1963 Maserati Sebring 3500 GTI vs. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso

   
1963 Maserati Sebring 3500 GTI vs. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso - comparison retro road test 2018 Glenn Lindberg & Drive-My

Grand Trial ‘60s GT Greats Do the Aston, Ferrari and Maserati live up to the hype? PLUS our top GT alternatives for £30k, or less. Aston DB5, Maserati Sebring and Ferrari 250GT Lusso fight to justify their status. They’re revered figureheads of an automotive phenomenon. But half a century later, do they still possess the skillset to justify their eye-watering price tags? Words Ivan Ostroff. Photography Glenn Lindberg.


‘Nobody can style automobiles quite like the Italians. These are the most elegant cars of the period’ They all claim to be grand tourers, but which really does the business? The Big Test Sixties GTs The Ferrari, Aston and Maserati promise the ultimate in Sixties grand touring capability. Do they really deliver? Grand Trial: Sixties GTs Conjoining high performance with luxury and cruising ability, the Ferrari 250GT Lusso, Maserati Sebring and Aston Martin DB5 were the most glamorous cars of the early Sixties. We bring them together for a glorious road test.


The Sixties incarnation of the Maserati Sebring 3500 GTI was possibly the best-looking two-plus-two GT car at that time. Its Vignale bodywork highlighted the fact that nobody can style automobiles quite like the Italians, so I wanted one. Then, in 1963, along came the Ferrari 250GTL. Not only was it drop-dead gorgeous but it had a top speed of 150mph. That was warp speed then. So I wanted one of those too.


1963 Maserati Sebring 3500 GTI vs. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
1963 Maserati Sebring 3500 GTI vs. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso - road test

Then the Aston Martin DB5 appeared in Goldfinger, instantly becoming every schoolboy’s dream. It might not have been the fastest car in the world but 143mph was not exactly hanging around. Most importantly for me, it was the car for a British hero, and therefore the most desirable of all.

Almost six decades on, I feel like I must have died and gone to heaven. Three of the most fabulous motorcars to grace the highways of the Sixties are at my disposal. The Aston is without doubt the quintessential gentleman’s GT; the Sebring is one of the most underrated designs Vignale penned, and the Lusso? Well, that boasts a grand-touring magnum opus – the Ferrari V12 – in one of the most beautiful automotive bodies ever conceived. But which of them will prove to be the ultimate GT?


1963 Maserati Sebring 3500 GTI vs. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
1963 Maserati Sebring 3500 GTI vs. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso - road test


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Read 1194 times Last modified on Friday, 27 April 2018 19:20

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  1. Phil CLASSIC Bell

Preconceptions are there to be challenged, and sometimes commitment has to be tested.

Aston DB5, Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, Maserati Sebring – words loaded with the promise of fast road adventures, destination somewhere special, journey even more so. Imagine swinging open a pair of garage doors, licking on the light and seeing any one of these visions of luxury travel sketched out in steel, chrome and aluminium over glittering multi-cylinder engines, each topped with a brace of camshafts. Heady stuff for the early Sixties; even more so today when aspiration for them has been burnished by decades of adulation. It made us wonder how deserved they are when tested to their limits, as their makers intended in that far-of world of the early Sixties.

It’s fascinating to find out, but if our pick of the bunch leaves you a few hundred thousand short of making the dream come true you’ll find our glamorous, alternative grand touring choices more accessible and no less life-enriching to own.

The rewards of classic car ownership manifest themselves in so many ways, but it might be hard to see the upside of receiving that dreaded phone call from your restorer. The one that starts, ‘You’d better come and see this.’ When Wayne Fitzgerald discovered that his Bentley 3½ Litre had a broken crankshaft and a horrifically-bent chassis hidden beneath convincingly lashed-together bodywork he could have given up. It would have been more cost effective to have sold up and moved on. Instead he sanctioned a detailed restoration to bring this elegant drop head coupé up to the condition it deserved. And despite enlisting professionals, he couldn’t resist getting stuck in personally. Now that’s commitment.

The outcome is a stunning car and the satisfaction that such a mess has been rescued. And a story that Wayne can recount to anyone interested. We’re particularly grateful for the last bit Wayne, and hope you’re out there somewhere in Australia, touring grandly in Thirties style. Enjoy the article.

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  1. Vitro Nilssen Clark

Sixties GTs not so grand

Having driven a Maserati Sebring and Aston DB5 (‘Grand Trial’), my underwhelming experience of them is at odds with the article’s panting praise. Ferrari has a reliability reputation, so I haven’t bothered.

Comparison with two much cheaper and just as handsome cars, the Australian Monaro V8 and Pontiac GTO, makes you wonder why drivers of sense would buy these delicate Continental runabouts. Their cockpits are designed for small Europeans; North American and Australian physiques are cramped. And their fragile, temperamental and expensive to fix OHC engines would wilt and expire on the epic journeys we undertake in these countries.

Let’s have a little less genuflecting to cars that are expensive trophies but not really it for purpose, please.

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  1. David La Chance

A Maserati for me

A £1m+ Ferrari 250GT Lusso, a £650k Aston-Maetin DB5 and a Maserati Sebring worth around £150k (Grand Trial, June 2018)... To me it’s simple maths – I’d go for the Maserati.

And if money were of lesser concern, I would still go for the Maserati. There must be very few more beautiful designs than this car. What lines! What looks! And its interior is sublime.

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