Apr 14, 2014
Gary P. Garry
Comments Off on For the Discerning Gentleman: ’56 Maserati 450S Prototype

For the Discerning Gentleman: ’56 Maserati 450S Prototype


RM Auctions sells some of the most mind-boggling cars imaginable on a regular basis all around the world. Upcoming auctions will take place in madly diverse locations, including Monaco, Detroit, Monterey, London, and Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Any one of these auctions would be a lot of fun to attend, and you would certainly see some amazing motor vehicles. However, if you want to buy something at the top end, you better have some very, very deep pockets. If you have them, you will have the opportunity to make an extraordinary purchase.Obviously, most of us will never be in a position to do such a thing, but imagine telling your friends that you are jetting (private jetting, of course) off to Monaco to bid on a 1956 Maserati 450S Prototype. There are those who are doing just that (quite pretentiously, I might add), because this one-of-a-kind motor vehicle is being auctioned off in Monaco on May 10.

This particular car has an important history as a race car and as an engineering innovation. During the beginning of 1956, a well-to-do real estate developer from the United States spoke with Maserati about building a custom car.

This American, Tony Parravano, wanted them to create a new large bore V-8 engine and place it into a Kurtis-style chassis. Maserati had been developing a chassis that seemed to fit the bill: the 350S.

The car became the 450S prototype, and it first hit the race track during the practice runs for the Mile Miglia in April of 1956, and then practiced before the Swedish Grand Prix during the summer of that year. There were clearly some bugs to work out given the power of the engine and the lightness of the chassis, so they built a new chassis that was specifically designed for the 450S.

After a bit of racing the chassis was put into mothballs by 1958 or so, and the car was fully restored in 1987 with guidance from the Maserati company. It has been verified as fully authentic by many different experts. It is an absolutely gorgeous car as far as external appearance goes, and, get this, it has a 5,657 cc V-8, four carburetors, and the engine is rated at 520 hp.

This is one of the ultimate finds for a Maserati collector of extraordinary means. How extraordinary are we talkin’? The car is expected to sell for between €4.000.000 and €5.500.000, which is somewhere between $5.5 million and $7.5 million.

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