Maserati 3500 GT

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Maserati 3500 GT
Maserati 3500 GT front.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Maserati
Production19571964
Designer Carrozzeria Touring (coupé)
Giovanni Michelotti at Vignale (spyder)
Body and chassis
Class Grand tourer
Body style 2+2 coupé
2-seat spyder
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Related Maserati Sebring
Powertrain
Engine 3.5 L Tipo 101 I6
Transmission 4-speed ZF S4-17 manual
5-speed ZF S5-17 manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,600 mm (102.4 in) (coupé)
2,500 mm (98.4 in) (spyder)
Length4,780 mm (188.2 in) (coupé)
4,450 mm (175.2 in) (spyder)
Width1,760 mm (69.3 in) (coupé)
1,635 mm (64.4 in) (spyder)
Kerb weight 1,440 kg (3,175 lb)
Chronology
Predecessor Maserati A6
Successor Maserati Sebring

The Maserati 3500 GT (Tipo 101) and the Maserati 3500 GT Convertibile (Tipo 101/C) are 2-door coupé and convertible grand tourers made by Italian car manufacturer Maserati between 1957 and 1964. It was a seminal vehicle for Maserati as the company's first successful attempt at the Gran Turismo market and series production.

Coupé closed two-door car body style with a permanently attached fixed roof which is shorter than a sedan

A coupé or coupe is a passenger car with a sloping rear roofline and generally two doors.

Grand tourer High-performance luxury automobile

A grand tourer (GT) is a car that is designed for high speed and long-distance driving, due to a combination of performance and luxury attributes. The most common format is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive two-door coupé with either a two-seat or a 2+2 arrangement.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Contents

History

Background

In the early 1950s Maserati had achieved racing success and international visibility, thanks to cars such as the A6GCM; its 2-litre, twin cam inline-six engine had already been enlarged to three litre capacity on the Maserati 300S. Chief engineer Giulio Alfieri felt the next step was to design an all-new 3.5-litre engine; the resulting long-stroke six, designed foremost for endurance racing on the Maserati 350S, was ready in 1955. [1] In the meantime Maserati's first forays into the grand tourer market, the 1947 A6 1500, 1951 A6G 2000 and 1954 A6G/54, had proven that the business was feasible; but the A6 road cars were still built in just a dozen examples a year—hardly series production. A different approach was needed to build fully accomplished grand tourers.

The Maserati A6GCM is a single seater racing car from the Italian manufacturer Maserati. Developed for Formula Two, 12 cars were built between 1951 and 1953.

Maserati 300S

The Maserati 300S was a racing car produced by Maserati of Italy between 1955 and 1958, which competed in the FIA's World Sportscar Championship. Twenty six examples were produced.

Giulio Alfieri was an Italian automobile engineer, affiliated with Maserati in Modena, Italy since 1953, where he was central to the development of racing and production cars in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970's.

Development

The main development efforts that led to the 3500 GT were carried out in 1956–57, despite the frantic activity required by Maserati's participation in the Formula 1 world championship. [2] Alfieri modified the 350S's engine to suit a touring car, e.g. by switching to a wet sump oil system and changing the engine accessories. [2] He also made several business trips to the United Kingdom in order to contact components suppliers. [2] None were found in Italy, as Italian taxation system and the industry structure forced manufacturers to design every part in-house; a daunting task for small companies like Maserati. [2] Thus the 3500 GT alongside Italian Weber carburettors and Marelli ignition, used many British-made components such as a Salisbury rear axle, Girling brakes and Alford & Alder suspension parts.

A wet sump is a lubricating oil management design for piston engines which uses the crankcase as a built-in reservoir for oil, as opposed to an external or secondary reservoir used in a dry sump design.

Weber carburetor company

Weber is an Italian company which produces carburetors; it is owned by Magneti Marelli Powertrain S.p.A., which is in turn part of the Fiat Group. Carburetor production in Italy ended in 1992 when Weber shifted carburetor production to Madrid, Spain, where it continues today.

