The A6GCS/53

All photos courtesy of Bonhams.

My sincere thanks to Tim Schofield of Bonhams for granting me permission to publish the text and photographs from the Bonhams catalogue for the forthcoming sale of

Important Collectors' Motor Cars, Motorcycles, Fine Automobilia,
Formula 1 Memorabilia and Toys & Models

to be held at Olympia, London on the 1st and 2nd December 2002.

Entry by catalogue only.
To purchase your catalogue, call Catalogue Sales on 01666-502200 - Price GB 25.00.

LOT 1036

This most beautiful example of the 1950s Italian thoroughbred Berlinetta theme is offered here direct from one aristocratic European ownership in which it has been enjoyed for some 30 years.

During this long period the car has not only been maintained within one of Europe's leading classic car collections, it has also been exquisitely restored to its original splendour. Even more significantly, Maserati A6GCS/53 serial '2060' has given its enthusiastic owner tremendous and reliable - enjoyment throughout such varied events as several editions each of the Mille Miglia retrospective, the Tour Auto, 500-kilometre Nürburgring marathons and even the Historic Monte Carlo Rally.

The A6GCS/53 Berlinetta with coachwork by Pinin Farina

The low-roof design crafted by a 'Genius'.

While its classical Pinin Farina-styled Berlinetta coachwork is perhaps the most attractive Gran Turismo design ever applied to a classic sportscar, '2060' offered here is based upon nothing less than a full competition specification A6GCS/53 mechanical package - complete with full dry sump, twin-plug ignition, straight-six cylinder, twin-cam engine.

As anyone who has ever tried to follow such a well-prepared Maserati A6GCS through winding sections of the Mille Miglia or Tour Auto route would readily confirm, this lightweight competition model from Modena is remarkably nimble and sure-footed with the accent upon good handling. This characteristic was brilliantly demonstrated in period by Luigi Musso's third place overall in the 1,000-mile race of 1954, followed by Francesco Giardini's fourth-overall in the 1955 event - both of them driving 2-1itre A6GCS cars.

The original A6GCS Spiders were the first Maserati model to be sold widely outside Continental Europe, with approximately half the Modena factory's limited production (around 50 cars in total) finding enthusiastic owners in the UK, USA and South America. The cars were extremely durable and continued to excel in road racing events worldwide long after their design had been superseded by the Maserati 200S the mid-1950s.

Absolutely stunning from any angle!

Serial '2060' as offered here is of course a unique and significant Maserati Gran Turismo, being one of only four such A6GCS/53 chassis to have been completed new with such haute couture closed Berlinetta coachwork.

What a great sight to see in your rear-wiew mirror!

In 1952, Italy's most important road race - the mighty Mille Miglia - had been run in near torrential rain. Many of the Italian high-performance car industry's valued clienti - the gentlemen racers - endured a ruggedday's motoring there, exposed in open cockpits. Consequently, into 1953, there was increased demand for competition-specification closed-cabin cars - such as this lovely Berlinetta.

A batch of half a dozen new Maserati A6GCS/53-specification chassis were allocated for completion with closed-cabin coachwork. Some of Maserati's clients expressed interest in Pinin Farina bodywork in place of Maserati's more familiar suppliers - Zagato, Frua, Fiandri and Fantuzzi. However, Pinin Farina had recently begun its fruitful co-production partnership with Ferrari, and to avoid unnecessary conflict with Mr. Ferrari it was decided that it would be inappropriate for Maserati to deal with Pinin Farina direct. Instead, therefore, the relevant chassis were passed to Maserati's enthusiastic Rome distributor - Giuglielmo 'Mimmo' Dei - who then commissioned Pinin Farina to work their magic upon the new cars' bodywork.

The beautiful radiator grille of the A6GCS/53 Berlinetta

'Mimmo' Dei was a great enthusiast and friend of the Maserati company, and he not only dealt in and distributed their products, he was also instrumental in suggesting new developments and finding methods of funding their expression in the metal, while his Scuderia Centro Sudracing team would run everything from the noted racing drivers' schools based at Modena, then Monza, through sports and Gran Turismo cars to Formula 1 and 2 single-seaters.

Four Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta cars were finally completed to Dei's order, with coachwork styled and crafted by Pinin Farina of Grugliasco, Turin. Two of the six bare A6GCS chassis originally supplied by Maserati were returned to them, being unused. One of the stunning new Berlinettas was displayed by Pinin Farina at the 1954 Salone dell'Automobile, in Turin, where it was liveried in two-tone blue, described as "dark blue below the waistline, with an azure roof". The car was considered then - and would surely still be regarded today - as being "Absolutely the most beautiful customer car built on this chassis". In his book 'Maserati Road Cars' published by Osprey in 1979, Maserati authority Richard Crump wrote: "I think the Show car was on chassis 2060...". The Turin show car was certainly beautiful enough, indeed, subsequently to win a major award in the Rome Concorso Internazionale d'Eleganza, held in June that same year.

