Few Historic and Vintage racing cars are
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Few Historic and Vintage racing cars are more evocative than Europe's pioneering single-seater Monoposto designs of the early1930s, and few racing car manufacturers have a more charismatic image than that of Il Tridente - Maserati. A number of historic and significant 'one-off' Maseratis have been built during the marque's long career, and Bonhams & Butterfields is immensely proud to be able to offer here this unique 2-litre 4-cylinder '2011' here as one of the first such products of the celebrated Maserati brothers from Voghera. In addition to being the only 2-litre of its type built by the brothers' then Bologna-based factory, this one-off works team Maserati Monoposto actually finished 3rd driven by the legendary, opera-singing Giuseppe Campari in the 1933 Coppa Ciano public road and street race around the demanding Montenero circuit at Livorno ('Leghorn') on the western coast of Italy. Such a result in a contemporary Grand Prix Formula race using such a small-engined car was a tremendous testament to the new design's combination of mid-range torque and low overall weight, as well as to the burly Campari's driving talents. One report of that event records how, completing the opening lap at Montenero the race order was "Nuvolari, Borzacchini, Battaglia, Campariafter lap 4: Borzacchini stopped at his pits to hand over his car to Tadini, who retired after doing only one lap which left Camparifor ' quite some time' in second place with a Maserati 2000 Monoposto, but near the end because of a one-minute stop at his pits he was passed by Brivio (Alfa) and fell back to third placeCampari and Brivio dueled for second place but Brivio maintained the position". There are references to this car also being taken to the Nice Grand Prix on the French Riviera for Campari, but he seems to have preferred his 3-litre 8-cylinder model there, finishing 8th. His 2-litre works team Maserati '2011' offered here was later campaigned by the well-known and hugely popular Italian motor sporting personality Count Giovanni 'Johnny' Lurani Cernuschi in Europe's highest-altitude mountain climb - the Passo del Stelvio event - before sale to private owner/driver Ippolito Berrone. This unique torque-rich 2-litre has great potential for modern stop-go 'Historic' race circuits - and it is offered with a wonderful provenance since it starred for many years in the Monza motor museum at the historic Milanese race circuit in the Royal Park - spiritual home of European-style Grand Prix racing - before becoming a prized exhibit in Britain's famed National Motor Museum, at Beaulieu from June 1972. Maserati authority Richard Crump recalls the car well at the Monza auction: "It looked as though it had just come from the race tracks of pre-war times, and had lovely little shaped pieces of wood to fair-in the front axle, in an early appreciation of aerodynamics". Some of its enduring originality became obscured during its time on busy public display at Beaulieu before it was again offered for sale in October 1983 at Earl's Court, London, whereupon it passed into its present ownership, and was painstakingly restored to running order during 1984 by David Cottingham's specialist DK Engineering company in the UK. Alfieri Maserati had founded his company's family of small-capacity 4-cylinder engined sports and racing models late in 1931, initially as an 1100cc supercharged twin-overhead camshaft design of which only six sports and nine single-seater racing versions were produced between 1931 and 1937, followed by seven 1500cc sports and 14 1500cc single-seat Vetturetta racing cars1932-36. The simple to maintain, torquey 4-cylinder 1100s and 1500s showed their potential through 1932, encouraging Alfieri to experiment with enlarged 2000 and 2500cc variants even though there was no specific racing Formula catering for such capacity at the time - this being the reason why '2011' offered here would remain unique. Its engine's bore and stroke dimensions were 80mm x 96mm, to displa
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