One of the last evolutions of the popular 3500GT cars of the late 1950s, the Maserati Sebring arrived in 1962 amid an effort by the automaker to increase output and to grow from something of a small boutique automaker to a slightly larger boutique automaker. The 3500GT, with bodies by Touring and Vignale, had proven to be an early hit, paving the way for the similarly styled 2+2 Sebring model.
In a few days, one early example of the Series I Sebring, a car that had sat around for decades in barn find condition, will test the appetite of the market for Maserati Sebring project cars with significant needs when Bonhams auctions offers this 1963 example at its Beaulieu sale in the U.K.
The Series I Sebring, bodied by Vignale, was an early success for Maserati in the 1960s despite a still-modest annual production output, but it capitalized on the ingredients that Maserati got right with the earlier 3500GT. Powered by a twin-cam six-cylinder engine producing around 220 hp, paired with a five-speed gearbox, the Sebring featured an independent suspension up front with wishbones and coil springs and a live-axle, semi-elliptic setup out back. Fuel injection and four-wheel disc brakes were standard — a novelty for the era — while options like air conditioning, an automatic transmission and a limited-slip differential placed the Sebring into plush sports car company.
This particular car was delivered new to Switzerland, but none of the records from its time there have survived. The current seller purchased the car already in this condition in 1992 from Kestrel Motors, a U.K. dealership, which may have sourced it from the U.S. That’s right: This Sebring was bought in this condition back in 1992 and has sat around ever since. But it’s not known just how long this Sebring has been in this state — all that’s known is that it has been fitted with a replacement engine at some point.
Photos of the interior show plenty of missing dash items. Most of them appear to be in boxes at the moment, including the grille, which is thankfully not missing, but nothing major appears to be missing from the exterior. The door cards, however, do not appear present.
Bonhams estimates this Sebring to bring between $36,000 and $48,000 on auction day. Sebring values have not wallowed in the same depths as those of some later Maserati cars like the Khamsin, Mistral, Quattroporte and Merak, but at the same time, they haven’t really set the collector world on fire, with most examples of the 1963 Sebring changing hands between $150,000 and $200,000 in recent years. Exceptional examples have brought $250,000 on occasion, but collectors prefer the Series II cars that arrived in 1964 with chrome headlight surrounds and a few other flashier details, or the earlier 3500GT cars — both have been generating more money at auctions.
It will take some coin to bring this one back, as there aren’t really that many cars out there with donor parts, so a lot of the missing items will have to be fabricated from scratch. This also likely answers the question of why this project car has sat around all this time and has not been restored already. It may be the case that the consignor hasn’t worked up the courage, time (or more importantly, the funds) to restore this car, but thankfully Sebring values are now at a point where a six-figure restoration will make some financial sense.
Visit the auction website to view the full list of lots as well as the auction schedule.
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