic re-commissioning may be required
•Eligible for pre-1965 events
Introduced in 1962, the Sebring was one of the final manifestations of the landmark 3500GT, 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.
The Modena marque's new era began in 1957 with the launch of the Touring-bodied 3500GT, its first road car built in significant numbers. A luxury 2+2, the 3500GT drew heavily on Maserati's competition experience, employing a tubular chassis frame and an engine derived from the 350S sports car unit of 1956. Suspension was independent at the front by wishbones and coil springs, while at the back there was a conventional live axle/semi-elliptic arrangement. The 3500GT's designer was none other than Giulio Alfieri, creator of the immortal Tipo 60/61 'Birdcage' sports-racer and the man responsible for developing the 250F into a World Championship winner. The twin-overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine was a close relative of that used in the 250F and developed around 220bhp initially, later examples producing 235bhp on Lucas mechanical fuel injection.
Built on the short-wheelbase chassis of the spyder and likewise styled by Carrozzeria 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. Introduced in 1965, the Sebring Series II came with a 3.7-litre 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, around 400 of which were in the first series.
Delivered new to the USA, where it was restored, this particular Sebring was purchased by the current vendor in France in 2014, at which the odometer reading was 54,600 miles (approximately 87,800 kilometres). The car has not been used since then and, being an older restoration, will require re-commissioning before returning to the road. Finished in red with a beautifully patinated blue leather interior, the car is offered with a cancelled French Carte Grise and paperwork relating to its sale/purchase in 2014.
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