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Lot 115

2014   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2014

1956 Maserati 250F

SOLD $4,620,000

Estimate

$4,000,000 - $6,000,000

Chassis

2525

Car Highlights

A Factory-Raced Example of the Seminal Maserati 250F
One of Only Two Cars Built as “Offset” Models
Driven to Victory by Stirling Moss in Its Only Grand Prix Outing
Owned Its Entire Life by Noted and Caring Enthusiasts
A Legendary Grand Prix Maserati

Technical Specs

2,493 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder
Three Weber DCO Twin-Choke Sidedraft Carburetors
270 HP at 7,200 RPM
5-Speed Manual Transaxle with ZF-Style, Limited-Slip Differential
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Unequal Length Double-Wishbone and Coil-Spring Front Suspension
De Dion Axle with Transverse Leaf-Spring Rear Suspension
Register to Bid

Maserati, Modena, ItalyTony Parravano, Los Angeles, California (acquired from the above in November 1956)Carl Bross, United StatesSir Anthony Bamford, United KingdomJoel Finn, ConnecticutRobert Fergus, Columbus, OhioPrivate Collector, Seattle, Washington (acquired from the above in 1995)Murray Smith, United States (acquired from the above in 1998)Current Owner (acquired from the above in November 2000)

Italian Grand Prix at Monza, September 1956, Stirling Moss (1st Overall)

Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Monterey, California, August 1999Monaco Historic Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, May 2000Goodwood Revival, Chichester, United Kingdom, September 2001Goodwood Revival, Chichester, United Kingdom, September 2002Monaco Historic Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, May 2004Monaco Historic Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, May 2006Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring, 2007Goodwood Revival, Chichester, United Kingdom, September 2007Monaco Historic Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, May 2008Ferrari Shell Historic Challenge, Monterey, California, August 2008Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Monterey, California, August 2008Monaco Historic Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, May 2010Goodwood Revival, Chichester, United Kingdom, September 2010Phillip Island Historic Races, Melbourne, Australia, March 2011Australian Grand Prix Historic Exhibition, March 2011Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, Sonoma, California, May 2011HMSA LSR Invitational, Monterey, California, April 2014Monaco Historic Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, May 2014

Officini Alfieri Maserati was founded in 1914 in Bologna, Italy, as an engineering business. After fighting in WWI for the Italian Army, company founder Alfieri Maserati went on to serve as a design consultant to the Diatto Company, based in Torino, Italy, initially working with the company’s technical director, Giuseppe Coda, on the development of competition cars based on the company’s production models. The resulting Tipo 20SS, which was based on Diatto’s standard Tipo 20, was a moderate success for the small team and enabled them to receive approval for Coda to design a bespoke car for the two-liter Grand Prix formula. Driven by Alfieri Maserati and Emilio Materassi in the September 1925 Italian Grand Prix, the Diattos proved uncompetitive due to lack of development. The formula change to 1,500 cc for the 1926 season rendered the cars obsolete. The company was happy to transfer rights and equipment used in the production of the competition cars to Alfieri Maserati in 1927.

Now working as a small-scale producer of competition automobiles, Alfieri joined forces with brothers Ernesto, Bindo, and Ettore to build the 1,491 cc Tipo 26, which was based directly on the previous year’s Diatto design. Building on the successes of each year’s new design, the company produced four to five cars a year into the early 1930s, when Alfieri suddenly passed away. The company successfully moved forward with the remaining brothers at the helm, before deciding to sell the organization to Adolfo Orsi at the end of 1936. Two years after the purchase of the company, Orsi moved the works to Modena where his family and other business interests were based, and where the company remains today. The Maserati brothers stayed on with the company as consultants until 1947, until they left to start O.S.C.A. in Bologna.

The 2,500 cc regulations announced for the 1954 Grand Prix season were an opportunity for Maserati to build on the momentum of the 1953 A6GCM with a development model that would become known as the 250F. Knowing that the only other manufacturer that was offering grand prix cars for sale was Connaught in the UK, Maserati targeted privateer teams and owners with the intent to race the cars as a factory effort to drum up sales. After early success by Juan Manuel Fangio, the company decided to field a factory team at all races, which they would continue to do until the end of the 1957 season.

Powered by a sonorous 220 hp inline six-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts, the 250F used a rear-mounted transaxle that provided an advantageous weight balance. All castings were produced in Maserati’s own foundry and were of very high quality. The frame was a semi-stressed, space-frame design that added rigidity to the earlier twin-tube design of the A6GCM. Purity and efficiency are apparent throughout the 250F’s design with plumbing and mechanical systems very well thought out and cleanly engineered.

By the time the 1956 season rolled around, the 250F had seen success in the hands of factory drivers and privateers alike and had been further developed with refinements to the chassis and bodywork. Experimentation led to the production of two new cars, chassis 2525 and 2526, for the 1956 Italian Grand Prix at Monza in September. The new cars, which were to become known as the “offset” or “fuoricentro” (out of center) cars, were a drastic departure in architecture with the engine angled in the chassis by 5°, which enabled the driveshaft to be placed next to the driver and allowed him to sit 8" lower. The bodywork of the car included higher sides than usual, along with shapelier nose and tail sections. The chassis, which was slightly extended, was made of thinner-walled tubing to reduce weight, and the fuel tank was attached to the chassis with spring-loaded bolts instead of the prior steel straps. A clear advancement in design, the cars had a much-reduced frontal area, which significantly reduced drag – perfect for the high banks of Monza.

The Maserati offered here, chassis 2525, was triumphant in its inaugural outing with racing legend Stirling Moss at the wheel, beating Juan Fangio in a Lancia-Ferrari by 5.7 seconds on a day when the rough banking at Monza claimed a large number of cars through mechanical failure.

As documented by included paperwork from the Maserati archives, on November 16, 1956, 2525 was sold to renowned American racing team owner Tony Parravano. Parravano is thought not to have raced the car and it later became part of the collection owned by Sir Anthony Bamford, who campaigned the car in historic racing, driven by the very talented Willie Green. Subsequent owners of this incredibly desirable Maserati are a who’s who of Italian competition machinery aficionados. 2525 has been in good hands, indeed, and seen the utmost care.

Offered from a world-class, California-based collection where the Maserati was both raced and shown at a high level. The 250F is currently powered by a purpose-built high-performance engine assembled by Shawn Thomas using components sourced from Hall and Hall. Engine 2525 is currently being restored and arrangements will be made to deliver it to the new owner upon completion.

This Maserati 250F is assuredly one of the most desirable and lauded grand prix cars from a golden era in racing history. Resplendent in its traditional red paint, it is offered ready to provide its new owner with either the thrill of campaigning a legend in historic racing competition or the satisfaction of showing arguably the finest Maserati single-seater extant in concours events around the world. This opportunity should not be ignored, as the chance to own such a significant Italian single-seater comes along very rarely indeed.