As the 1960s progressed, Maserati made great strides in asserting itself as the go-to Italian manufacturer for attractive cars in the grand tourer mould. Of its contemporary model line-up, the marque’s 3500 GT and 5000 GT were stunning examples of coachbuilt coupé and convertible design. In 1963, the Mistral was introduced to replace the 3500 GT and was the company’s last model to feature its signature twin-spark, double-overhead cam straight-six engine derived from Maserati’s successful racing endeavours. While still in ownership of the Orsi family and prior to its takeover by Citroën, Maserati revealed the Ghibli, Mexico, and Sebring in quick succession to join the Mistral and bolster its GT offering.
When production of the Mistral commenced, a stiffer and shorter chassis composed of square-section tubular elements allowed the new model to distinguish itself from the Sebring by its more sporting character. Further advances were made from a stylistic perspective, with Pietro Frua penning an elegant and contemporary body for the car. The Spyder version was introduced shortly after the coupé, with no fewer than three engine variants of Maserati’s famous race-proven straight-six.
Offered here in 4.0-litre form, the largest and most desirable engine, the car is endowed with dazzling performance; the sprint from 0 to 60 mph can be achieved in just over six seconds, and has a top speed of over 150 mph. In the end, only 37 examples of the 4.0-litre variant of the Spyder were produced, making this car not only the ultimate version of the Mistral, but also exceptionally rare.
This example, chassis AM109/SA 655, was specified from new with the desirable five-speed manual gearbox and finished in Nero over a Senape interior. Upon factory completion on 9 January 1967, the Maserati was destined for West Nyack, New York, USA. The car’s history in the States is only partially documented, with a title from the State of Florida retained in its history file confirming the Mistral’s whereabouts in 1974, yet by the end of the decade the Spyder had come into the ownership of Kyle W. Fleming, a Maserati specialist based in Virginia Beach. Fleming acquired the car as a partially dismantled project and sought to improve it before selling on, but at this point the Mistral caught the eye of a London-based buyer, who bought and imported the car. Incredibly, they would retain the Maserati for the next 41 years.
Among the Maserati’s impressive history file—containing decades worth of invoices and paperwork to document its import into the United Kingdom and subsequent improvements—Fleming writes in a 7 November 1980 letter to its British buyer: ‘It is not good or even in running condition. The previous owner removed and dismantled the engine, but carried out no mechanical work … An inspection indicates that extensive work is required and this sale would be with this understood … The car has been for many years (in) the Florida Keys, which would account for salt and sun damage.’
The Maserati’s new British owner was clearly not deterred by the Mistral’s state of disorder, as by July 1981 the car was bound for the UK in a shipping container departing Norfolk, Virginia. On taking delivery of their newly acquired Maserati, its owner—a former Secretary of the Maserati Owners’ Club—began an incredible journey of restoration and ongoing improvements to the car. Invoices on file detail even small items of trim bought during the restoration process, with work on the body and chassis left to CRL Panels of Wymondham, Norfolk, and the marque specialist Bill McGrath to oversee an engine rebuild. Throughout the owner’s multi-decade tenure of the car, McGrath continued to maintain the Maserati even into recent years. While in the workshop, the Mistral was refinished in white with black leather trim, sporting the same configuration it is presented in today. In 2022, the Maserati was acquired by its consigning owner, ending its 41-year stay with its long-term owner and reviver.
The condition of the car today is commensurate with its many decades of care and attention at the hands of its previous owner. Its polished chrome brightwork complements the polished Borrani wire wheels, while the excellent white paintwork makes for the perfect contrast against the all-black leather interior. A wood-rimmed steering wheel with a Maserati-badged boss sits proudly in the Spyder’s cabin, which is enriched with the fitment of a period Maserati Autovox stereo. Underneath the bonnet, a clean and well-kept engine bay is testament to the fastidious upkeep detailed in the Mistral’s service invoices.
With a simply unrepeatable story of commitment and devotion from its multi-decade custodian, verified by the most fascinating and intricately detailed history file, the opportunity to acquire this matching-numbers Maserati represents an incredible chance to benefit from year after year of unbridled care and attention heaped upon a stunning car with both attractive design and rewarding driving traits.