1957 Maserati A6G-54

1957 Maserati A6G-54 1957 Maserati A6G-54 1957 Maserati A6G-54 Spider
Coachwork: Frua
Chassis #: 2191
Engine # 2191
Sold for $3,300,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach.
The Maserati A6G/54 made its debut in 1954 at the Paris Auto Salon. The A6G/54 gran turismo was the final evolution of the A6 series, Maserati's first postwar sports car. The A6G/54 was given a tube-frame chassis and was developed from the highly successful A6GCS sports racing cars. It was given many features from the A6GCS, including its steering, suspension components, and braking. Power was from an all-aluminum twin-cam six-cylinder engine that Gioacchino Colombo had originally developed for competition purposes. Maserati engineer Vittorio Bellentani revisited the original design and added a wet-sump lubrication system, a revised valve train, and chain-driven camshafts.

The Maserati A6G/54 featured three Weber 40 DCO3 carburetors and could be fitted with an optional twin-plug cylinder head. Pietro Frua, Zagato, and Allemano each produced bodies from the A6G/54. The Frua coachwork was available in two body styles including a coupe and a spider. It is believed that just 10 A6G/54s were clothed with Frua Spider coachwork.

This particular example, chassis 2191, was completed in March of 1957 and is the fifth Frua Spider built. The Frua Spider's took design cues from earlier Frua-designed Maserati bodies built for two competition A6GCS chassis, both with a central bonnet stripe finished in a contrasting color to match the upholstery. Continuing this design theme, the Frua-bodied A6G/54 cars were finished in two-tone color schemes and given Frua's signature scripting and brightwork.

When new, this car was finished in Latte Scuro (Dark Milk) with a red central stripe, upholstery, and top. It was given Cibie lights, English-language instruments, an Abarth exhaust system, and Borrani outside-lace wire wheels with Pirelli Supersport tires.

It is believed that this car was delivered new to the United States in the spring of 1957. It may have been retailed through Charles Rezzaghi Motors, the Italian car dealer based in San Francisco, California. The car's first recorded owner was George N. Thompson of Marysville, CA. It remained in Mr. Thompson's care until 1969, when it was traded in to Wheeler Oldsmobile-Cadillac in Yuba City, CA.

An individual in Portland, Oregon advertised the car for sale in the mid-1980s. By this point in history, the car had been resting in storage for over a decade. The bodywork had been refinished in red with a black central stripe. The interior retained the original ivory-colored dashboard and red leather upholstery.

Seeing the advertisement, Mr. Frank Mandarano of Seattle, Washington acquired the car and over the next several years, performed a cosmetic restoration. After the work was completed, it was shown at the 1998 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

In the 1990s, the car entered the Alfredo Brener collection of coachbuilt and one-off Maseratis. While in his care, the car was restored to its original ivory color (with black rather than red stripe and upholstery). In this guise, it was shown at the Keels & Wheels Concours in Seabrook, Texas; Concorso Italiano in Carmel Valley, California; and the 2002 LA Auto Show.

In 2003, Mr. Brener's collection was sold at auction. This car was purchased at that auction by an individual who has kept it for the past 13 years. It has not been publically exhibited since then. In 2016, it was offered for sale by Gooding & Company at their Pebble Beach auction.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2016
Even though the company was not in financial difficulty, the Maserati brothers sold their shares of the company to the Orsi family from Modena in 1937. The headquarters were moved from Bologna to Modena. When they sold the company, the brothers had agreed to stay with Maserati for another ten years performing duties as chief engineers. In 1948, after their ten year agreement was satisfied, they left the company and formed OSCA.

With the chief engineers gone, the company was positioned for failure, but the company did have a strong history and more importantly, they had a newly developed straight six engine, courtesy of the Maserati brothers. The engine produced by Maserati brothers was nothing spectacular; the 1.5-liter power-plant produced 65 horsepower. It was, however, a good starting point and would prove to be very tunable in the years to come. The primary intention for the engine was competition, but Orsi understood that money needed to be made, so that it could be spent. So Orsi commissioned a sports road car that could be produced for exclusive clientele.

In 1947 Maserti introduced the Maserati A6 with custom coachwork by Pinin Farina. Under the hood was the 1.5-liter single overhead camshaft engine matted to a four-speed gearbox. The steel tubular frame was suspended by a live rear axle and a front wishbone suspension. Even though Pinin Farina is noted for their elegant styling, their design of the A6 was not well received. Coupled with the poor performance, the vehicle was not well received.

Modifications were performed on the engine resulting in an increase to 2 liters and 100 horsepower. Three updated versions of the A6 were displayed at the 1951 Paris Motorshow. The Berlina body styles were created by Pinin Farina and were the standard style; the Spider variants were created by Frua; and the Coupe was courtesy of Vignale. With all the mechanical improvements and bodystyle options available, the two-liter A6 was poised for success. With only 16 examples created, the A6 proved it needed more work.

The famous Gioacchino Colombo, known for his work with Ferrari, joined Maserati in 1953. His first task was to modify the A6GCM to include a DOHC valve train, dual-spark ignition, and more. Horsepower rose to nearly 200. The success of Maserati in racing was heightened with the new engine and new drivers such as Fangio, Gonzalez, Marimon, Bonetto and de Graffenried. Fangio had won the 1953 Italian Grand prix driving a Ferrari.

The third iteration of the A6 occurred in 1954, dubbed the A6G/54. This was the same year for the introduction of the Maserati 250F, which, in the hands of the capable Fangio won the Argentine Grand Prix on its debut. The A6G/54 was outfitted with a competitive engine and wonderful styling from Frua and Zagato. Production lasted until 1954 with multiple types of body styles being created. One of the most memorable bodystyles were the 19 lightweight Zagato bodies which could often be seen at race tracks. All of the Zagato hand-formed body styles were unique, even the interior.

The Maseati A6GCS was produced from 1953 through 1955 with a total of 52 examples being constructed. Four where Berlinetta bodies by Pininfarina while 48 were in Spyder configuration and bodied by Fantuzi. The A6GCS were very important to Maserati and scored many victories for the marque. In 1953 the A6GCs won its class at the Mille Miglia in its inaugural debut.

The Maserati A6G/2000 was produced from 1954 through 1957 with around 60 examples being created, many receiving custom bodywork from prestigious coachbuilders such as Zagato, Pinin Farina, Vignale, and others. Serafino Allemano constructed twenty-one examples of the A6G/2000. All of these cars were equipped with the DOHC engines. The A6G/2000 is some times referred to as the A6G/54. These second series cars used many mechanical components from its predecessor, such as its twin parallel tube design. The engine, however, had been modified which resulted in an increase in horsepower.

The A6G/54 was replaced by the 3500 GT. The A6 endured many growing pains but by the final iteration, the A6 variants were respectable and stylish machines. With the mechanical prowess of Colombo and the driving talent of Fangio and others, Maserati could continue to provide competition on the race track. While back at home, the A6 provided the bread-and-butter to continue racing and further development.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007

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