1969 Indy 4.2 History
It was sold new in Italy by Genoa dealer Automare Genova to a Signor Dell'Orso of Genoa, and delivered 18.12.69 The car was imported into Australia and converted to RHD, probably in late 1971 or early 1972, and first registered in Australia in February 1972. (I am deducing this from the fact that the Australian registration records insist the car is 1972 manufacture, which is of course incorrect. So this date is probably the first Australian registration after RHD conversion).
The first Australian owner was probably a Mr. Frank Jenkin in the state of Victoria, the second Australian owner was a Mr. William Craig also of Victoria who purchased the car in October 1982 with an odometer reading of 69,000Km. The third Australian owner was Mr. John Roberts in the state of Tasmania who purchased the car in November 1993 with an odometer reading of 86,500Km
The fourth Australian owner is me (John Clark), and I purchased the car as indicated above on 27th January 2000 with an odometer reading of 95,700Km.
It is a 4.2L 5 speed manual model, metallic grey, with mustard Connolly leather upholstery, and the original colour, according to the Maserati delivery invoice was Grigio Flemington Salchi.
It is presently registered and roadworthy with New South Wales licence plates MC 057, and formerly had Victorian licence plates LRA 566. The vehicle identification data is AM 116.192 Carrozzeria 1098.
This means the car is the 96th Indy off the assembly line, and therefore a very early example with the old style dashboard. It has no power steering, and really doesn't need it.
I first saw the car advertised in a local classic car magazine, and I initially had some correspondence with Mr. Roberts from my home (then in Sydney) during the second half of 1999. After some delay, I arranged to inspect the car in Tasmania on 26.01.00 while also inspecting other possible vehicles in Melbourne. I drove to Melbourne from Sydney with my brother-in-law, a very experienced and well qualified automotive engineer, in my Toyota Landcruiser towing his car trailer absolutely packed with various Peugeot parts (his specialty) including an old 1920's Peugeot Tourer that he had sold and was delivering to a client. This meant we had an empty car trailer for the return journey should we need it, but as things turned out, we didn't. Amongst the cars I looked at when we were in Melbourne before seeing the Indy were a Mistral that had not been on the road for 10 years (and thus had goodness knows what problems), a rather rusty Mexico with gearbox problems and painted in a lurid non standard colour, and a rather nice Lamborghini Espada (but I quaked at the thought of dealing with a V12 engine!). I had also hoped to see an Aston Martin DBS, but it failed to materialise. And there were other things as well, but not of great interest.
We flew down to Tasmania on Jan 26th and looked at the Indy, which was rather out of tune, not being used much at all, but obviously well cared for and with some known history. It wasn't, and still isn't, a concourse car, but it is very presentable. My brother-in-law thought it was in sound mechanical condition. After a some haggling I purchased it , and my brother-in-law declared it to be OK to drive the car home to Sydney. And anyway, if problems arose we always had the empty car trailer. I booked a place on the car ferry back to Melbourne where we collected my Landcruiser, stayed overnight and then headed for Sydney. The Indy performed flawlessly, although it wouldn't really rev right out due to poor tuning (largely a simple distributor problem as it turned out).
Being late January it was high summer, and the air-conditioning was not working and day temperatures were 35C and above. So the car was incredibly hot! It was like being in a mobile greenhouse! We took turns driving it, and then retreating to the glorious cool of the very well air-conditioned Toyota. But the for all that, the two day drive home was a great adventure, and a distance of about 1700Km.
Since purchasing the vehicle I have sorted out the tuning reasonably well. I have removed the original radiator pusher fans and installed a radiator core shroud of my own design and construction, and installed a 16'' s-blade fan that gives much better engine cooling. I have also replaced the original A/C condenser with a modern high efficiency type and the cabin cooling is now quite good. (European car manufacturers just don't understand how hot it gets down here in mid summer!). I have also had the front suspension and steering overhauled, with new bushes etc where required. More recently, I have replaced the original wheels with 15'' custom built wire wheels that allowed me to fit tyres of the correct diameter, and I have had the rear springs reset. This has all improved the handling and the ground clearance. I have also made a start on overhauling the wiring, and replaced the original fuse panel and some very amateurish wiring that was downright dangerous. I have also overhauled the brakes. My next move will be to refurbish the dashboard trim, replace the carpets and tidy up the somewhat clumsy RDH conversion linkage system to the accelerator pedal, I will also relocate some switches that were inconveniently placed in the RHD conversion and install a modern radio/CD player.
There is the story of my Indy to the present date; and its history as best I can reconstruct it. This is a lovely old car, nothing very remarkable or outstanding about it, but it is a very tidy and eminently drivable classic with very good road manners. My only regret is the lack of any real support group in Australia for GT period cars. I think less than 300 pre Biturbo Maseratis were ever imported into this country. So the problem is a simple one of demographics.