After decades racing at the highest levels Maserati created its ultimate Grand Prix competitor in 1954 with the introduction of the 250. One of few front-rank GP cars available to private entrants, the 240 horsepower 2.5 liter Maserati inline six-cylinder engine complemented a conventional but highly developed chassis with independent front suspension and a deDion rear axle. Build quality was high, performance was stunning and the front engine, rear wheel drive chassis is still regarded as the best and most predictable GP car of its era. The Maserati 250F brought the great Juan Manuel Fangio to the last of his four World Driver's Championships in 1957.
After that momentous success Maserati turned its attentions to building high quality Grand Touring cars for sale to the public but intelligently (and thriftily) employed the experience and reputation gained in campaigning the 250 GP cars by relying on the same engine layout: inline six cylinders with dual overhead camshafts and twin-plug ignition. Enlarged to 3.5 liters (3,485cc) and tuned for street use it powered the 3500 GT introduced in 1956 with coachwork by Touring but also adorned with special bodies by Frua, Zagato and others. Independent front suspension was balanced by a precisely located live rear axle and Maserati was quick to adopt front disc brakes in 1959.
The 3500 GT was succeeded in 1962 by the even more comfortable and stylistically attractive Sebring, a 2+2 with coachwork by Vignale to a design by Giovanni Michelotti and an even more powerful 235hp Lucas fuel injected engine backed by a ZF 5-speed manual transmission. Built on a shorter 2,500mm wheelbase chassis, the Sebring also boasted four-wheel disc brakes.
Its Vignale coachwork is an example of the finest work of a time when Italian coachbuilders were unexcelled in the quality of their design and construction. Attractively poised on the 2.5 meter chassis Michelotti's Sebring's body has purpose and superb proportions as well as ample interior accommodations for passengers and luggage in luxury and comfort. In production for six years from 1963-1968 only 591 were built of which just 348 were the definitive Series I examples.
This 1963 Maserati Sebring was purchased directly from Maserati by William H. Brown, an American who resided in France who had earlier owned one of the famed and exclusive Maserati 5000GTs. Fitted with a rare limited slip rear axle, it had been used by Maserati as a factory demonstrator with its attendant high probability of auto show display and magazine road test use. Brown owned his Sebring for many years before returning it in the 1980's to Maserati to be refurbished and refreshed. It next passed to another enthusiast, David Cobb in California, for a second stint of long term ownership, remaining in his hands until 2012. The next owner entrusted it to JML Restoration in Santa Barbara where it was stripped and repainted, any mechanical needs were attended to and a new interior was installed.
Now resplendent in the classic Italian color scheme of red with a rich black leather interior, attention to detail is evident throughout. Unlike many similar Maseratis with less caring owners who resorted to replacing the Lucas fuel injection with carburetors, this Sebring still boasts its Lucas system on its original, numbers-matching, engine. It has the correct type secondary ignition wiring, correct Magneti Marelli electrical components, date-coded glass, restored Jaeger clock and power windows.
Built to Maserati's high standards of strength, reliability, fit and finish, this Maserati Sebring is a rare example that exhibits the quality which only its history of ownership by only two caring enthusiasts for the first half-century of its life can provide.
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