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Lot 127: Maserati A6G-2000 Coupe

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (15 September 2012)

This early, rare and most attractive Maserati A6G-2000 Berlinetta with coachwork by Carrozzeria Allemano combines in one harmonious blend its beautiful yet purposeful body with the well-balanced A6G-2000 chassis and 2-litre 6-cylinder twin-overhead camshaft engine. This elegant haute couture bodywork is worn by a typically Maserati race-bred chassis frame, and powered by the Modenese company's much-admired 2-litre 6-cylinder twin-overhead camshaft engine,in this case featuring twin-plug ignition and breathing through three single-choke Weber carburettors which in contrast to a twin-choke Weber set-up provides usefully enhanced torque at lower revs. Through the latter part of 1953 Maserati's design engineers Gioachino Colombo and Giorgio Bellentani developed not only the sports-racing A6GCS models and the Formula 2 World Championship-contesting A6GCM/53 single-seaters, but also worked hard upon a more mildly-tuned 6-cylinder design for production car sale. This made its debut in March 1954 at the Geneva Salon in Switzerland. Probably through his association with the great Vittorio Jano when working as a designer at Alfa Romeo, Gioachino Colombo dispensed with the finger-actuated valve gear of early power units to adopt a screw-in type tappet arrangement with chain-driven twin overhead camshafts for the definitive new production model. The dry-sump lubrication of the purebred racing designs was replaced by a wet-sump system, and an engine developed which would produce a reliable 140bhp-plus for the road. The pure competition counterpart would produce up to 170bhp, with equally effective reliability but a rather shorter time interval required between services and rebuilds. The original Geneva show car was designated the Maserati A6G-2000 or A6G/54 G.T. and it was displayed as a spacious all-aluminium two-door Coupe, styled and bodied by Pietro Frua. When road tested by Hans Tanner for the British magazine 'Motor Racing', the A6G-2000 was praised for its "instantaneous acceleration, faultless roadholding and excellent handling...". The Maserati factory contracted Carrozzeria Frua to produce bodies styled in both Coupe and convertible Spider form, which were offered with notable individual variation in their grille treatments. The rival Carrozzeria Zagato also bodied a number of these cars while Carrozzeria Allemano was also successful in bidding for some of the work. This particular example from the Hartley Collection has the Allemano coachwork. Serafino Allemano founded his coachbuilding company in Turin as early as 1927 under the name Allemano & Trico, Carrozzeria per Automobili. From 1929 it became simply 'Allemano' and Serafino ran the company dynamically until 1965, latterly in conjunction with his nephew Mario Allemano. The company's styling work appeared especially postwar on a broad range of Fiat, Lancia, Renault, Panhard, Ferrari, Maserati and even ATS cars. Allemano would also become one of the first Italian styling houses to work for Japanese motor manufacturers, producing two prototypes for Fuji industries as early as the late 1950s. As was standard practice in period, Maserati completed the running chassis of these cars, which were then transported to the coachbuilder of choice. The American 'Motor Trend' magazine commented of the A6G-2000 that its purchase price "Seems like a lot of money to pay for the sake of getting people to stare and ask 'What is that?'. Yet you have something that's as different from the ordinary car as this magazine is from a television soap opera. You have a car in the tradition of the brute sports car but with the blessing of one of the most beautiful bodies ever fitted to any chassis. On top of this it's put together as a piece of quality merchandise should be, it handles superbly, has incomparable vision and gives you a feeling of absolute security on the open road...". Where the American consumer magazine's tolerance became stretched in period, modern classic car enthusiasm probably starts, as the writer continued "Unless you love mechanical sounds you may not take a liking to the Maserati" for the crisp 6-cylinder song of that twin-cam engine is well known and has been remarked upon for decades. These power units were 'over-square' dimensionally, combining a bore diameter of 76.5mm with the short stroke length of 72mm, and it has been rightly said that "A 1955 purchaser got a little jewel of a power plant for his money...". Variants of the A6G-2000 became the most expensive Maserati production 2-litre at a contemporary $10,450, and Allemano completed its first such Maserati for the American market in January 1956. Its third Allemano Coupe on the A6G-2000 chassis went to the celebrated Swiss racing personality Baron Emmanuel 'Toulo' de Graffenried that March. This particular car now offered here chassis '2126' was the tenth of these cars to be bodied by Allemano in their attractive Coupe style. It was finished originally in grey paintwork and was delivered on May 28, 1956, to Ciancarelli in Rome. The car subsequently found its way into this country, being first UK-registered as '16 ARY' to Danilo Govoni of Leicester in January 1961. Its old-style logbook records its colour at that time as having been blue. Its first UK ownership change was then to the Essex Refrigeration Co Ltd in Romford, Trend Interiors of Richmond, and then to Mr David Victor Shaw of Chinnor, Oxfordshire until 1972. The car was then owned by Maserati enthusiast Mr Ken Painter for some time before he sold it to Mr Hartley who first registered it in his name in March, 1988. Mr Painter recalled: "This was one of two A6Gs I bought, the second was a Zagato-bodied version that I eventually sold to the Rosso Bianco Collection in Germany. I believe one was bought to act as a 'spares' car for the other. Both were slightly the worse for wear when I bought them...". Mr Painter wrote about the cars in the Maserati Clubs 'Trident' magazine and pointed out that the A6G-2000 had been long under-rated. In comparison to the Aston Martin DB2/4 with its larger engine and less attractive styling, the Maserati was actually faster, while Jaguar achieved the same top speed as the A6G-2000, but only with an engine of nearly double the capacity. This most attractive Maserati Coupe is today described as being highly original, apart from having been converted from left-hand drive to right-hand drive, which " not a big job to do, and which can be easily reversed since the original steering components are still with the car". It is offered here in running order, while the vendor recommends for a new owner that since it has not been used lately, brake inspection would be prudent before it is driven in earnest. This is, indeed, a mouth-watering classic Italian 6-cylinder Coupe from the truly illustrious Maserati marque, a road-useable potential Concours car with some real competition breeding and muscle, and it is an ideal proposition for the confirmed or budding connoisseur alike... To sum up his Maseratis, Anthony Hartley says: "Maserati built racing cars to sell racing cars. Alfa built racing cars to sell sports cars. Maseratis are more fun! Ferrari? We won't go there..."

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood
Lot Number127
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£210000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£236700
Condition rating
Registration number809 YVN
Chassis number2126
Engine number2126
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2