On the 6th October 1966 at the 53rd edition of the “Mondial de l’automobile de Paris”, the new Maserati Mexico was unveiled for the first time. Considered one of the finest Italian GT cars of all time, the Mexico is marking its 55th anniversary since its debut..
The Mexico, which was designed by Virginio Vairo at Vignale, was an exquisite car with sleek and immaculate lines. It was an elegant 2+2 coupé in pure Maserati Grand Tourer style, but with a powerful sporty heart which meant it had the performance to match its looks.
Among the hypotheses on how Maserati’s luxury GT came to be named as the Central American country, it is said that a major Mexican customer had purchased a 5000 GT Allemano which formerly belonged to Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos in 1961, and brought it to Modena to be repaired after an accident.
While visiting the historic Viale Ciro Menotti plant, the customer was apparently so impressed by the Vignale-designed prototype that he absolutely insisted on buying it, to the point where the bodywork was transferred to the chassis of his 5000 GT. This series of coincidences is said to have led to the choice of the name “Mexico” for the future model.
Also in the same year that the new model was launched, John Surtess won the Mexican Grand Prix driving a Cooper-Maserati T81. And so the Mexico name was destined to be associated with the venerable Maserati brand.
Underneath the bonnet resided the 290BHP road version of the V8 racing engine derived from the legendary 450 S. It was the third Maserati model to use this power unit, after the Quattroporte and the 5000 GT. The V8 was mated to a 5 speed manual transmission, with drive sent to the rear wheels. The Mexico was actually the first Maserati to be fitted with servo-assisted, ventilated discs on all four wheels.
Right from its launch, the car was equipped with a 4.2 L V8 of 260 HP and a top speed of 240 km/h and a 4.7 L V8 of 290 HP, which was able to propel it to a top speed of 255 km/h. Its performance made the Mexico a highly desirable and practical 2+2 and was capable of transporting four adults in comfort.
Indeed the Maserati Mexico impressed with both style and equipment, which included – as standard – leather seats, electric windows, wooden dashboard, air-conditioning and servo-assisted ventilated front disc brakes. Automatic transmission, power steering and radio were available as options from the factory. The interior was described as “an Italian-style lounge”, expressing Italian identity and Maserati’s trademark craftsmanship.
Production of the Maserati Mexico began in 1966 and end in 1973, with just 485 examples built over its 7 year run. The model was little changed through its production run, perhaps reflecting on the quality of the original package.
Today, just as 55 years ago, Maserati continues to build iconic cars that shape the history of motoring and set benchmarks for the luxury segment. The Mexico represented excellence, design and power, values still found in all Trident models.