Breadvan Conversion: One-Off Maserati 3500 GT

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If you’ve been priced out of owning a genuine Ferrari 250 GT SWB Breadvan, you might want to take a look at this unusual Maserati that popped up on craigslist for a cool $99K. Said to have once been a 3500 GT that was converted to resemble the Tipo 151 with the classic kammback tail section, it isn’t quite an authentic duplicate but it is an interesting car nonetheless – and is claimed to have been on the lawn at Amelia Island in 2002. Find it listed here on craigslist in California, and go here if the ad disappears.

The foundation for the car is a 3500 GT with serial number 1011402, while the motor was taken from a Maserati Mexico and is a 4.7L mill. The seller shared a link to a recounting of the 2002 Amelia Island event and this does seem like the car – British Racing Green and RHD to mimic the factory competition vehicles. The nose of the car (a very small picture, viewable via the craigslist ad) does seem like an authentic replica of the Tipo 151; the rear end, however, seems to end more abruptly with the taillights mounted in a different location.

The seller notes that the build features an “…aluminum body over the 3500 GT Touring chassis with a modified Jaguar center section and a CWI IRS unit tacked into place for the rear.” There’s still some finish work left to do as the gorgeous Borrani wheels won’t clear the center support bearing. This is more of an offset issue than anything else, but may indicate there’s a variety of rough edges and/or compensation needed from an engineering standpoint. It would appear the engine is out of the car, and the seller notes you’ll have to source a new driveshaft, windshield, and wire wheels that fit.

Interestingly, the Maserati has a colorful history beyond the conversion on display: the seller notes the previous owner was a corporation that purchased investment-grade cars on behalf of celebrities. The owner of the corporation went to prison for fraud, so the next owner may own a car that once spent time in some fairly exclusive circles. Of course, the other question is the original builder, as the seller opines it may have been built by made by Piero Drago, a designer credited with first AC Cobra aluminum bodies. If you have more details on this car, please share below.

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  1. Adam T45Staff

    The 3500 GT was a stunningly beautiful car. This just makes me cry.

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  2. Chuck

    Kind of ugly, a mess of different bits , you need deep pockets to sort this out( and a backup camera )

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  3. angliagt angliagtMember

    As Nancy Kerrigan once said – “WHY?….WHY?…..WHY?”.

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  4. geoff a

    Kind of reminds me of a Piper GT. I think the Piper a better looking car. Who would go through this exercise and not sort out the rear suspension is beyond me. This was not cheap even when it was started, to not have engineered it to the end is criminal. Another hack job. Might as well have built it on a 240 Z chassis.

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  5. DayDreamBeliever Alan (Michigan)

    “On the lawn at Amelia Island in 2002” Really? In exactly it’s current state? I can’t imagine that it would have been nice and running/driving, then pointed into this situation within the last 15 years. Hmmm.

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    • Jeff LaveryAuthor

      I think you’d be surprised at what 15 years of neglect can do to a limited production car like a vintage Maserati.

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      • DayDreamBeliever Alan (Michigan)

        What I was hinting at is that usually, some “discovered” cars make it to displays in pretty much the condition in which they were found. Much less likely that a really nice car gains admission to be shown, then is taken apart and ignored in mediocre storage for 15 years.

        I haven’t bothered to do research and see if I could find info on the car from back then, but it should be possible.

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  6. James HGF

    I too have always admired the 3500 GT coupe. It’s a shame for it to end in ignominy. At least most of the 250 GTEs and other, at the time, less expensive Ferraris were generally morphed into something respectable looking.

    Look at the Piero Drogo (no “a” in Drogo) built cars on the Coachbuild dot com site and see if you can see any similar quality construction on this green thing:

    If the side bar with the links to 5 real Drogo Ferraris doesn’t show, search in their encyclopedia section under the letter “D”.

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  7. woody

    This has been on the market many times:

    The Piero “Drago” reference (“Drogo”) is a bit misleading, this car is a replica/evocation.

    That does nit mean it doesn’t finally deserve a good home.

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  8. Derek

    NICE car! Beautiful car apparently very well done. Having owned and driven multiple Masers and Ferraris of this vintage, I fully approve of this excellent conversion. Bravo.

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    • healeydays

      Seriously? Not a fan…

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      • Derek

        Completely seriously! It ain’t like it’s the last 3500 GT in the whole world, or even close, there are plenty of others and anyway, why should any car be forced to wear the same suit of clothes it was born with. One thing I’ve learned having owned hundreds of cars is that, they’re only cars after all.

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    • dgrass

      Someone threw a lot of money at this, and by threw I mean tossed into a trash can and lit on fire. Maybe that is a bit harsh, I just really like the 3500 GT and hope a perfectly good car didn’t get destroyed in the process of building this.

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      • Derek

        And in the process, created something unique and interesting. Besides, it was his money and his car, not yours.

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  9. HoA Rube GoldbergMember

    Neat car. A bit of a problem with an Italian car painted BRG. Nasty blind spot on the right side.

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  10. DolphinMember

    As woody pointed out, this is a replica. The body is not by Drogo (misspelled ‘Drago’ by the seller in the CL ad), which was a guess by a ‘German contact’ of the seller and has little or no significance. If the body had been designed / built by Drogo it would have some provenance, but as it stands this car is a mismash of components at best. Some of them have value, but the fact that this lot has been on the market for years and not sold tells you something. And the VIN uncertainty probably has a lot to do with the failure to sell.

    The description in the CL ad would make me run away very fast and keep my $99K safely out of the hands of the seller, who is still trying to sell this car after a number of years of unsuccessful efforts.

    Too bad. If the car had been kept intact as a 3500 GT with Touring body it would be worth more than the $99K asking price. One more example of how original usually wins out over botched ‘custom’ jobs in the serious collector car market.

    And BTW, a 3500GT Maserati had a DOHC straight-6, not a V8. If the V8 in this ad is good, that is most of the value in this lot.

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  11. PdL

    I was at the 2002 Amelia Concours where I was showing a car. This Maserati might have been offered at auction that weekend, but never was on the green, I don’t think that it would have been allowed!
    Piero Drogo “may” have built that body, but likely under duress!
    Interesting mongrel, worth only the value of its spare parts. At $99K, there is a big hole in the sinking hull of that boat.

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  12. michael h streuly

    Just another pile of S$$T. I bid $99.00 dollars.

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  13. conrad alexander

    if it was on the lawn at Ameila Island it must have been on blocks

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  14. Beatnik Bedouin

    Even as a replica, the proportions are all wrong, compared to a real Tipo 151. Either that, or the poor Maser’s gone frumpy in Middle Age.

    To my ancient eyes, it comes across as a poorly conceived kit car. The only thing missing is the VW engine out back (ref the Aquila posted elsewhere).

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  15. Van

    No pictures of the disassembled Car? A bad picture of the frame that could have been in fire. I have a frame that looks similar. If you want sell a car for that kind of money, you need better pictures. Run away, run away.

    Like 0

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