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Coachwork by Fantuzzi
Maserati Classiche Certified | Works Team and Development CarEttore Chimeri, Caracas, Venezuela (acquired from Maserati in 1956)Felipe Gutierrez, Caracas, Venezuela (acquired from the above in 1957)Renny Ottolina, Caracas, Venezuela (acquired from the above in 1958)Joel Finn, Roxbury, Connecticut (acquired in 1963 via Nando Cortez)Jim Hall, Midland, Texas (acquired from the above in 1963)F.M. Brundick III, Jacksonville, Florida (acquired from the above in 1965)Chris Drake, London, England (acquired from the above in 1966)Nobuo Harada, Tokyo, Japan (acquired from the above in 1979)Dr. Wolf Zweifler, Munich, Germany (acquired from the above in 2001)Tony Schwartz, Los Angeles, California (acquired in 2009)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Gran Premio di Napoli, June 8, 1955, Bellucci (DNF)Shell Grand Prix at Imola, June 19, 1955, Bordoni (DNF)Targa Florio, October 16, 1955, Bracco, No. 90 (DNF)Trofeo Vigorelli, March 19, 1956, Musso (1st Overall)Giro di Sicilia, April 8, 1956, Musso (DNF)Mille Miglia, April 29, 1956, Bellucci, No. 525 (DNF)Gran Premio di Napoli, May 6, 1956, Bellucci (1st Overall)Circuito di Castera, June 17, 1956, Bellucci (8th Overall)Gran Premio Supercortemaggiore – Monza, June 24, 1956, Farina (Practice Only)Gran Premio di Bari, July 22, 1956, Behra, No. 2 (1st Overall)Rheinland-Pfalz Preis Nürburgring, August 1, 1956, Moss, No. 32 (2nd Overall)Gran Premio di Pescara, August 17, 1956, Taruffi, No. 66 (2nd Overall)Gran Premio di Roma, October 21, 1956, Villoresi, No. 56 (DNF)Grand Prix of Caracas, November 4, 1956, Behra, No. 10 (3rd Overall, 1st in Class)Cuban Grand Prix, February 24, 1957, Moss, No. 28 (DNF)Grand Prix of Caracas, November 3, 1957, Gonzales/Gutierrez, No. 52 (19th Overall)Cuban Grand Prix, February 28, 1960, Brandt, No. 21 (DNF)
Le Mans Classic, September 2002Mille Miglia Storica, May 2003Mille Miglia Storica, May 2004Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring, August 2004Le Mans Classic, July 2004Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring, August 2006Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge, Sears Point, May 2008Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge, Mont-Tremblant, July 2008Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge, Laguna Seca, August 2008Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, August 2008Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge, Sears Point, May 2009Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 2010 (Best in Class)
Chassis 2401 occupies a place of distinction in the history of Maserati sports racing cars, not only because it was the first 200 S chassis produced but also due to its service as the works development car for the series and as a member of the factory racing team.
The first competition entry for 2401 took place on June 8, 1955, at the Gran Premio di Napoli where Luigi Bellucci, longtime Maserati voiturette and sports car driver, was entrusted with the factory’s latest sports racer. In the car’s next outing, at Imola on June 19th, it was driven by Franco Bordoni, a skilled aviator and former Italian Sports Car Champion. After Imola, 2401 returned to Modena where it was prepared for the legendary Targa Florio, where Giovanni Bracco was entrusted with the car.
Toward the end of 1955, factory drivers Giuseppe Musso and Bellucci tested 2401, and their feedback resulted in many updates to the bodywork, engine, and suspension. 2401’s first appearance in 1956 took place at Monza, where Musso finished 1st overall and recorded the fastest lap of the Trofeo Vigorelli.
On April 26, 1956, just three days before the Mille Miglia, Maserati issued the Foglio di Montaggio for 2401. At the Mille Miglia, Bellucci piloted the works Maserati through conditions that were, in the words of historian Anthony Pritchard, “wet, stormy and thoroughly unpleasant.” Of the 27 Maseratis entered in the race, most were plagued by the inclement weather, and 2401 was no exception, succumbing to brake trouble caused by the downpour.
After the Mille Miglia, Maserati would make the most radical changes yet to their factory development car. By this time, the 200 S project was well underway and 2401 received the long-nose Fantuzzi coachwork that immediately differentiated it from its earlier configuration. In May 1956, Cesare Perdisa tested the new and improved car at Monza, ushering in a new era for Maserati’s four-cylinder powerplant.
In June, Bellucci drove 2401 at the Gran Premio di Napoli, where he proved victorious, leading a procession of Maseratis, OSCAs, and Stanguellinis across the finish line. Bellucci found further success at Circuito di Caserta, finishing 8th overall and recording the fastest lap of the race. From there, 2401 was shipped to Monza where Stirling Moss and Giuseppe Farina were to compete in the Gran Premio Supercortemaggiore. Unfortunately for the Maserati team, Farina lost control of the car in practice causing damage that could not be repaired in time for the race.
