Customer sport has always been a priority at Maserati, and although respectable results were still possible for Maserati with the A6GCS, the Italians had to acknowledge in 1954 that this model could no longer compete at the top. So, at the same time, the 150S and 200S models were developed in Modena as suitable replacements. Both models, illogically named Tipo 53 and Tipo 52 respectively, had a largely similar conventional tubular frame chassis and 1.5- and 2-litre versions of a completely new four-cylinder engine with dual ignition.
The front suspension on both models consisted of conventional double wishbones and coil springs. While the 150S was equipped with a De-Dion tube and transverse leaf springs at the rear, the 200S – at least at the beginning of its career – had to make do with a very classic solid axle. But because the first 200S customers were already complaining, the rear suspension was changed on all but a few cars.
The development of the 200S proved to be problematic, as the car was plagued by gearbox problems in endurance and road races. However, Jean Behra’s victories at the Gran Premio di Bari and Gran Premio di Roma in 1956 saved the brand’s dignity, as did Stirling Moss and Cesare Perdisa’s good second place at the Supercortemaggiore in Monza (behind the Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins). The change to Appendix C regulations for 1957 resulted in the car being converted into the 200SI (Sport Internazionale), which was fitted with a wide windscreen, two working doors, a spare wheel and a fabric top that was nevertheless very provisional.
The 200S was powered by a 2-litre four-cylinder aluminium engine, as mentioned, with dual ignition, hemispherical combustion chambers, dry sump lubrication, and at least 180 hp. The cars were mostly dressed by Fantuzzi and weighed about 660 kilos, probably about 30 examples were built. And they were fast, really fast, at a race in 1956 Stirling Moss «destroyed» no less than four Ferrari 500TRs.
We show here chassis number 2427, a 200 SI from 1957 with a fine Fantuzzi body. The first customer is known to be Vincent Dyckman Andrus, who bought the car to give to John Fitch for SCCA racing on the East Coast. Fitch, who loved the car painted white and blue for him and praised it as one of the cars with the best handling ever, took class wins in rows; it was not enough for the big pots. Later, 2427 passed through the hands of some famous collectors, eventually became red again – and will be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s on 19/20 August 2022. There is no estimated price yet.