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Chassis No.
2109
Engine No.
2109
  • Course car for the 1955 opening of the Monza circuit by Italian president Giovanni Gronchi
  • The subject of a recent superlative, €283,000 Italian restoration including all mechanical work by marque specialist Giuseppe Candini
  • A powerful open Maserati for events and driving pleasure
  • UK registered ‘55 SPY’
 
One of two dry-sump cars, the sole surviving matching numbers

1955 Maserati A6 GCS

Coachwork by Frua

We can think of few ‘racing cars for the road’ with as much voluptuous style and aggression as this granturismo clothed by Pietro Frua for Rome Maserati distributor Guglielmo ‘Mimmo’ Dei,  who realised the powerful Maserati A6GCS barchetta would make a superb base for an exclusive spyder for the high-rollers of the  Italian Riviera.

Only three were built: one with a regular engine and two with potent, dry-sump motors of which only chassis 2109 retains its engine today.

Italian Coachbuilding At Its Finest

When ex-Alfa Romeo and Ferrari engineer Gioachino Colombo joined Maserati in October 1952, having updated the Trident’s F2 car for 1953 he set his mind to creating a new 2.0-litre sports-racing car using the same motor – three carburettors, dry sump, alloy block, twin plugs, twin cams – this time running on regular petrol rather than methanol. The chassis was a revised version of the existing car.

The result was the ‘A6GCS Twin-Cam’ or ‘Maserati Sports 2000’, a highly effective weapon in the two-litre class that even Ferrari couldn’t match. Some 50 barchettas were produced from 1953 to 1955 and it was an outstanding car, fine-handling with a lot of punch thanks to its crackling 170bhp, 1,985cc ’six.

A companion road car ensued – the detuned A6G/54 – but official Maserati dealer Guglielmo ‘Mimmo’ Dei saw the appeal of barely legal road cars based on the exciting racing car’s running gear. The Roman commissioned Pinin Farina to craft an exquisite berlinetta, three or four of which were sold, and Carrozzeria Frua to design and produce an exotic Spyder. Delighted with Pietro Frua’s masterpiece, Dei bought two more A6GCS/53 chassis (‘2109’ and ‘2110’) in January 1955. The voluptuous spyders were completed later that year, Italian coachbuilding at its finest, with endless, beautifully crafted details; everything needed to encourage clients to shun arch-rival Ferrari’s less-advanced range and own arguably one of the fastest, most expensive roadsters money could buy.

By chance, as the cars were ready for delivery  Dei hit financial troubles. Forced to close his dealership, he relocated to Modena to found Scuderia Centro Sud. His legacy as a Maserati dealer was the delicious run of low-production Spyders and Berlinettas based on Maserati’s  potent A6GCS.

This Motor Car

Research by renowned marque authority Adolfo Orsi has revealed that the two A6GCS chassis were shipped by Maserati on 5 July 1955 and on 7 July an invoice was raised for “two chassis, no. 2109 and 2110, complete with five wheels and tyres, priced at Lire 300,000 each”. On 30 August a build sheet was raised for a “Cabriolet Frua, painted red with central stripe in ivory, Jaeger instruments, Cibié lighting, Abarth exhaust. 1st car with A6GCS chassis and A6G 2000 engine”.

According to Orsi’s research, the motor was stated as having a “coppa olio a secco dell’A6GCS/53 e il blocco motore dell’A6G/54”. It was a dry-sump, effectively ‘hybrid’ version of Maserati’s powerful racing straight six.

The spyder was finished in time for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza where, on 11 September 1955, it served as a course car for newly elected President of the Italian Republic Giovanni Gronchi to open the track. Later that year, from 22 to 23 October, chassis 2109 was presented at the 8th Concorso di Eleganza per Autovetture e Autopullman held on the Pincio terrace in Rome. The car was driven by Maserati Grand Prix star Maria Teresa de Filippis.

A bill of sale dated 2 May 1958 between Dei – clearly still in business – and 21-year-old Vittorio Costantini of Macerata shows that at least by then the car was in private hands. Costatini could well be the young blade photographed with it in colour in Naples in 1958. Like so many exotic European sports cars of the time, it later found its way to the US.

A bill of sale dated 2 May 1958 between Dei – clearly still in business – and 21-year-old Vittorio Costantini of Macerata shows that at least by then the car was in private hands. Costatini could well be the young blade photographed with it in colour in Naples in 1958. Like so many exotic European sports cars of the time, it later found  its way to the US.

By the early 1980s, ‘2109’ had passed into the collection of Thomas Mittler of Three Rivers, Michigan. Tom Mittler was a renowned enthusiast, who at one point or another had owned just about all the ‘greats’: Ferrari 250 GT California Spider LWB and SWB; 250 GT SWB; 375 America; 400 Superamerica. He also had a 40-boat collection, including one with a marinised Maserati 450 S engine. Mittler commissioned a full restoration of the car and showed it at Pebble Beach in 1992 where it won 1st in class.

On Mittler’s passing in 2010, the car remained in his estate until, with our assistance, our European client tracked down and purchased ‘2109’ – importantly still fitted with its original engine – and entrusted it to the craftsmen of Modena to work their magic.

The restoration took some three years and totalled €283,000. Overseen by Kidston SA  and Cremonini Classic, the artisans restored, where possible, only replacing when absolutely necessary, all tasks carried out the ‘Italian way’ as they were six decades ago. All mechanical work was completed by ex-factory man Giuseppe Candini, and the car is effectively now ‘as delivered’.

Last shown at Pebble Beach in 1992, and not openly offered in 30 years, this is a unique and historically significant Italian jewel.

 
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