Magneti Marelli

Magneti Marelli S.p.A.[maɲˈɲɛti maˈrɛlli] develops and manufactures high-tech components for the automotive industry.

Next came the bodywork. According to Carrozzeria Touring's Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni it was Commendatore Franco Cornacchia, a prominent Ferrari dealer, that put in contact Maserati owner Omar Orsi with the Milanese Carrozzeria. [3] The first 3500 GT Touring prototype had a 2+2 body, with superleggera construction and was white in colour; it was nicknamed Dama Bianca (White Lady). [3] [4] Two 3500 GT prototypes were shown at the March 1957 Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva. Both had a 2,600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase and aluminium bodywork; they were Touring's Dama Bianca, and another one by Carrozzeria Allemano. Touring's proposal was chosen for series production; few changes were made to it, chiefly a more imposing grille.

Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni designer

Carlo Felice Bianchi "Cici" Anderloni was an Italian automobile designer, known for several designs for the Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera company.

Ferrari Italian sports car manufacturer

Ferrari is an Italian luxury sports car manufacturer based in Maranello. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939 out of Alfa Romeo's race division as Auto Avio Costruzioni, the company built its first car in 1940. However, the company's inception as an auto manufacturer is usually recognized in 1947, when the first Ferrari-badged car was completed.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,395,274 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,245,308. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Into production

Production of the 3500 GT started in late 1957; eighteen cars were built that year, the first handful leaving the factory before Christmas. [5] All 3500 GTs had leather interior and Jaeger instruments. A first Touring convertible prototype was shown at the 1958 Turin Motor Show. [6] But it was a proposal by Carrozzeria Vignale (designed by Michelotti) shown at the 1959 Salon de l'Auto in Paris that went into production as 3500 GT Convertibile. The Convertibile did not feature Touring's Superleggera construction, but rather a steel body with aluminium bonnet, boot lid and optional hard top; [7] it was also built on an 10 cm (3.9 in) shorter wheelbase, and weighed 1,380 kg (3,042 lb). Front disc brakes and limited slip differential became optional in 1959, and were standardized in 1960; rear discs became standard in 1962.

Convertible automobile body style that can convert between an open-air mode and an enclosed one

A convertible or cabriolet is a passenger car that can be driven with or without a roof in place. The methods of retracting and storing the roof vary between models. A convertible allows an open-air driving experience, with the ability to provide a roof when required. Potential drawbacks of convertibles are reduced structural rigidity and cargo space.

Vignale Italian automobile coachbuilder

Vignale was an Italian automobile coachbuilder company. Carrozzeria Alfredo Vignale was established in 1948 at Via Cigliano, Turin by Alfredo Vignale (1913–69) in Grugliasco, near Turin (Torino).

Giovanni Michelotti Italian designer (1921-1980)

Giovanni Michelotti was one of the most prolific designers of sports cars in the 20th century. His notable contributions were for Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati and Triumph marques. He was also associated with truck designs for Leyland Motors, and with designs for British Leyland after the merger of Leyland and BMC.

The 3500 GT Spyder by Carrozzeria Vignale Maserati 3500-GT Spider.JPG
The 3500 GT Spyder by Carrozzeria Vignale

The 3500 GTi was introduced at the 1960 Salon International de l'Auto, [8] and by the following year became the first fuel-injected Italian production car. It had a Lucas mechanical fuel injection, and developed 235 PS (173 kW; 232 bhp). The 5-speed gearbox which had been an available option since 1960 was made standard. [9] The body had a lowered roofline and became somewhat longer; minor outward changes appeared as well (new grille, rear lights, vent windows). From 1961 convertible 3500s for export markets were named 3500 GT Spyder and GTi Spyder.

Fuel injection

Fuel injection is the introduction of fuel in an internal combustion engine, most commonly automotive engines, by the means of an injector.

In 1959, the V8-engined Maserati 5000 GT was introduced using the chassis of the 3500 GT. Also based on the 3500 GT's mechanicals was the Maserati Sebring 2+2 coupé, which entered production in 1962.

