1966 Maserati Mexico 12
1966 Maserati Mexico 12

How Mexico got its name

Riley Riley

 

No one knows exactly how the Maserati Mexico came to get its name.

The story goes that in 1961 a major Mexican customer had purchased a 5000 GT Allemano that formerly belonged to Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos.

He 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 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.

Considered one of the finest Italian GT cars of all time, Mexico made its debut on October 6, 1966 at the opening of the 53rd “Mondial de l’automobile de Paris.

Designed by Vignale, it was an exquisite car with sleek and immaculate lines.

It was an elegant 2+2 coupé in pure Maserati style, but with a powerful sporty heart.

In fact, underneath its bonnet it concealed the road version of the racing engine derived from the 450 S.

Mexico was the third Maserati model to use this propulsion unit, after the Quattroporte and the 5000 GT.

Right from launch, the car was equipped with a 4.2-litre V8 with 194kW and a top speed of 240km/h.

There was also a larger 4.7-litre V8 with 216kW, able to hit a top speed of 255km/h.

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 optionals.

The interior was described as “an Italian-style lounge”, expressing Italian identity and Maserati’s trademark craftsmanship.

 

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