Lot 203 - 1966 Maserati Sebring Series II
|Odometer reading||28,500 miles|
|Estimate||£180,000 - £220,000|
Introduced in 1962, the Sebring was one of the final manifestations of the landmark 3500 GT which had been the linchpin of Maserati's program to establish itself as a manufacturer of road cars. Despite numerous racetrack successes, including Juan Manuel Fangio's fifth World Championship at the wheel of a 250F and runner-up in the World Sports Car Championship with the fabulous 450S, Maserati was by that time facing trouble in the domestic marketplace. Attention focused itself in 1957 with the launch of the Touring-bodied 3500 GT. 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. These cars had true superstar genes and it didn’t stop there. The 3500GT was continually updated eventually ending up with a five-speed gearbox and front disc brakes.
A car possessing such impeccable antecedents not unnaturally attracted the attention of Italy's finest carrozzeria or styling houses. Most coupés were the work of Touring whilst the much rarer Spider version was the work of Vignale. Built on this chassis and likewise styled by Vignale, the Sebring Coupé arrived in 1962. By now, a five-speed ZF 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 hefty price tag, the new Maserati was some 22% more expensive than the contemporary Aston Martin DB5, its closest rival and certainly exceeded it in terms of detail and build quality. Introduced in 1965, the Sebring Series II came with a 3.7 litre, potent 245bhp engine. By the end of production in 1966, by which time 591 Sebrings had been built, 242 of which were in the second series.
Originally delivered to Dr. Mario Mazzacurati in Rome, it made its way East to New Zealand to Mr. K. MacD Hunter who, clearly, had exquisite taste as the car he chose to invest in was a rare Italian sporting coupé. Any parts required were painstakingly written to Modena for, often by a new system at the time called a Facimile. The car was maintained over many years in this way until the early 2000’s when it was comprehensively restored. The coachwork was stripped to bare metal and painted in the correct Italian colour of Marrone Rossiccio from the original Argento Auteuil or silver. It was also re-trimmed in Italian leather at great expense along with the addition of electronic ignition. That tremendous power plant was also rebuilt under the watchful eye of Mr. Hunter before it was imported into the UK in 2015. The work continued this side of the Pacific with a gearbox rebuild by Ferrari specialists, SMDG of Horsham, as well as a number of other miscellaneous items including fuel pump, bearings, half shafts and, of course, a massive service. Bill McGrath then supplied new clutch and release bearings.
Presented in, what can only be described as, show condition throughout, this automotive work of art is also accompanied by the much coveted Maserati Classiche documents including the ‘Historical Information’ and ‘Technical and Aesthetic Characteristics’ paperwork.
You can always tell much about a motorcar by the attitude of the owner; this owner spends his money wisely and, more importantly, thoroughly uses and enjoys his cars. Stunning and, importantly, reliable; we know this because it has to be.