Two Owner Barn Find: 1966 Maserati Sebring

This 1966 Maserati Sebring II is a car that raises a few questions. It is a two-owner vehicle that has spent years parked in a barn. While a life of seclusion has taken a toll on the paint, it is a rust-free classic that is begging to be restored. If the information that the owner supplies is accurate, it is also a very rare vehicle. Located in Astoria, New York, you will find the Sebring listed for sale here on eBay. Rarity does come at a price, and in this case, that price is $159,500.

The Maserati Sebring first broke cover in 1962 and was aimed specifically at the American Gran Turismo market. It was marketed as a 2+2, but rear-seat space could best be described as limited. It is a striking looking car, and the Series II introduced in 1965 brought a sharper edge to the bumpers and lights. This one is a two-owner Series II, and it has been in the possession of its current owner since 1976. It isn’t clear how long it has been parked in a barn, but I suspect that it has been a while. The Silver paint has deteriorated badly, and a repaint is something that will undoubtedly be required at some point. There is some inconsistency in color from panel-to-panel, which suggests that there may have been some earlier touch-up work. Although they will probably need some massaging to address any minor dings and dents, the panels generally look straight. One thing that the buyer won’t have to contend with is rust. There is some evidence of minor surface corrosion, but the seller states that it is structurally sound. The trim and chrome will need some attention, as will the original Borrani wire wheels. The glass all looks okay, which is a good thing. The relative rarity of the Sebring might make sourcing replacement glass a pretty difficult assignment.

Now we get to the point where the Maserati raises a few questions. There were three engines offered in the Sebring II, and since they all used the same engine block and cylinder heads, it is hard to differentiate between them. The owner says that this is the 265hp version. If this is right, that will make it the largest engine on offer. This DOHC 6-cylinder unit had a capacity of 4,014cc. An automatic transmission option was available, although, like the majority of them, this Sebring features a ZF 5-speed manual unit. Determining the engine capacity is critical in this case because that has a significant impact on potential values. A total of 248 Sebring IIs were built, but those with the 3.7-liter and 4.0-liter engines were in the minority. It is believed that their combined build numbers were around 98 cars. Those vehicles are the most coveted, with the 4.0-liter versions commanding a premium in the market. This is a numbers-matching classic, but it doesn’t run or drive. It isn’t clear whether the motor turns freely, but I think the buyer will need to budget for an engine rebuild as part of the restoration.

The interior of the Sebring is complete, but once again, a full restoration will be required. This has the potential to be a relatively expensive proposition because you can’t just order an interior trim kit for one of these classics. Thankfully, it does appear to be complete. That means that a skilled upholsterer could use the original blue leather trim as a template to create new pieces from scratch. The carpet might not be an issue because a couple of suppliers in the US stock it in the correct fiber and color. Many parts will be able to be restored, but it will take a lot of patience if it is to present to the highest standard.

I would love to be able to positively confirm which engine is under the hood of this 1966 Maserati Sebring II because it does make a significant difference to its potential value once restored. It looks like whipping the panels and paint into shape might not be complicated, although the engine rebuild and interior could consume a few dollars. If this is a 4.0-liter, then fully restored, it should easily command a value of over $280,000. If the engine bay houses the smallest 3.5-liter unit, you can instantly wipe at least 10% off that value. However, even at that lower figure, this can be a financially viable project…for someone with a thick wallet. Does that sound like you?

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Comments

  1. Freddy

    Meh. Looks like somebody welded the front of a Checker cab to a Volvo P1800

    Like 8
  2. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    I could tell by the photography…the Astoria Queens address…and the eye watering ask that it was a Gullwing Motors car. Gotta give it to the guy…he’s got bottomless chutzpah when it comes to pricing. Obv. his market is rich guys who don’t care about turning a profit from a flip. Good looking car.

    Like 16
    • Frank D

      Funny I said the same thing. Its Gullwing, he comes out with 356 Porsches that looked like they been pulled out of the Hudson River.
      The problem is if you ever worked in a restoration shop, labor and materials costs go up quickly. Then you wait 2-3 years if the shop is any good. Sometimes your just better off finding one that’s done. If the car has sentimental value that changes the plan.

