Maserati 450S

Last updated
Maserati 450S
1957 Maserati 450S - fvl (edit).jpg
1957 Maserati 450S at Palm Springs 2010.
Overview
Manufacturer Maserati
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door, convertible
Layout FR layout

The Maserati 450S (built 1956–8) is a racing car made by Maserati of Italy, and used in FIA's endurance World Sportscar Championship racing. A total of nine were made.

Maserati Italian luxury car manufacturer

Maserati is an Italian luxury vehicle manufacturer established on 1 December 1914, in Bologna. The Maserati tagline is "Luxury, sports and style cast in exclusive cars", and the brand's mission statement is to "Build ultra-luxury performance automobiles with timeless Italian style, accommodating bespoke interiors, and effortless, signature sounding power".

The World Sportscar Championship was the world series run for sports car racing by the FIA from 1953 to 1992.

Their design started in 1954 (thus the internal designation «Tipo 54») led by Vittorio Bellentani and Guido Taddeucci. Their intent was to use larger engines than those then used by Maserati.

Vittorio Bellentani was an Italian automobile engineer and racing driver.

One was the 3.5-litre to be used in Maserati 350S, the other to be used in the 450S, had a 4.478-litre short-stroke V8 engine with four Weber carburetor 45 IDM (400 bhp (300 kW) at 7200). The tubular chassis and body was designed by Valerio Colotti, and inherited much from the Maserati 300S, using De Dion (mechanical) and 5-speed ZF gearbox, and a suspension with double wishbones and coil springs.

Maserati 350S

Maserati 350S were three racing cars made by Maserati of Italy, built by Giulio Alfieri, with aluminum body design by Medardo Fantuzzi, both Maserati engineers.

V8 engine piston engine with eight cylinders in vee configuration

A V8 engine is an eight-cylinder V configuration engine with the cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two sets of four, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft. Most banks are set at a right angle (90°) to each other, some at a narrower angle, with 45°, 60°, and 72° most common.

Weber carburetor company

Weber is an Italian company which produces carburetors; it is owned by Magneti Marelli Powertrain S.p.A., which is in turn part of Marelli. Carburetor production in Italy ended in 1992 when Weber shifted carburetor production to Madrid, Spain, where it continues today.

1957 450S Costin/Zagato coupe at Scarsdale (2006). SC06 1957 Maserati 450S Costin Zagato Coupe.jpg
1957 450S Costin/Zagato coupe at Scarsdale (2006).

The 450S was raced in the 1957 World Sports Car Championship where its principal rivals were Ferrari with its Ferrari 290 MM, 315 S and 335 S models, the Jaguar D-Type and the Aston Martin DBR1.

Ferrari 290 MM

The Ferrari 290 MM was a Ferrari race car produced in 1956. It was developed to compete in the 1956 edition of Mille Miglia, hence the acronym "MM", and four cars were built.

The Ferrari 315 S is an Italian sports-racing car produced by Ferrari in 1957.

Ferrari 335 S

The Ferrari 335 S was a sports racing car produced by Italian manufacturer Ferrari in 1957. Four cars were produced in total. An evolution of the 315 S, it had a V12 engine with a greater 4,023.32 cc (245.518 cu in) displacement and a maximum power of 390 hp (291 kW) at 7400 rpm; the maximum speed was around 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph). The car was a direct response to the Maserati 450S which with its 4.5-litre engine was threatening to overpower the 3.8-litre 315 S and 3.5-litre 290 MM.

Chassis #4501 had a 4.2-litre V8, based on the prototype raced at 1956 Mille Miglia and 1956 Swedish Grand Prix. A clutch failure after a very promising start in the Buenos Aires 1000 km by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio prevented the car from commencing the season with a win. The car was redesigned as a coupé drawn by Frank Costin of England, constructed by Zagato, and raced once again by Moss at Le Mans where it failed to finish. Later, the car was restored by Medardo Fantuzzi of Maserati (new chassis #4512); and subsequently received another restoration by Faralli & Mazzanti.

