AM109.S1*641* - Mistral Spyder 4000 - 1966


Car sold by Bonhams in Monaco May 2008 - 238.500 EUR

This rare Mistral 4000 Spyder was manufactured in 1966 and imported into the USA where it was sold to its first owner, Mr F J Capretto of Seattle, in 1967. The car retains matching numbers on the engine block, cylinder head and chassis, and its history is known in full. In the early 1970s the Mistral was sold to the second owner, another Seattle resident, who drove it regularly until an overheating problem led to its being laid up in 1977. Thereafter the Maserati remained stored in a one-car garage in Seattle until exhumed in 2002.

In 2004 the car was purchased by its third owner, Mr Francis G (Frank) Mandarano, a noted Maserati historian, founder of the Maserati Club International and the successful, trend-setting Concorso Italiano, under whose expert direction its restoration was begun. Chassis number ‘641’ was delivered to Vancouver and entrusted to the well known Maserati specialist

Milo’s European Car for the mechanical rebuild which included everything from the radiator back to the fuel tanks. The engine was rebuilt using new liners, Asso pistons, bearings, valves, guides and seats, with all moving parts computer balanced to perfection. All hydraulics were rebuilt, including the clutch and brake master cylinders, brake boosters, calipers and new brake hoses. A new clutch was fitted, all hoses replaced and the fuel tanks and radiator cleaned. In addition, ‘641’ received a new set of reliable Weber 42 DCOE8 carburettors along with the original right-hand script cam cover. (The original Lucas fuel injection system comes with the car). A new stainless-steel exhaust was fitted from the manifolds back, and sounds wonderful. Over $35,000 was spent on the engine rebuild alone, with all expenses recorded.

The five original Borrani RW 3994 15” wire wheels were rebuilt and fitted with new Pirelli Cinturato tyres. Also included for winter driving is an extra set of (4) Starburst alloy wheels shod with excellent Michelins. The interior of ‘641’ received very special care. Firstly, the seats and door panels were re-trimmed in Turin, Italy by none other than Sig. Gavina, the man responsible for all the Quattroporte 3 interiors and the special four-door Ferraris and station wagons built for the Sultan of Brunei, as well as far too many great cars to list here. The exact colour match to the original leather was found in Italy, and four hides were purchased. World famous car trimmers, Luppi of Modena, supplied 16m2 of exactly matching Wilton wool carpeting, and back in Seattle the interior was finished by Steve Shepp, who also made a new convertible hood using the original as a pattern. In all, close to $15,000 was spent on trimming, including materials.

Circa 2005 the car came back to Europe where its restoration was completed by a specialist in the South of France. Presented in concours condition, the car is offered complete with its original hood covering and interior leather trim, together with a file of restoration photographs.

The 2008 Bonhams sale in Monaco was commented by Donald Osborne in Sports Car Magazine:

The SCM Analysis

This car sold for $369,695, including premium, at the Bonhams “Les Grandes Marques à Monaco” sale held May 10, 2008.

Although it’s tempting to follow my usual SCM Profile format and begin with general background information about the model, the reality here is that what you actually want to do is skip to the part where I tell you if the extraordinary price achieved for this car is right.

So, I won’t disappoint. Everyone agrees that in determining value, there are some key touchstones to consider. Rarity, importance, originality, condition, and provenance are certainly the most important. Added to those should be the market in which a property is offered and sold, as well as the timing.

Everything seems to have come together on this day in the Principality to deliver maximum results. The Maserati Mistral Spyder (and yes, the factory used the “y”) is rare, with fewer than 125 built. The Mistral is also important in the history of Maserati as the last model to use their great inline 6-cylinder engine, a descendant of the powerplant of the championship-winning 250F Grand Prix car.

Cost was apparently no object

Chassis 641 is reported to retain its original engine—the most desirable 4.0-liter version—and the Lucas fuel injection. It had been off the road for a 25-year period, during which time no bad repairs or modifications were made. This example had been restored mechanically and cosmetically to a very high level, with work performed by leading craftsmen on both sides of the Atlantic, and with cost apparently no object. The photographs of the car in the auction house catalog were impressive, and it was confirmed by Jérôme Hardy, SCM’s on-site analyst, that this was indeed a “perfectly restored example.”

The complete ownership history of the car was known from new and included one of the major figures in the Maserati collecting world—a man with access to all the information needed to properly restore and maintain such a car.

So, was it “worth” $100,000 more than a superb 3.7-liter Spyder sold in Gstaad by Bonhams in December 2007 (SCM# 48094)? Is it “worth” more than three times the $120,000 high value in the 2008 SCM Price Guide? Does this signal yet another jump forward in Mistral prices specifically, and in Maserati generally?

Well, the answers are yes, of course, and no, not really. The effect of currency exchange has been stated in these pages ad nauseam, so I won’t belabor it here. Suffice it to say that in looking at Euro market sales, it’s always best for us here in the U.S. to consider the price as if the dollar were at parity - a pipe dream, I know, but bear with me - to get a feel for current actual domestic market values.

Recipe for a home run

Unless and until an owner here wants to ship his car to Europe to sell, don’t consider this the price you can get for yours here. So, let’s call this price, at €238,500, closer to $265,000 in a U.S. transaction. That would make this, a near perfect car with the most desirable specification and excellent provenance, worth a price well above all previous transactions, as it would and should be.

Furthermore, this car was well presented, fully documented, and offered for sale in a high-profile auction in a prominent venue at the time of the Monaco Historic Races, a recipe for hitting a home run.

The SCM Price Guide, like most others, will always have a problem keeping pace with a fast-moving market. I don’t think it’s possible to find a Mistral Spyder that is not a parts car for the $75,000 low number, and the high number (which represents a good #2 car, not a #1), is probably 35%-40% too low at this point.

I don’t think it means that all Mistrals have gone up by the same percentage, although vintage Maseratis have long been undervalued compared to the 12-cylinder competition from Ferrari and Lamborghini. With the recent dramatic rise in early Lamborghini prices, it’s not surprising also to see an increase in Maserati values. However, in my opinion, it would still be a mistake to tie the markets too closely together.

A 6-cylinder car, or for that matter a V8 car, will never have the cachet of a V12. Add to that the fact that Maserati regularly outsold the products of Maranello and St. Agata Bolognese, making many of them far more common than their counterparts. But as we have seen in the current market, buyers are willing to step up and pay a premium for the rare and well-done car. This superb Mistral Spyder was both and has to be thought of as priced correctly, especially considering the selling venue. After all, if the new owner’s Ferretti 881 yacht was docked in the Monaco harbor, the price paid for the Mistral would barely cover a decent shore launch.