1957 Maserati 200SiCoachwork by Fantuzzi
“It’s easy to understand that comment about a 200Si making a bad driver look cool, especially compared with a crash-box Mondial. There is virtually no temperament here, none of that feeling of ‘race car on the street’, no hair shirt to counterbalance your guilt driving pleasure, and those qualities carry through to the track….the [Maserati 200Si and 250S are] as user-friendly and comfortable as your favourite old fedora.” Octane magazine, May 2011.
Approximately 32 examples of the Maserati 200S and its evolutionary variant, the 200Si, were built for the factory’s works team and gentlemen drivers competing in the 2 litre class of late 1950s European and American sports-car racing. It was one of Maserati’s most successful models, combining user friendly handling, a lusty yet reliable powerplant and svelte bodywork which somehow just looked ‘right’. It’s a car which is sought-after by collectors today for all the same reasons: beauty, rarity and eligibility come together to make it a classic road-racer which will flatter any driver.
The build sheets for this car survive in Maserati’s archive and reveal that chassis ‘2422’ was completed on 31st March 1957, noting that it received standard Fantuzzi two-door coachwork with a full width ‘screen and soft top, windscreen wiper, Cibie headlights, Jaeger instruments and red paintwork. The gearbox was a five-speed unit as used in the Grand Prix 250F. Sold new to well-known team owner Franco Cornacchia in Milan and subsequently fielded in Italian national events, chassis ‘2422’ was then acquired by Carroll Shelby Sports Cars and exported to the USA. It continued its competition career Stateside, where by the early 1980s it was enjoying a peaceful retirement in an East Coast collection. Here it was tracked down, together with a sister 200Si, by Belgian collector and historic racer Edmond Pery who repatriated the car to Europe and, for the next 15-odd years, maintained and campaigned it on the continent. During Pery’s tenure the engine block was swapped with that from his other 200Si, but otherwise little was altered except than to paint the car white with a blue stripe in honour of its American history.
In 2000, as part of a major acquisition spree, an Italian collector bought ‘2422’ from Pery via an Italian dealer and for the next decade it saw very little use. Apart from a rare appearance on the historic Mille Miglia in 2001, the car was otherwise hidden away and tended to by a team of full-time mechanics until acquired privately via Kidston SA in mid-2010.
Maserati historian Adolfo Orsi was retained to inspect ‘2422’ and advise on areas for improvement. Renowned restorer Corrado Patella was entrusted with a mechanical rebuild, to include the engine, gearbox, suspension and brakes. A factory cylinder head was tracked down and fitted to replace the modern item Pery had used for racing. New springs and shocks were fitted. Various small improvements and ‘fixes’ were made to make the car suitable for road and track events including the Mille Miglia. Finally the car was UK registered and certified by FIVA. Invoices for the work by Patella show expenditure of €126,000, whilst the dyno test sheet shows 218bhp
This is a handsome example of a thoroughbred sports car much sought-after by enthusiasts, collectors and event organizers alike and one whose value is likely to grow. It represents excellent value compared to contemporary Ferrari sports-racers, to which it owes nothing in terms of engineering, beauty or performance: we recommend it highly.
View the test drive online at www.kidston.com