The 1956 Maserati 300 S sports racer that Juan Manual Fangio drove to victory in Portuguese and Brazilian grand prix events has been consigned for sale at Bonhams’ auction scheduled for August 18 at The Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley during Monterey Car Week.
“This is the year of the pedigree race cars,” Bonhams proclaimed in its news release Friday. “Following the recent stream of news of Bonhams’ illustrious competition cars, such as the Jaguar Le Mans, Ferrari F1, Ferrari Tour de France, Lotus Indianapolis, not to mention the incredible Group B Rally Cars, or the McLaren F1 for that matter, another very newsworthy car has been consigned.
“Few mid-century sports-racers hold such appeal as the Maserati 300 S.
“Another legendary racer, Stirling Moss, who won both Buenos Aires and Nürburgring in a 300 S, said, ‘It is one of my favorite… one of the easiest, nicest, best-balanced sports-racing cars ever made’.”
Bonhams notes that to compete with larger-engined sports cars from Ferrari and Jaguar, Maserati expanded its 250 F engine into a 3.0-liter straight-6 that used twin overhead camshafts and a trio of 45mm Weber carburetors to pump out 26 horsepower.
The engine was inserted into a tubular spaceframe chassis with aluminum bodywork.
“Although purpose-built to win races, the car appears predatory yet sensual, a contradictory but somehow complimentary realization,” Bonhams noted.
The car going to auction is chassis No. 3069 with engine No. 3058.
Bonhams said that according to Maserati historian Walter Baumer, the car likely was a factory works racer purchased in 1957 by Armando Zampiero. The car went back to Maserati and was upgraded to the latest specification and then sold to Marcielo Giambertone. Fangio, who drove a 250 F in Formula One for the Maserati factory, went into the cockpit of the sports racer for Giambertone’s Scuderina Madunina team.
In the car’s first documented race, Fangio not only won in Portugal but set fastest lap at the Mansanto circuit.
That fall, Giambertone sent the car to Brazil, where the South American driver won both at Sao Paolo and Interlagos.
At some point, Bonhams notes, it is believed that the original engine from chassis 3069 was moved into another Giambertone-owned 300 S, No. 3062, where it still resides. While in South America, Giambertone sold the 3069 car, which remained on that continent and was owned by a series of wealthy racers, who kept it on the track into the 1970s. The car was rebodied several times.
Historian and restorer Colin Crabbe acquired the car in the summer of 1978 (for $13,700), and had it restored. The car then went through several more owners, including Michel Seydoux and Lord Laidlaw. The consignor acquired the car in 1998, has raced it in vintage events, and had it restored at DL George & Son in Pennsylvania, with the engine rebuilt by Paul Lanzante in England.
The car goes to auction with a pre-sale estimated value of $6 million to $7 million.