The First GTI Wasn't A Volkswagen

When VW engineers built their first hot first-generation Golf, they called it the GTI, the 'i' for fuel injection. That car became the prototypical hot hatch, and GTI became a byword for a high performance model. But the Golf wasn't the first GTI.

That honor goes to the Maserati 3500, fifteen years before VW's hot hatch debuted.


Maserati started to build this unbelievably gorgeous grand touring car back in 1957. By 1961, however, its Weber carburetors (all three of them) were clearly behind the times. Mercedes had eschewed carbs and brought out fuel injection on the 300SL back in 1954, for instance.

Maserati figured out how to get Lucas fuel injection on the 3.5 liter straight six, gaining 15 horsepower (up to 235 from 220 hp) at the expense of some low-tech simplicity.

Jay Leno bought and restored one of these Maseratis, and gave an in-depth view of how England contributed to this first fuel-injected Italian production car.

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