Sold for $3,345,197 (£2,128,000) at 2013 RM Sothebys
The three Maserati brothers loved building fast cars in the early years of the 20th century, including 2-litre Grand Prix entries for Diatto. When Diatto stopped producing race cars in 1926, the brothers founded their own marque. Alfieri Maserati won the 1926 Targa Florio in one of their early efforts. They soon started building race cars with four, six, eight, and even sixteen cylinders. The Maserati trident logo is based on the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna, an apt symbol inasmuch as Neptune represents strength and vigor.
In 1937, the brothers sold out to the Adolfo Orsi family who relocated the company to their home town of Modena. Racing success continued, including Indy 500 wins and a 1957 Juan-Manuel Fangio world championship. But, after the gruesome 1957 Mille Miglia tragedy, Maserati ended factory racing and focused on road cars.
Some of the most revered Maserati thoroughbreds to emerge from their storied stable were fiercely competitive four-cylinder sports racers during the 1950s.
Of the four Maserati 250S eventually built, only two cars started their life as real 4-cylinder 2.5-liter 250Ss (2431 and 2432); the other two cars were modified 200Ss. Both 2431 and 2432 were ordered by Carroll Shelby. These are considered to be the ultimate 2.5-liter racing Maseratis. Based on a modified 200S chassis, they were very similar in appearance. Shelby and Jim Hall campaigned both 250S cars during the 1958 season's early events. Hall won third overall and a second in class at the SCCA Regional at Mansfield, Louisiana, on March 9; he also finished sixth overall at the Galveston event on April 20 and took the checkered flag at Eagle Mountain, Texas, on June 8. As both 2431 and 2432 attended these races, it is not entirely clear which of the two cars enjoyed these results, although it is likely that this car, 2432, was responsible for some of these racing triumphs.
The twin cam, dry-sump four-cylinder produces 235 horsepower. It also boasts a five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs, deDion rear axle with transverse leaf spring, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, and steel tube frame.
Sold for $1,822,541 (€1,350,000) at 2009 RM Sothebys
After the first 200S models arrived in the United States some owners wanted more power, prompting Maserati to develop a larger 2.5-liter engine. The 2.5-liter prototype was the 200S chassis 2409 tested at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The car's impressive performance prompted some customers to request an upgrade but the factory itself converted only one more 200S to 2.5-liter specification (2411).
This car (chassis umber 2431) was completed on December 31st of 1957, as the first proper factory 250S built, and was delivered to the Texas dealership of Hall & Shelby, as in sports racing driver Carroll Shelby and Dick Hall, brother of the future Chaparral founder, Jim Hall. This car was immediately transported to its first race at Eagle Mountain that January, where Shelby drove but was unable to finish. In March, at Mansfield, Hall arrived with 2431 and its sister car, 2432, both of which were on the grid for the two days of racing.
After the Maserati 200S models first arrived on American shores, some owners immediately complained about its lack of power. As the United States market was very important for Maserati and provided much needed cash flow to the company's costly international racing efforts, the company responded by increasing the engine capacity to 2.5 liters. The first example was the 200S chassis number 2409, fitted with the 2.5-liter engine and tested by the factory in events like the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1000 Kms of Buenos Aires. The car's impressive performance prompted some customers to request an upgrade in specification on their own cars but the factory itself converted only one more 200S to 2.5-liter specifications - chassis 2411.
The 2.5-liter engine offered just 6 additional horsepower but it offered considerably more low-end torque.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2014