A sister car had already competed in that year's Giro di Sicilia 'round-the-island' road race, while the third Pinin Farina Berlinetta A6GCS/53 was supplied via Dei to the very capable racing driver Francesco Giardini, and the fourth to Pietro Palmieri. This particular car - chassis '2060' - is known to have appeared early in its life liveried (or re-liveried) in red with a blue central stripe. In the Maserati factory records chassis '2060' is signed-off on September 28, 1954, to "Guglielmo Dei, Rome".

The car is reputed to have appeared in competition before, like Dei's, other Berlinetta, it was converted to more conventional open-cockpit competition Spider form with standard A6GCS/53-54 bodywork by Maserati's normal supplier, Fiandri, the elegant Pinin Farina low-line Berlinetta body being discarded. It would appear that the car was then employed for a period as a Centro Sud team entry before being exported to Germany in the 1960s, ultimately being acquired from another collector in the early 1970s - still in its standard Spider-bodied form - by the present long-term owner.

The interior of the A6GCS/53 Berlinetta

He recalls that the Maserati was still in very good original condition, always well cared for and requiring only rewiring of the magnetos, a brake overhaul and an oil change before giving faithful service in historic events for many more years.

Ultimately, in the mid-1980s, the owner's attention was attracted to the car's earliest appearance with that extraordinarily glamorous Pinin Farina Berlinetta coachwork fitted, and he resolved to restore it to that original form as now offered here.

A sister car with surviving Berlinetta body was available as a pattern while research also unearthed photographic references to the essential differences which made each of the four Maserati A6GCSs by Pinin Farina so individually distinctive. Each one of these cars had been handcrafted around an overall styling theme, and as each individual body had been completed so Pinin Farina's craftsmen had added their own detail touches and features in conjunction with the new owners' preferences.

The coachwork restoration on '2060' was begun by Church Green Engineering in England and it was completed and fine-detailed by another noted and well-respected British specialist, Paul Grist. Pattern shapes had been taken from the sister car and were modified to match '2060's original detail form. Items such as the windscreen had to be specially made, and in anticipation of the closed cabin becoming quite hot in summer time Historic events Grist's craftsmen added a cleverly designed multi-position sunroof panel to provide adequate ventilation. This panel could also be detached completely and stored beneath the rear screen area for maximum comfort.

It should also be emphasised that, despite the Pinin Farina Berlinetta body's extraordinarily sleek and low-line styling, the restored car's driving position proved entirely acceptable and habitable for the owner to spend many intensely enjoyable hours behind the wheel - despite his being 6 feet 2 inches tall...

This extremely handsome Maserati thus offers a new owner the most remarkable versatility. UK road registered, it is offered here with full FIA Historic paperwork. Already a veteran of events as diverse as the Mille Miglia Retro, Tour Auto, the Historic Monte Carlo Rally and the Nürburgring Marathons, it would be eligible for the growing number of drum-brake-only circuit races presently being organised Internationally, or for the increasingly popular Shell Ferrari-Maserati Historic Challenge series. With its glorious - and so rare - Pinin Farina body styling it is also an ideal candidate for such renowned blue-riband concours events as Pebble Beach and the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Seldom has Bonhams' car department been able to offer a 1950s closed-cockpit car with as much to commend it as this Maserati Berlinetta, and it is only the second time that one of these cars has ever come to auction. Here, indeed, is a rare opportunity to acquire such an attractive important, versatile and widely useable historic Maserati, direct from one exceptionally high-grade long-term ownership, with a proven reliability record, previous participation in so many highly popular events, and so sympathetically restored.

Estimate GB 550,000 - 700,000 (around EURO 800,000.00 - 1,100,000.00)

LOT 1078

The ex-Larry Hagman 1985 Maserati Quattroporte III Saloon
Regisrtration no. C43 ADD        Chassis no. ZAMBC 1100FA305162

Styled by Frua and introduced in 1963, the V8-powered Quattroporte was a landmark model for Maserati, being the Modena firm's first fourdoor saloon and its first car of unitary construction. The Quattroporte II deployed the V6 engine and front-wheel-drive package of the Citroen SM in a body by Bertone, but did not long survive Maserati's takeover by Alessandro De Tomaso.

The Maserati Quattroporte III

Its successor - the Ital Design-styled Quattroporte Ill - arrived in 1978. Maserati V8 power was restored for the third of the line - the options being a 4.2 or a 4.9-litre unit - and the 'III' reverted to rear wheel drive using a lengthened Kyalami floorpan and allindependent suspension. This lefthand-drive example has the 4.9-litre, 280bhp engine and automatic transmission, and is finished in black with tan leather interior. The car has enjoyed just two owners from new, covering 28,900 miles, and is accompanied by correspondence confirming that its first owner was none other than Larry Hagman, star of the popular television series Dallas, in which he played devious oilman J R Ewing. Described as in good condition throughout, it comes with service history and all MoTs dating from 1990 onwards, MoT to November 2003 and Swansea VS.

Estimate 4,500 - 5,500 (around EURO 7,000.00 - 8,500.00)

To purchase your catalogue, call Catalogue Sales on 01666-502200 - Price GB 25.00.

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