The Maserati 3500 GT
"The Tipo 101 - a design of classic simplicity."

Photos from an early Maserati brochure.

In the mid-fifties the head of Maserati, Omer Orsi, gave Ing. Giulio Alfieri, Maserati's chief engineer, the task of designing a fast reliable road going Granturismo that could be produced in larger numbers.

Maserati had until then produced road cars in very low numbers mainly in response to orders from individual customers. It was this strategy that was to change Maserati's fortunes.

An early 3500 G.T. factory brochure

Ample boot space for at least one adult!

This decision was to become even more relevent when in 1958, after having captured the Formula 1 World Championship and, but for some bad luck, almost capturing the World Sportscar Championship, Maserati entered some dark days financially.

Alfieri's plan was a simple but effective one and was influenced by the need to make production as economical as possible whilst ensuring quality and reliability.

To achieve this Alfieri modified the competition six cylinder engine from the Tipo 350S sports racer for road use and incorporated some major components from leading European manufactures.

From Germany the ZF (Zahnradfabrik of Friedrichshafen) gearbox, and from England the clutch assembly by Borg and Beck, the rear differential by Salisbury and front and rear suspension components from Alford Alder.

Seating for four, two large and two small!

Full instrumentation and a Nardi steering wheel

The 3500 GT was first presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1957.

Two prototypes were displayed on the Maserati stand: one by Allemano, the then traditional designer for the 'Casa del Tridente' and the other the work of Carrozzeria Touring of Milan.

Touring had designed a very elegant 2+2 coupé and it was this design that Omer Orsi chose for the series production.

The 3500GT's twin overhead camshaft six cylinder engine fed by three twin choke 42 DCOE Weber carburettors had a cubic capacity of 3,485 with a compression ratio of 8.5 to 1 developing some 220 bhp at 5,500 rpm (reduced slightly from the prototype's figures of 226 bhp at 5,500 rpm). The chassis frame was a multi-tubular structure of high-duty steel giving the car a total dry weight of 1300 kg. Braking was by hydraulically operated 12-inch drum brakes. The front suspension was by coil-springs and wishbones with a torsion anti-roll bar and rear suspension by semi-elliptical leaf-springs and live rear axle.

The classic 3½-litre engine - note the twin coils!

The front suspension of the 3500 GT

Between late 1957 and early 1958 the 3500GT entered production.

The production 3500GTs differed slightly from the prototype with alterations to the headlamps and indicators, a re-designed radiator grille, minor alterations to the dashboard and other smaller details.

The overall design of the 3500GT remained largely unchanged until early 1961 during which time numerous minor modifications were made, many of which were optional. In 1959 optional front disc brakes were available (standard equipment in 1960), a limited slip differential (standard equipment in 1960) and Borrani knock-on wire wheels.

In 1960, Carrozziera Vignale introduced a 3500 spider on a shortened chassis, a design strongly influenced by the Coupé of Touring.

In 1961 a five-speed ZF gearbox was fitted as standard but the major change was the introduction of the 3500GTI fitted with a Lucas direct fuel injection system with power increased to 235bhp.

In 1962 with the 3500GT beginning to look dated some alterations were made to improve its looks with the removal of the side and bonnet air vents.

The elegant lines the 3500 GT

"Born of racing technology."

The twin overhead camshaft light alloy in-line six-cylinder engine with twin-spark ignition.

The 3500GT was more entitled to be named a 'sports car' than a 'Granturismo'. Powered by an engine evolved from the Tipo 250F Formula 1 car and based on the successful Tipo 350S sports racer, the 3500GT had a maximum speed of around 145 mph combined with excellent acceleration (see graph below).
However when it came to appearances, there was nothing sports racer about this car with its combination of elegant coachwork and luxurious interior, it simply oozed class.

The tubular chassis derived from the 300 S and 350 S sports racers (Maserati 'Rivista' September 1998).

The 3500GT is important in that it was Maserati's first production car to be built in substantial numbers with 2226 cars, Coupés and Spyders, built in various guises over a period of eight years. During this period the some of Italy's top Carrozziere Vingale, Allemano, Frua, Bertone, Boneschi and Moretti designed bodies on the 3500's chassis but none achieved the classic lines of the Touring design.

"1a e 2a serie."

The 1957 engine (carburettor)

The 1961 engine (fuel injection)

The 1957 3500 GT (1a serie)

The 1961 3500 GTI (2a serie)

The 1961 fuel-injected version of 3500GT, the 3500GTI, received some minor exterior cosmetic changes: a lower roofline, longer nose, shallower front radiator grille, revised front rectangular-shaped indicators replaced the small round ones, the front foglights were removed, redesigned rear light clusters and rear quarterlights were added to the doors. The letter 'I' was added to the 'Maserati 3500 GT' chrome script above the rear number plate and a Trident badge was added with the word 'Iniezione' written on it.

"The 3500 GT acceleration graph."

The standing kilometre in 26 seconds!

"3500GT/ GTI Coupé and Spyder Production 1957 to 1964."
Official figures kindly supplied by Ermanno Cozza

Coupé by Touring 1973
Coupé by Allemano 4
Coupé by Frua 2
Coupé by Boneschi 2
Coupé by Moretti 1
Coupé by Bertone 1
Spyder by Vignale 242
Spyder by Frua 1
Total Production



Body type 2+2 Coupé
Production years From 1957 to 1964
Engine Front engined 6 cylinder in-line
Bore and stroke 86 mm X 100 mm
Engine capacity 3485.3 cc
Compression ratio 8.2:1
Maximum power 220 bhp @ 5500 rpm (235 bhp @ 5500 rpm)
Maximum power from 1961 235 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Distribution Two overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder
Induction system Three twin-choke 42 DCOE Weber carburettors
Induction system from 1961 Lucas direct fuel injection
Ignition Twin with Marelli distributor
Lubrification Forced with pressure pump with total draining
Transmission Rear wheel drive
Differential Salisbury 'live' axle
Clutch Single dry plate
Gearbox 4 speed and reverse (5-speed from 1961)
Chassis Welded tubular construction
Front suspension Independent wheels, coil-springs
and telescopic shock-absorbers
Rear suspension Rigid axle, semi-elliptical leaf-springs
and telescopic shock-absorbers
Brakes Hydraulically operated drum brakes on all
four wheels (optional front disc brakes)
Wheelbase 2600 mm
Wheel tracks Front 1390 mm    Rear 1360 mm
Tyres Front:- 6.50 x 16    Rear:- 6.50 x 16
Dry weight 1466 kg
Maximum speed 230 km/h (143 mph)

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