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RM Auctions has some very special and expensive Italian sportscars of the 50s and 60s consigned for its auction in Monaco on May 10, but the one that currently carries the highest estimated value at between 4 and 5.5 million euros ($5.5 - $7.5 million) is a 1956 Maserati 450S with some very interesting provenance.
The Maserati started its life as a six-cylinder 350S that Stirling Moss drove in the 1956 Mille Miglia race. Unfortunately, the brakes failed, and it crashed into a tree and nearly into a ravine. Moss and his co-driver weren't injured, but the car was kaputt.
Maserati repaired it and used the chassis as a test mule for its new 5.7-liter V8 racecar called the 450S. It featured an extended wheelbase to fit the larger engine and a new body with a single seat. The racer hit the track again at the hands of Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000 KM but retired with transmission issues. Later that season, it crashed again at the 1957 Mille Miglia at the hands of driver Jean Behra. After that, the car sat around the workshop until it was sold without an engine in 1965.
After kicking around several owners, the 450S received a restoration in the 80s with a correct V8 engine being installed, and it made its grand reemergence in the 1987 Mille Miglia. According to RM, it has mostly sat on display in a climate-controlled environment since then.
The 450S is a rarity, with Maserati only building 11 of them, counting the prototype. While the test car proved temperamental on the track, the other cars won at Sebring and the Swedish Grand Prix in 1957. Scroll down to read the full history of the car, and be sure to check out the gallery for some great photos.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Sometimes, little pieces of automotive history pop up, that are so rare and eccentric, that they're hard to pass up. This is one of those times. The car shown above is a 1970 IKA Torino 380S, which has had a very special owner. It'll be crossing the block at the Silverstone Auctions NEC Classic Motor Show Sale on November 15 and 16 in Birmingham, UK.
The Torino was a combination of an AMC Rambler American and Classic, built by an Argentine company born out of a joint venture between Argentina's government and America's Kaiser Motors. Sporting a 215-horsepower, 3.8-liter six-cylinder from Jeep under its hood, the rare Torino 380S was limited to under 1,600 units. The luxury minded car had plenty of fans, none more respected than the owner of the car shown above - Juan Manuel Fangio.
Fangio was the original king of Formula One, having won five world championships before Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher were even born, and in an era that would have made the events of Ron Howard's Rush seem as safe as crossing the street. His nickname was El Maestro - The Master - and with good reason. Fangio also had a hand in readying the Torino for sale to the Argentine public, and according to Top Gear, that's how the F1 ace acquired the silver sedan shown here.
It's believed that this was El Maestro's daily driver, although what periods it was used in that capacity are unknown. What we do know is that this not a meticulously restored vehicle, as can be seen in the gallery - it has its fair share of imperfections and issues, earning it a solid buyer-beware rating in our highly unofficial guide to auto auction perusal.
Still, it's provenance is tough to match for a production car. It also comes sporting Fangio's international driver's license, appropriate insurance documents and a look and disposition that we think is absolutely charming. As we said above, it will be up for auction, without reserve, in Birmingham, UK on November 15 and 16. Current projections have it going for 25,000 pounds, or just under $40,000. For a more detailed rundown of Fangio's 380S, hop over to the Silverstone Auctions's website.Permalink | Email this | Comments