MASERATI’S history goes back a long way and its rich motorsport heritage is what made it one of the most prestigious manufacturers in the world.
The company was founded in Bologna in 1914 by brothers, Alfieri, Bindo, Ernesto and Ettore and the first car to wear the legendary trident emblem was the Tipo 26, which won its debut race – the 1926 Targa Florio – with Alfieri Maserati himself at the wheel.
The outfit remained in the family’s control until the brothers sold their famous racing concern to the Orsi family in 1937.
But by then Ernesto Maserati had already started developing the A6GCS.
Now, one of the early post-war models, a pristine example, has come up for auction.
What do the model’s mix of letters and numbers stand for?
The A was for the late Alfieri Maserati, the 6 represented the model’s straight-six engine, the G is for ghisa (Italian for cast iron, what the block is made of) and the C and S stood for Corsa and Sport.
Only 15 of the first-series A6GCS were built between April, 1947 and November, 1950, and most were sold to privateer competition drivers. The cars were fitted with a large central headlight, for which the model was nicknamed ‘Monofaro.’
The car up for auction, is one of eight known to still exist.
It’s powered by a triple-carburetter dry-sump single-overhead-cam 1978cc engine and the aluminium cigar-shaped body with its cycle-type mudguards was the work of master crafstman Medardo Fantuzzi.
It has benefited from 18 years of fastidious current ownership that succeeded a 26-year period of single ownership, as well as an extremely well-documented history.
That suggests this A6GCS is perhaps the finest example to be publicly offered.
According to copies of Maserati factory documents on file, chassis number #2012 was ordered in October, 1950 by the Automovel Club do Brasil, specified with two individual seats upholstered in verde, and coachwork finished in giallo, Italian for yellow.
After completion, the car was duly shipped to Brazil, along with a sister car, chassis number #2019, which was nearly identical in appearance with the exception of a single bench seat.
At the Gran Premio di Interlagos in January 1951, first owner Mario Valentin Dos Santos drove the A6GCS to a class win, which was duly recognised by an official congratulatory letter to Dos Santos from the factory.
Although South American racing records of this period are not particularly well-documented, it is believed that 2012 participated in many races in Brazil and Argentina during the early 1950s.
They including events that had accomplished drivers like Juan Manuel Fangio and Froilán Gonzales.
Records show the car was subsequently raced by Annuar de Goes Daquer, including a 6th-place finish at the Circuito Quinta da Boa Vista in February, 1952.
At some point in 1952 the Maserati was returned to the factory for repairs that included a rebuild of the engine into a very unique configuration.
The original head was removed and replaced with a dual-overhead-cam (bialbero) component with single ignition and an unusual cam design.
This modification constituted Maserati’s first dual-overhead-cam engine head, significantly enriching 2012’s singular provenance.
In December 1952 the A6GCS 2000 was returned to Mr Dos Santos in Brazil, and it presumably returned to a life of racing in South American events.
The following 20 years of activity is not known, but in 1972 the car was discovered in a São Paulo yard by the well-known British enthusiast Colin Crabbe.
As attested by period photos, the Monofaro had been repainted in rosso and remained in surprisingly strong condition, although the original nose had been modified with an egg-crate grille.
Crabbe bought the car and shipped it to the UK, where it was acquired in 1973 by Alan Smith of Derby, who, in 1977, sold it to dealer Danny Margulies, and a year later the car passed through a proxy to Sid Colberg, the proprietor of Anglo American Auto Investments in San Francisco, California.
Thus began a 26-year love affair between Colberg and the Monofaro, which he quickly set about restoring.
Work began in the UK, with a correction of the coachwork by Grand Prix Metalcraft in North London, while Ted Bailey of Bourne, Lincolnshire, did the mechanical refurbishment.
In 1980 the A6GCS was shipped to San Francisco, and the respected Phil Reilly & Co in Corte Madera, California, was retained to continue the mechanical sorting, including significant attention from marque specialist Ivan Zaremba.
After completion of the work, Colberg began enjoying the car in the way it was engineered to be used, campaigning in vintage events and rallies that included the Monterey Historics and the 1986 Mille Miglia Storica.
During this period the car also featured in an article in the January, 1989 issue of Road & Track.
After a remarkable ownership period of 26 years, Mr Colberg sold the Maserati in 2004 to the consignor, a respected collector of top-shelf postwar Italian sports cars.
Though 2012 remained in very good condition, the new owner opted to oversee a comprehensive restoration that included a freshening of the engine by Leydon Restorations in Pennsylvania.
On the basis of this work the consignor enjoyed the A6GCS in several events, including the 2005 Mille Miglia Storica and the 2006 Fall Festival at Lime Rock.
In 2007 the Maserati was further refined with a rebuild of the engine, gearbox, and steering system by the respected Nino Epifani in Northern California.
More track use soon followed, including participation at the 2010 Tutto Italiano.
In May, 2021 the Monofaro was entrusted to the specialists at Candini Classiche in Modena, Italy, where new purpose-designed pistons were installed, which intentionally lowered the engine compression.
The head was fitted with new valves, guides, and springs, and new megacycle cams were installed.
Chassis number #2012 is accompanied by a trove of documentation that includes copies of factory build documents and correspondence; factory completion photos; technical diagrams; period Maserati literature; prior registrations and bills of sale; service and restoration invoices from Phil Reilly, Leydon, Epifani, and Candini; a 2006 FIVA Card; a driving/racing logbook; and period and restoration photographs.
Sotheby’s expect it to fetch upwards of US $1.25 million.
If your bid is successful, you need to go collect it in Florida, California.