After Monza, 2401 made yet another trip to the factory, where the body was repaired and a more sophisticated De Dion rear axle was adapted to the chassis. In this configuration, Jean Behra drove the car to an overall victory at the Gran Premio di Bari.
2401 then traveled to Germany to compete at the legendary Nürburgring – to many, the supreme test of a sports car. On August 1st, Moss, who was driving for the Maserati Grand Prix team, piloted the 200 S to a 2nd Place finish in the Rheinland-Pfalz Preis Nürburgring. While battling Hermann’s Porsche for 1st Place, Moss set the fastest lap of the race at 10 minutes 13.3 seconds, proving that the 200 S was a match for the best that Germany had to offer.
Following the Gran Premio di Roma at Castelfusano, where the legendary Luigi Villoresi drove 2401 in the final race of his career, the 200 S returned to Modena for the final stage of its evolution, becoming a 200 SI with “SI” standing for Sport Internatzionale in recognition of its compliance with the new FIA mandates. Included in the uprated specifications were a new ZF five-speed gearbox, larger brake drums, a revised nose section, passenger door, full-width FIA-spec windscreen, a soft top, and a higher state of tune for the two-liter engine. Maserati Consulenza Storica believes that the De Dion-type rear axle was retained in 2401, as Stirling Moss and Jean Behra much preferred it to the standard rigid axle.
The first appearance in SI form took place at the Grand Prix of Caracas in Venezuela. Amidst stiff competition, Behra gave an outstanding performance, resulting in a 1st in Class finish and an impressive 3rd overall behind Moss in a 300 S and Fangio in a 860 Monza. Shortly after this race, the Maserati factory sold 2401 – now fully developed and race proven – to Venezuelan privateer Ettore Chimeri.
Despite the change in ownership, it was not the last time that the factory would call on their old warhorse. When a dock strike in New York prevented the delivery of several cars to Havana, Chimeri loaned 2401 to the factory team for use in the important race; and on February 24th, at the Cuban Grand Prix, Moss was reacquainted with 2401. Though the 200 SI failed to finish due to engine trouble, Moss lapped 15 seconds quicker than any other car in the class and was even able to overtake Harry Schell’s 300 S.
Later that year, Chimeri sold the 200 SI to Felipe Gutierrez of Venezuela, who ran Scuderia Madunina. 2401 continued to race under the team’s livery of white with a tri-color central stripe and, wearing no. 52, Gutierrez and Santiago Gonzales competed valiantly in the 1957 Grand Prix of Caracas, finishing 1st in Class and 19th overall. In 1958, 2401 was sold to Renny Ottolina, a host for Radio Television Venezuela. In his ownership, the Maserati was painted light blue and, in 1960, Freddie Brandt drove it in the Cuban Grand Prix.
In 1963, American enthusiast Joel Finn acquired 2401 through Mexican broker Nando Cortez. He then sold 2401 to legendary Texan racer Jim Hall, who, in turn, sold it to F.M. Brundick III in 1965. The following year, English dealer Chris Drake traded Mr. Brundick a 3500 GT and cash for the ex-works 200 SI. Mr. Drake owned the car until 1979, when it was sold to noted Japanese collector Nobuo Harada. While in Tokyo, the Maserati was displayed as a prized trophy for two decades in the Kawaguchiko Motor Museum. In 2001, 2401 finally became available and was sold to noted German Maserati collector Dr. Wolf Zweifler.
During Dr. Zweifler’s ownership, marque specialist Steve Hart carefully prepared the Maserati for its return to racing and, over the next few years, the 200 SI was successfully campaigned in major historic events, including the Le Mans Classic and the Mille Miglia Storica. Significantly, on May 31, 2005, the Classiche department of Maserati S.p.A. Modena issued the certificate of authenticity for 2401, confirming it as an authentic example.
In 2009, the 200 SI was sold to Southern California collector Tony Schwartz, who continued to campaign 2401 in historic races including the Shell Historic Challenge, where it captured multiple 1st in Class finishes. Not only did 2401 continue to excel on track, it was also displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and earned a Best in Class trophy at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Offered today from a prominent private collection, 2401 is supported by an impressive file of documentation that includes copies of the original Maserati build sheets, the Maserati Classiche Certificate of Authenticity, invoices detailing the restoration and race preparation, a thoroughly researched racing record, period photos, magazine articles, FIA papers, and the FIVA identity card issued in 2001.
In its day, the 200 SI was one of the most competitive cars in its class and found worldwide success in sports car racing, hill climbs, and endurance events. With a curb weight of approximately 1,500 lbs., grand prix derived engine, wonderful ZF gearbox, sculpted aluminum bodywork and, exquisitely cast brake drums, the 200 SI was the car to beat on a tight, twisting circuit. Its superb balance and driver feedback earned the SI a reputation as one of the best handling cars of the 1950s.