Sold for $4,620,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours.
How does one introduce a legend? Easy, have another legend do it.
The scene would turn truly electric. Such excitement usually transpires as the spirited bidding rose ever-upward. But not this day, not this time. A legend was introducing a legend. As if any Maserati 250F needed any introduction, this one especially needed no such preface. But what would make presenting the 1956 Italian Grand Prix winner even more memorable? Why not have the man that piloted it take care of the honors. And so, Sir Stirling Moss, the legendary racer and pilot of chassis 2525, would be on hand to recognize his former mount. It would be a rousing moment, an emotional moment whereby a grateful man doffed his cap to what he himself considered his first 'proper' Formula One car.
It would be a race of attrition, of cunning strategy, sportsmanship and of one memorable 'push'. The 1956 Italian Grand Prix would see Stirling Moss behind the wheel of a Maserati 250F chasing down Luigi Musso and Eugenio Castellotti in their Lancia-Ferrari D50s. The pace of the Italians was fierce and seemed beyond the reach of many, including the great Juan Manuel Fangio.
It was the short era of the full Monza circuit where the 3.91 mile road course intertwined with the steeply-banked oval to make for one of the fastest, and bumpiest, circuits in all the world. The pace would quickly take its toll. Musso and Castellotti would destroy their tires, so too would all the rest of the Lancia-Ferraris. Moss, on the other hand, would be out front and looking absolutely unbeatable on a day when everybody seemed vulnerable.
But while the spectators and the journalists would taken by Peter Collins' gentlemanly nature giving Fangio a shot at another World Championship, the would be Luigi Piotti following along very closely behind Moss in his 250F. It just couldn't be…Piotti pushing Moss? It was just five laps from the checkered flag and it seemed Luigi was faster than Moss. But it would quickly become apparent that Piotti was 'pushing' Moss. The Maserati had run out of fuel. The lead was lost as fuel was poured into the car. Musso was in the lead and too far to be caught.
Moss, however, was not to be denied. After having led close to 40 laps of the race, providence was not going to allow victory to be snatched away and given to another. Just three laps from the end, Musso's Lancia would go over just one too many bumps. The steering arm would suffer a breakdown handing the lead back to Moss.
Moss and 2525 would cruise to victory. Musso's failure late ensured Moss would carry the day by a little more than five seconds over Fangio in Collins' Ferrari. The World Championship would go to Fangio yet again, but Moss would steal the hearts of many an Italian that day.
There are many cars that would have success in their first outing. To achieve such success, especially in the 1950s, would not be so easy. Chassis 2525 would have the distinction of winning in its very first, and only, outing.
The 250F would actually make its debut in 1954. However, over the succeeding years the car would continue to evolve. And, in September of 1956, the Maserati factory would have yet another evolution in which to try.
Like nearly every other car of the 1950s Formula One racing scene, the 250F would have the engine at the front but would be rear-wheel drive. This meant the prop shaft passed from the front to the rear of the car, usually between the driver's legs. Chassis 2525 would be different. Developed just in time for the Italian Grand Prix, chassis 2525 would feature a canted six-cylinder engine. This enabled the prop shaft to pass along the side of the cockpit enabling the driver to be positioned lower in the car. In addition to a newly-designed fuel tank and reduced frontal area, chassis 2525 would represent the latest 250F. It had spawned from a poor showing at Reims in the French Grand Prix and would prove victorious taking the win in its first, and only, outing.
Following the victory on the Monza banking, chassis 2525 would be sold to Tony Parravano in the United States. After years in the United States, the iconic Maserati would make its way back across the Atlantic, but to England.
Chassis 2525 would continue to change hands, including a period of time as part of Sir Anthony Bamford's collection. After a period of time in the UK, chassis 2525 would return to the United States where it would continue to change hands as everyone would be eager to get their hands on a real piece of Formula One history.
Being a remarkable piece of Formula One history, chassis 2525 would draw a great deal of interest when it rolled up at the 2014 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction. It would be fitting, therefore, this icon of Maserati motor racing heritage would command a final sale price of $4,620,000. It would be a fitting tribute for a Formula One legend.By Jeremy McMullen