MASERATI 3500 GT, coupe, $11,400, Italy
One of the world's most exciting motorcars, the Maserati's elegance is matched only by its brilliant performance. And brilliant refers to a top speed of somewhere around 145 mph (depending upon optional rear axle ratios) and a zero-to-60 acceleration of under eight seconds.
It all comes about through a husky in-line Six (212.7 cubic inches) with twin-overhead cams. Power output is a healthy 230 hp at 5500 rpm with fuel fed through a trio of dual-throat Webers. With a substantial racing heritage behind it, the engine nevertheless idles nicely at 1000 rpm and will pull in fourth gear from just above that.
The lever from the all-synchro ZF transmission is well positioned for driver ease, as are the wheel, instruments and leather-covered seats. Rear seats in the really plush interior come very close to being adult size but head- and legroom are limited. A large trunk invites touring in the grand manner - the car's intended use.
Little is left to be desired in the Maser's road behavior. It's big and it's fast, but steering is light and responsive; the car goes where it is pointed at near-impossible speeds, and brakes (Girling discs at front) are capable of bringing the car down from high speed time after time without protest.
The tubular chassis is suspended in a somewhat conventional manner but it is done properly. At the front are coil springs, A-arms and a stabilizer bar; the rear has long, underslung semi-elliptics, trailing radius rods, tubular shocks, a stabilizer bar and a third horizontal tubular shock that damps out fore-and-aft axle motion.
Recently, Maserati has had great racing success with its sports-racing Birdcage model, which is available on special order to qualified purchasers. Except that they both come from the same firm, there is no relation between it and the 3500 GT.
General specifications: Wheelbase, 102.3 inches; front tread, 54.7; rear tread, 54.5; overall length, 189; width, 68; height, 51. Other versions: Convertible, $12,300.
Motor Trend, April 1961