In the fifties, Maserati launched a sports car derived from the world of racing, with elegant design and perfect proportions: the Maserati A6 GCS/53 Berlinetta. The story of the Berlinetta is a very unusual one; the car was styled by Pininfarina, winning the Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta the undisputed status of one of the most beautiful cars of all time. A sleek but sporty design, a distinctively Maserati front, a large oval radiator grille with the Trident logo in the middle and genuine racing-car performance. Only four were built, and collectors continue to fight hard to own one, in spite of the incredibly high prices they command.
PININFARINA AND THE BIRTH OF THE BERLINETTA
In 1953 Pininfarina was about to sign an agreement with Ferrari that would make him the company's main coachwork builder. However, Maserati suggested that he should create a new road sports car by building bodies for a few of its A6GCS/53 racing chassis. To avoid offending Enzo Ferrari, a clever scheme was found to prevent Pininfarina from having any official contacts with Maserati. Under this stratagem, the Maserati A6GCS/53 chassis were sold to Guglielmo Dei, who then commissioned Pininfarina to create their coachwork.
RACING ENGINEERING AND PININFARINA STYLE
The engineering on which the Maserati A6GCS Berlinetta is based is that of a real racing car, since Maserati sent Pininfarina (in Grugliasco) the chassis complete with all mechanical parts, ready for the addition of the coachwork. This meant that the cars had racing specifications with coachwork created starting from a blank sheet of paper. The result was a stylistically perfect car, with distinctive details and a sporty look, but also a timeless elegance and a unique, highly individual style. Ladder chassis with wheelbase of 2,301 millimetres, straight six naturally aspirated engine of 1,985.6 cubic centimetres delivering 170 horsepower, and extremely lightweight construction, since in its racing version the A6GCS/53 weighed just 740 kilograms and had a top speed of 235 kilometres/hour.
THE BERLINETTA: ALL DUE TO THE RAIN
Often, the development of models from the past involves curious facts that very few car enthusiasts know. For example, Pininfarina styled the Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta with the aim of solving one simple problem: the rain. The 1953 edition of the Mille Miglia was marred by heavy rain and thunderstorms, at a time when most of the cars in the race were open-topped. So Maserati created a real racing car (the Berlinetta had the same basic mechanics as the Maserati A6 CS racing model) but clad it in a hardtop body, to meet customers’ demands for greater protection from bad weather.
Pinin Farina completed the first example #2056 late in 1953, and a second #2057 quickly followed. Fitted with a lower roof and twin-piece front windshield, it was displayed at the Turin Motor Show, no doubt making quite an impression. With dark blue coachwork and a light blue roof, this Berlinetta won the “Concorso Internazionale di Eleganza” in Rome. In spite of its beauty, the car was intended for the world of racing, in which hardtops were starting to lose their appeal. Therefore, the first Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta was dismantled and transformed into a spyder by Fiandri for the Centro-Sud Team, actually owned by Guglielmo Dei, and its chassis number was changed to #2086. Subsequently two more chassis, the #2059 and #2060, were completed with Berlinetta coachwork by Pininfarina. The former, with red paintwork with a white central band, was put on display at the 1954 Paris Motor Show. The latter had a similar colour scheme but with a blue central band.
Circumspect in their creation, the four A6GCS/53 Pinin Farina Berlinettas certainly also had a colourful life. Two of the four had their spectacular bodies removed very early on for a variety of reasons. It is believed that both these bodies did survive and were later fitted to different A6GCS/53 chassis. In more recent years efforts to reunite the bodies with their original chassis have failed and for at least one car a new body was constructed in the style of the Pinin Farina Berlinettas. To complicate things even further, during this process two more replica bodies were constructed.
Chassis 2056 Completed in December of 1953, this was the first of four A6GCS/53 Pinin Farina Berlinettas built. It was sold to Count Paolo Gravina di Catania, who entered it in the Giro di Sicilia. He crashed the car heavily, unfortunately killing the co-driver. Grief-stricken, the Count returned the damaged car to Maserati. Clearly no priority, chassis 2056 sat in a corner of the factory for several decades before it was finally restored with a new nose in the early 1990s. When the entire factory collection was offered for auction in 1997, it was acquired with all other cars by Umberto Panini before the sale to preserve the collection. Since 1998, it has been on display in a purpose-built museum.
Displayed at the 1954 Turin Motor Show, chassis 2057 was the second A6GCS/53 Pinin Farina Berlinetta built. Finished in an unusual two-tone blue, it was soon after raced in the Mille Miglia by new owner Pietro Palmieri. Due to excessive heat and noise inside the tight cockpit, Palmieri had the Pinin Farina body removed and replaced by a Fantuzzi spyder. Following this work, the car was renumbered 2086 and it has survived in its second guise. The original body passed to Corrado Cupellini and later to Franco Lombardi, who eventually mated it to another A6GCS/53 chassis.
