What a Maserati Sebring is, and why you should want one
If the name doesn’t make it obvious, the Maserati Sebring has racing oil running through its veins. In addition to the car’s motorsports connection to Florida’s famed Sebring Raceway, the 1962–65 Sebring Series I is one of the final manifestations of Maserati’s production-model 3500GT, the Italian automaker’s first attempt to commercially capitalize on its on-track success.
And although Sebring Series I production numbered just 348, it’s easy to see that Maserati scored another victory with the elegant Vignale-bodied 2+2.
Not surprisingly, whenever a Sebring comes to market, enthusiasts stand up and take notice—even if they can’t afford to actually buy one themselves. The latest is this stunning 1963 Sebring 3500GTi, which will be offered at Bonhams’ Greenwich Concours d’Elegance Auction on June 3. If it looks familiar, that’s because it was offered earlier this year at Bonhams’ Scottsdale Auction, where it was bid to $175,000 but failed to sell. It carries a $225,000–$275,000 estimate. Hagerty Valuation Tools lists the average #3-condition (Good) value of a 1963 Sebring at $197,000, while one in #1 (Concours) condition is $285,000.
Hagerty valuation specialist Andrew Newton believes the car may have better luck in Connecticut. “In general, vintage Maseratis have been a pretty solid value compared to other larger European GT cars,” Newton says. “They offer bodywork from a famous Italian coachbuilder, race-bred engines, high performance, and a premium badge, but they come at a much lower price than a similar car from Ferrari.
“Auction estimates tend to be on the ambitious side, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this one has better luck in Greenwich because it seems like a solid and correct car and the estimate falls within our current price range.”
The car on offer was delivered to Cornacchia Automobili of Milano, Italy, on September 4, 1963 before its original owner, Mrs. Elena Gelmi Cattaneo, took possession. It eventually made its way to the United States and spent most of its life with a second owner before being sold to the consigner, who returned it to its original paint color, had the brightwork re-chromed, and recovered the front seats (but left the rest of the interior original).
The Sebring’s numbers-matching 3.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine was also meticulously rebuilt. It generates 235 horsepower. Mechanical highlights also include an ultra-desirable five-speed ZF gearbox, independent front suspension, a live rear axle, and four-wheel disc brakes. It has 70,000 kilometers on the odometer.
Newton says the $324,500 paid for a 1963 Maserati Sebring Series I at RM Sotheby’s 2016 Amelia Island Auction is the highest Sebring sale on record. The number is even more impressive considering that the seller paid for only $20,000 for the car in 1999. Other than that 2016 sale, Newton was unable to find another auction sale—or bid, for that matter—higher than $250K.