In total 2,226 3500 GT coupés and convertibles were built between 1957 and 1964. [4] The first year (1958) 119 cars were sold, while 1961 was the best-selling year, totalling 500. All together, 245 Vignale convertibles and nearly 2000 coupés were manufactured, of these, 1981 being Touring coupés, the rest were bodied by other coachbuilders: Carrozzeria Allemano (four coupés, including the 1957 prototype), Carrozzeria Boneschi (coupé designed by Rodolfo Bonetto, 1962 Turin Motor Show and 1963 Geneva Motor Show), Pietro Frua (two or three coupés, one spider) and Bertone (one coupé designed by Franco Scaglione, 1959 Turin Motor Show). [10] The last was a coupé by Moretti (1966 Geneva Motor Show). In 1957 Zagato proposed a coupé in style reminiscent of their rebodied A6G/54 Coupé Speciale, but no cars were built.

Specifications

Frame and chassis

View of the engine bay of a 3500 GT Italian Concours Maserati 3500 White (3) (15001535931) (2).jpg
View of the engine bay of a 3500 GT

The 3500 GT was built on a tube platform chassis, constructed from tubes of square, round or elliptic section of Superleggera construction. Front suspension was by double wishbones coil springs, hydraulic dampers and an anti-roll bar; at the rear there was a Salisbury solid axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs, with hydraulic dampers an anti-roll bar and a longitudinal torque arm. Steering was of the recirculating ball type. The hydraulic brakes were initially Girling 12" finned drum brakes front and rear; disc brakes were later introduced on the front wheels, and finally on all four. The wheels where 16" steel disc wheels with 6.5" Pirelli Cinturato radial ply tyres. Borrani knock-off wire wheels were optional, as well as wider 185x16" radial tyres.

Engine and transmission

The Maserati 350S-derived DOHC, 12-valve straight-six engine had a bore and stroke of 86 mm × 100 mm (3.4 in × 3.9 in) and displaced 3,485.29 cc (213 cu in). [11] The engine block was aluminium, with cast iron cylinder sleeves; cylinder heads were aluminium, with cast iron valve seats and hemispherical combustion chambers. It was equipped with a mechanical Marelli ignition, dual ignition and dual fuel pump. It developed 220 PS (162 kW; 217 bhp) at 5,500 rpm when fitted with three twin-choke 42 DCOE Weber carburetor, or 235 PS (173 kW; 232 bhp) at 5,500 rpm with Lucas mechanical fuel injection. The transmission was a 4-speed ZF S4-17 gearbox, later replaced by a ZF S5-17 5-speed, and used an hydraulically actuated Borg & Beck single-plate dry clutch.

Notes

  1. AISA (2000), p. 1.
  2. 1 2 3 4 AISA (2000), p. 2.
  3. 1 2 AISA (2000), p. 8.
  4. 1 2 "Maserati 3500 GT Touring". Maserati official site - About us: Heritage. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  5. AISA (2000), p. 5.
  6. Giovannini, Giovanni (14 March 1960). "Le auto italiane al centro dell'attenzione nel Salone di Ginevra". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 5. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  7. "Maserati 3500 GT Convertibile". Maserati official site - About us: Heritage. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  8. Bernabò, Ferruccio (10 March 1960). "Il Salone di Ginevra quest'anno batte per ampiezza tutti i primati". Stampa Sera (in Italian). p. 9. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  9. Tabucchi, Maurizio (2003). Maserati: The Grand Prix, Sports and GT cars model by model, 1926-2003. Milano: Giorgio Nada Editore s.r.l. p. 215. ISBN   8879112600.
  10. Bernabò, Ferruccio (5 November 1959). "Linee e soluzioni nuove sulle fuoriserie del Salone". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 7. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  11. Uso e manutenzione vettura 3200 G.T.[Maserati 3500 G.T. car, owner's manual]. Officine Alfieri Maserati S.p.A.

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References