- Originally Red with White Stripe
Presumably the 1954 Paris Show Car, chassis 2059 was sold to Count Alberto Magi Dilligenti. He replaced the original red with a white stripe livery, with an all-white finish before fielding it in the 1955 Mille Miglia where he finished 105th. Repainted red, it eventually ended up in the United States where it was discovered by Stan Nowak. The most original of all Pinin Farina Berlinettas, chassis 2059 was displayed at Pebble Beach in 1999 and 2000 by David Sydorick, in unrestored and fully restored condition respectively.
- Originally Red with Light Blue Stripe
Chassis 2060 The fourth and final A6GCS/53 Pinin Farina Berlinetta built, this car was sold new to Scuderia Centro Sud. For reasons unknown, the bodywork was removed and was replaced by a Fiandri Barchetta body. In this guise, it was used by Centro Sud for the team's racing school. In 1970, it was acquired by Count Hubertus von Doenhoff. By that time, the Pinin Farina body had long been sold and fitted to another A6GCS/53 chassis. In vain, Count von Doenhoff tried for many years to acquire another Pinin Farina body, originally fitted to chassis 2057. Eventually he had a completely new body built in England by Church Green Engineering. Painted silver, it was offered by Bonhams in their 2002 London sale with a GBP 550,000 - 700,000 estimate but offers failed to meet the reserve.
Chassis 2070 Originally fitted with a Fantuzzi Spyder body, this A6GCS/53 was acquired new by Anna Maria Peduzzi. No contemporary competition history of this chassis is known. It was eventually acquired by Franco Lombardi, who at that time also owned the original Pinin Farina Berlinetta body from chassis 2057. It was this body that Count Hubertus von Doenhoff tried to acquire for many years for his chassis 2060. In 1997, Lombardi commissioned Giardanego from Italy to rebuild chassis 2070 with the striking low-roof Pinin Farina body from 2057. Finished in the original two-tone blue livery, it was shown at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed where it won Best of Show in the Cartier Style & Luxe concours d'elegance.
Chassis 2089 Acquired new by Francesco Giardini in 1955, this A6GCS/53 was fitted with a 'standard' barchetta body like most of its sister cars. He raced the car with considerable success, winning his class at the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio in 1955. He eventually crashed the car and decided to rebuilt the car with the Pinin Farina Berlinetta body from chassis 2060, which he had acquired from Scuderia Centro Sud. Following a brief spell in the United States, it was shown for many years in the fabulous Rosso Bianco Museum near Frankfurt. The current owner acquired the Pinin Farina Berlinetta around the turn of the century and brought it to the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where Pininfarina's 75th anniversary was celebrated.
Дорожные гонки были чрезвычайно популярны в Италии 1950-х годов. Многие из итальянских автопроизводителей выпускали специально подготовленные спортивные автомобили для того, чтобы их богатые клиенты могли участвовать в ежегодной гонке Mille Miglia. В основном это были родстеры, но после того, как гонку 1952 года накрыл проливной дождь, спрос на закрытые гоночные автомобили многократно вырос.
К сезону 1954 года Мазерати выпустил обновленную версию своего 2-литрового спортивного автомобиля А6. Используемый ранее двигатель был заменен новым. Короткоходный рядный 6-циллиндровый мотор получил по две свечи на циллиндр и развивал 170 лошадиных сил при 7300 оборотах в минуту. Шасси использовалось от предыдущей модели А6 GCS. Кузовная фабрика Fantuzzi подготовила для автомобиля открытый кузов — родстер.
Однако многие потенциальные клиенты выражали желание иметь A6 GCS/53 в закрытом кузове berlinetta (двухместное купе) от Pinin Farina. А с этим были сложности, так как Пининфарина в это время выпускала кузова для Энцо Феррари, и подписанный контракт ограничивал ее возможности сотрудничества с Мазерати. Благодаря посредничеству римского дилера этот вопрос частично удалось решить и четыре шасси получили кузова, спроектированные и построенные Пининфарина.
В 1954 году автомобиль был выставлен на Туринском автосалоне на стенде Pinin Farina. В июне того же года другой автомобиль Maserati A6 GCS/53 Pinin Farina Berlinetta взял главный приз на Международном конкурсе элегантности в Риме.
Эти четыре автомобиля долгие годы были последними из Maserati, на которых стояли кузова, построенные Пининфариной. И до настоящего времени Maserati A6 GCS/53 Pinin Farina Berlinetta остается одним из самых красивых автомобилей Гран Туризмо и, возможно, самым красивым автомобилем Мазерати.
По материалам: www.maserati100.com; Wouter Melissen - www.ultimatecarpage.com; www.carpedia.ru