The 23. edizione Mille Miglia was an auto race held on a 992.332 mile (1597 km) course made up entirely of public roads around Italy, mostly on the outer parts of the country on 28–29 April 1956. The route was based on a round trip between Brescia and Rome, with start/finish, in Brescia. It was the 3rd round of the 1956 World Sportscar Championship.

The 1956 Sveriges Grand Prix took place on 12 August, at the Rabelövsbanan, Kristianstad. Although this was the second running of the race, it was the first time as a round of the F.I.A. World Sports Car Championship. The previous year's race, won by Juan Manuel Fangio was the first big race held in Sweden, and the organiser, Kungl Automobil Klubben dealt with it so well, the F.I.A. promoted the race. For this year's event, the circuit was widened and resurfaced.

Stirling Moss British racecar driver

Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss, is a British former Formula One racing driver. An inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, he won 212 of the 529 races he entered across several categories of competition and has been described as "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship". In a seven-year span between 1955 and 1961 Moss finished as championship runner-up four times and third the other three.

Chassis #4503, driven by Fangio and Jean Behra, won the 12 Hours of Sebring. It was then crashed by Behra during practice for the Mille Miglia and didn't start the race. Repaired, it was again crashed by Behra at the Le Mans 24 Hours before it won again in the hands of Behra and Moss in the Swedish Sports Car Grand Prix. In the final race of the 1957 season the Venezuelan Sports Car Grand Prix it was destroyed before being later rebuilt.

Jean Behra French racing driver

Jean Marie Behra was a Formula One driver who raced for the Gordini, Maserati, BRM, Ferrari and Porsche teams.

12 Hours of Sebring annual sports car endurance race held at Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Florida, United States

The 12 Hours of Sebring is an annual motorsport endurance race for sports cars held at Sebring International Raceway, on the site of the former Hendricks Army Airfield World War II air base in Sebring, Florida. The event is the second round of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and in the past has been a round of the now defunct World Sportscar Championship, IMSA GT Championship and American Le Mans Series. In 2012, the race was the opening event of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Mille Miglia Italian endurance road race

The Mille Miglia was an open-road, motorsport endurance race established in 1927 by the young Counts Aymo Maggi and Franco Mazzotti, which took place in Italy twenty-four times from 1927 to 1957.

Chassis #4505 driven by Moss and Denis Jenkinson raced in the Mille Miglia until the brake pedal fell off. At the Nürburgring 1000km it was driven by Moss and Fangio and recorded another DNF when the wheel dropped off. The car was later sold to Temple Buell, who drilled it to 5.7-litres, and later to Jim Hall.

The engine in the Maserati 450S Maserati V8.JPG
The engine in the Maserati 450S

Chassis #4507 was driven by Moss and Harry Schell at the Venezuelan Sports Car Grand Prix where it was destroyed in a fiery crash that also involved chassis #4503.

Carroll Shelby standing next to a Maserati 450S that he raced in 1957. CarrollShelbyAtVirginiaInternationalRaceway2007.jpg
Carroll Shelby standing next to a Maserati 450S that he raced in 1957.

Maserati finished the season as runners up to Ferrari in the World Sports Car Championship, its two victories at Sebring and Kristianstad, together with a second place at Buenos Aires and fourth in the Mille Miglia by its sister 300S giving Maserati 25 points. Unfortunately for Maserati this was five behind Ferrari's winning total of 30 points gained from victories at Buenos Aires, the Mille Miglia and Venezuela together with second at the Nürburgring and Sweden.

Other cars were sold: Chassis #4502 to Tony Parravano, #4505 to Jim Kimberley and #4506 to John Edgar. Chassis #4509 and #4510 was sold to the US, some having engine expansions to 5.7-and 6.6-litres and used in SCCA races by Carroll Shelby, Jim Hall, Masten Gregory, Walt Cline and Ebb Rose. Chassis #4512 was originally the #4501 (see above).

Between 1956 and 1962, the 450S had 119 appearances, 31 of these being victories.

Further reading

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