The Mistral was produced from 1963 through 1970. During its production lifespan, 120 spyders and 830 coupes were produced. The design had been penned by the Italian stylist Pietro Frua, arguably one of his greatest automotive designs. The French had a name for a strong, cold wind in their southern region, it was Mistral. Maserati adopted the name because it embodied the essence of the wind - speed. The original name for the vehicle had been Due Posti.
In 1963, Maserati introduced the Mistral at Auto Shows and a year later the production version was ready. Initially, the vehicle was to be outfitted with a 3.5 liter power-plant, however, the production version received a 3.7-liter engine. It was a derivative of the engine used in Maserati's motorsport. The cylinder head had hemispherical combustion champers, Lucas indirect fuel injection, and a chain-driven camshafts. Mounted under the gently sloping hood, the 245 horsepower six-cylinder engine powered the rear wheels and could propel the vehicle from zero to sixty in 7 seconds.
The short wheelbase provided room for two passengers. A square section welded together had replaced the classic elliptic tubular frame in an effort to reduce the overall weight. A 4.0-liter engine now lurked under the hood, raising the overall horsepower rating by ten and giving the Mistral a top speed of just under 160 mph.
The Mistral was outfitted with a ZF 5-speed gearbox, disc brakes on all four corners and the traditional Borrani wire wheels. The later models had light alloy wheels. The interior was plush, elegant, and inviting with rich leather bucket seats. A hard top could be purchased as optional equipment for the Spyder version, making it more versatile.
In production for seven years and with nearly 1000 examples created, this is truly a magnificent automobile. Its beautiful curves, wrap-around chrome bumper, and Maserati's marriage of racing and luxury made this a suitable choice for all types of automobile enthusiasts.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006