Stored Since ’87: 1970 Maserati Mexico

As a manufacturer, Maserati never seems to have walked the middle ground when it comes to style. Their offerings are usually either cars of beauty and elegance or cars that are singularly unattractive in appearance. To me, this extremely rare 1970 Maserati Mexico definitely falls into the former category, as even in its current state, it is a stunning looking car. It has been in storage for more than three decades but is now about to be offered for sale. It is located in St Louis, Missouri, and you can find the full story on the Maserati here at Autoweek. The car is due to go to auction in a few days in a No Reserve auction, so if you want to become the owner of a rare Italian classic, you will find the auction details here at RM Sotheby’s.

The Mexico first saw the light of day as a Vaginale concept car in 1965. The body was fitted over the chassis of a Maserati 5000GT. Maserati was so impressed with the concept car, that they eventually put a slightly restyled version into production in 1966. The car remained in production until 1972, and during its entire production run, a mere 485 cars were produced. This particular car was being used as a daily driver for many years but was placed into storage in 1987. At some point prior to this time, the car did undergo a repaint. With the car sitting idle for the past 32-years, there will be plenty of cosmetic work required to return it to its former glory. The paint is quite pitted and has deteriorated markedly. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that the car has been plagued by any real rust issues. The external chrome and trim are also quite pitted. This will probably require some pretty time-consuming and meticulous restoration work because with only 485 cars built, spare components aren’t going to be terribly thick on the ground.

The interior, which was once a thing of beauty in white leather, is now looking pretty sad. There are a couple of positives to take from this, though. The first is that the interior does look to be complete, so it should be possible to undertake a faithful restoration, as existing upholstery can serve as templates for replacement pieces. For me though, the really good news is that that beautiful, hand-crafted, solid timber dash is not only complete, but it looks like it is also in fantastic condition. You can well imagine how this interior must have looked and felt when new, and it would definitely be possible to return it to its original state.

If any part of a vintage Maserati is virtually guaranteed to cause heartache, it is the engine. According to the information provided in the listing, what lies under the hood is the original 4.7-liter engine, which is backed by a 5-speed ZF manual transmission. That engine is a vital part of what makes this already rare car all the more important. With only 485 cars built, a Mexico already has an air of exclusivity about it. Maserati fitted 310 of the cars with the 4.2-liter V8 engine. The remaining 175 rolled out of the factory with the 290hp 4.7 engine. With that engine under the hood, this is one rare car. Making it even more exclusive is the fact that it is fitted with factory air conditioning. I’ve done quite a lot of research on this in a bid to pin down an exact total, but numerous sources indicate that there were only a handful of cars thus equipped. One interesting way to quickly get an indication as to which engine is fitted to a Mexico is to look at the wheels. When they rolled off the line, all Mexicos fitted with the 4.2 engine wore steel wheels, while those with the 4.7 wore wire wheels. All were fitted with power 4-wheel disc brakes. With this particular Maserati having been inactive since 1987, there is probably going to be quite a bit of work involved in bringing it back to life.

The Mexico is one of the rarest vehicles built by Maserati, and it tends to be overlooked when people consider the various cars that the company has produced over the years. Due to the engine that is fitted to this car, it makes it a rarer car again. I also happen to think that it’s a beautiful looking car, and I would love to see it once it has been lovingly restored.

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Comments

  1. redwagon

    I would love to see it after it has been lovingly restored as well.
    I would not want to see the invoice after it has been lovingly restored.

    Well, I’d like to peek at it as long as I didn’t have to pay it!

    Your intro sentence,

    “As a manufacturer, Maserati never seems to have walked the middle
    ground when it comes to style. Their offerings are usually either cars of
    beauty and elegance or cars that are singularly unattractive in
    appearance.”

    is absolutely spot on. I too have been baffled by the beauty and the ugly that has come from Maserati.

    4
  2. Rhett

    Growing up in Westchester County, this is what exotics looked like… Grifo’s, 330’s, Mexico’s, Islero’s, DB6’s, XKE’s… etc. Good time and place to grow up. Muira’s, Daytona’s, Bora’s and Urraco’s never grabbed me. I can make an exception for a Ghibli though…

  3. blyndgesser

    The designer was Vignale, not Vaginale. I’m not sure Vaginale really belongs on a site called Barn Finds.

    15
    • Francisco

      Sounds like a disease.

      8
    • Joe

      Although I have not driven one, I have heard that these cars drive like trucks.

  4. Doyler

    I feel like I’ve seen this car several times before. At Gullwing or BHCC. It’s certainly being doing the rounds for a long time, if that’s the case. Someone more knowledgeable might chip in here.

    1
  5. Maestro1 Member

    Adam, this is going to be a big buck restoration, certainly North of $50,000.00 because of the necessary engine and bodywork,
    let alone electronics (the car will probably have to be rewired) and who knows what else. I will say this: If you get it at the right price at auction it’s absolutely worth whatever the cost is to get it off its knees. These cars are brutal and sexy. And you need to be close to a mechanic who knows these cars for when they get cranky. You won’t regret this project.

    2
  6. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    “Vaginale” concept car.

    Possibly their marketing campaign was for women?

    2
  7. Skorzeny

    Just swap an LS in it during the Resto.

    1
    • Joe

      ….and kill it’s restored value.

      2
  8. Philly

    Yes, this car has been for sale for sometime. No photos of the chassis because that’s the one area where you might spend a lot of money replacing rusted parts.
    They make a big deal about the AC, most of them had it, but the power steering is very rare and unubtanium. I had one sourced from a different vehicle for my Mexico and it still cost $5k…the only used one for sale at the time, 2014, was $10k.
    No way will this car sell for more than $60k. These cars were hot for a few years but in the last couple of years they’ve cooled off. I have seen some very nice drivers in the $100k +/- range in recent years, so why get excited about this money pit? After owning 2 Mexicos, I think there are better ones to start with, unless you know what’s up.

  9. t-bone Bob

    Beautiful

  10. CapNemo

    It underwent a repaint. Yeah. It was also Repainted in the past.

    1
  11. Jose Delgadillo

    This is a really graceful and beautiful car. It seems the Italian influence was used by other volume manufacturers like Jaguar. The Series three XJ6 got that Pininfarina styled refreshing. Actually this car reminds me of my 1997 XJ6, in quite a good way.

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