      Like 7
    • james malone

      Been there a few times. While I don’t blame someone for getting the most value out of his efforts, I know for a fact that, at least in one case, the back story on one particular vehicle is completely fabricated to increase its value. My life experience would lead me to be fairly certain that it isn’t the only one. But he has a going concern, so…….
      BTW, while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, if done right, I think this would be a definite keeper!!

      Like 2
  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    It looks a lot like the BMW 3.0, only a couple of years earlier. I think it looks ungainly compared to the 3.0. Actually, I think it looks ungainly compared to my ’63 Riviera!

    Like 6
    • PairsNPaint

      Yeah, I’d rather have the 3.0. Easier to maintain and driveable. This thing is a money pit with no escape.

      Like 1
  4. MKG

    This reminds me of the old friend you haven’t seen or talked to in 20 something years. Give en 5 minutes and you’ll remember why. Its been in storage forever. Why?

    Like 7
    • Bruce

      My guess is that someone fiddled with the fuel injection and screwed it up. There are only about 3 or 4 sources for repair of these Lucas Units and they are expensive and time consuming to get right. The other reason is that these do not have the flash of the Ferrari’s. They have the straight 6 from Maserati’s racing days but the bodies are far more restrained for the day. Different markets for different customers.

      Like 6
  5. Bruce

    I may be the rarest of rare ducks when commenting upon one of these Sebring Series II’s because I have actually owned one for a long time and put a lot of miles on mine. First they are delightful cars to drive. Plenty of power and short enough wheel base to be nimble. They are also narrow as compared to most cars today. The green house is almost identical to that of a Alfa 2000 GTV of a bit later making me think that is where it came from. The length is very similar to a Porsche 944 but taller. Visibility out is excellent in all directions.

    As for the looks I found it to be a combination of both sporty and elegant. Room enough for two adults and two children with a very big trunk. Mine had been converted to an automatic because of the previous owner losing a left leg. We were able upon searching to find the original manual transmission and put it back in place. Of note this is a design that color is critical. The darker the color the better it looks. I have seen one in white and it looked awful. Black or dark blue like mine was my favorite. There is NO standard colors. All were custom ordered or made by the factors in very small groups and metallic were available.

    The hard parts to find will be the windshield and rear window. There are spares but not many. The trim is a combination of stainless steel and chromed brass. That is a lot easier to fabricate than most would think. Good metal work and silver solder and you have something ready to fit. To fit is important as these were are hand built with some variation in panels. Not much but enough to drive a person crazy. DO NOT ASSUME that if you purchased a factory spare for trim or body sheet metal you can get one that fits exactly.

    That is the bad news, the good news is almost all the remaining trim is from Alfa 1600 Giulia’s of the period. Door handles inside and out. Much of the rest is relatively easy to fabricate. In fact this is one of the simplest bodies I have seen in terms of interior panels. There is room for adjustment and when cared for properly not many rust spots to worry about.

    With the exception of the engine the transmission, rear axle, suspension, brakes and many other parts are from Jaguar or other makes and can be found relatively easily. The plastic lenses are another matter. I had the 3.7 Liter engine with the Lucas fuel injection and it was wonderful. Worked perfectly. If you have one that works LEAVE IT ALONE. The two spark plug per cylinder did make a difference as in an aircraft piston engine. Finding a distributor cap generally came from jaguar as well. I have driven one with webber conversion of the same engine size and I would guess you lose about 20 to 30 horsepower. You can tell the difference almost instantly.

    I think that the price is about 50 to 75K too high but the owner is from a local where he can most certainly afford the good drugs needed to justify his opinion. In restoration the water pump and head gaskets are the most problematic things. This engine uses a separate copper crush gaskets for each of the cylinders and fiber part for the rest. Putting the head back on is CRITICAL and is more of a three or four man job if in the car. TAKE THE ENGINE OUT and do the work you will have far fewer problems. As for the water pump it is a crazy design and the bearings go. MASERATI INFORMATION EXCHANGE can rebuild them for a price and I would suggest that be one of the first thing you do.

    Last item is the factory. These have a support from the factory that is amazing. Because they had parts from many makers they kept track of what was on each car. You need that information when you go for parts you have yo have the engine numbers, chassis numbers and all the rest so you can get exactly what you need or at least find out what it was when new. Makes these cars almost impossible to steal because any engine or other internal parts need to be exact and if you call the factory looking for them and can not give them the right number you are SCREWED. There were often major parts differences between the 3.5, 3.7 and 4.0 engines from one car to the next on the line and they were building all three sizes at the same time. YOU NEED THAT NUMBER to get what you need.

    There is a rebuilding service in England for the fuel injection service and I would also do that right away.

    These cars were sold to bankers, famous actors, industrialist and the jet set of the day. They were never meant to compare with the Ferrari’s of the day on the track. They were however far more tractable on the road, and reliable for day to day use. They were also more subtle for those that had made it but did not with to flaunt it too much. I loved mine and only sold it to cover medical bills for my late wife. I hope it finds a good home at a more reasonable price.

    Like 42
    • misterlou Member

      Shut The Front Door!! Thanks for this massive data dump. Way to take the fear out of them. Now to come up with. the 160 large.

      Like 1
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Bruce,
      Great post!

      First, all props to you for caring more for a loved on than a possession like a car.

      Nothing can surpass a personal long-term experience with a specific car for the best in advice.

      misterlou we all recognize that the entry fee asked here would be only a down payment, though… If the 160 is more than just “write a check” away, then the stiff remaining balance (yet to be determined) would be really problematic for most of us.

      Like 2
    • Frank Sumatra

      Very informative post. Thanks.

      Like 1
    • Oldog4tz Member

      Thanx – and absolutely the reason I cough up a few bucks each month – not that I’m in the market for a Maserati.

      Like 2
  6. Cobra Steve

    Bought a 1970 Maserati Mexico for a buddy of mine at a police auction back in the early 1980’s for $300 and it was missing the steering wheel, engine, and transmission. Car very close in appearance to this one. My buddy needed the windscreen which was intact on the car, as was most of the other components. Rust is the worst enemy on these old Maser’s…a box channel inside a box channel–complicated and $$$ to repair properly. Yes, that is not a mis-print…car costed $300.00 and yes, the rockers were like Swiss cheese.

    Like 1
  7. Gerard Frederick

    Back in the day I owned a 1960 3500GT. It was a beauty and lots of fun to drive on the extremely curvy two-lane back road between San Pedro and Portuguese Bend in Ca. I had serious problems with the electronics and with engine reliability generally. After spending heavens-knows how much I finally sold it at a Kruse Classic Car Auction for $3900.00 in 1974. Good Bye and good riddance.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Gerard,

      I was on a car buying trip to England in 1985, at a time when the British Pound had dropped to $1.05. I went and looked at a Maserati 3500 cabrio with hardtop, a car in very nice condition. The asking price was $5,000, and the dealer was very anxious to sell, and kept asking me to make an offer. The primary reason I passed on the car was it had RHD, and I felt it would be a difficult resell in the US. That, and I had just bought 2 other cars, so I didn’t make an offer.

      Of course had I bought it and held onto the car for 10 years, it would have been worth about $250,000.

  8. Derek

    In looks, it kind of reminds me of the Welsh-made Gilbern Invader. Bit more sophisticated, tho…

  9. Ty Rad

    I wouldn’t restore it–I like the way it looks now–just get it mechanically sorted and enjoy driving it.

    Like 2
  10. Christopher A. Junker

    Great information from Bruce and spot on about the Lucas system. Leno did one for his 3500. The comments about the color choice of darker the better is also valid. I looked hard at an early 4speed white 3500 and the white color problem on this age Maserati is there are a lot of almost flat side surfaces that reminded me of the side of a white chest freezer. Cranberry would be my color of choice. The Sebrings are smaller than the 3500’s and to me much more attractive and sporting.

  11. Geoff A

    Why does this site give these guy’s free advertising? Lucas mechanical fuel injection, what could go wrong. Beautiful car in need of much TLC. This would be like restoring a wooden boat that has sat outside uncovered for 10 years. Good luck to the new owner , may they have very deep pockets and know an honest shop

  12. t-bone bob

    Another overpriced car with many needs from Gullwing Motor Cars.

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