Available in Germany: Maserati 4CL 1500
If you can look past the lackluster photography and vacuum of information at all on the sale detail page, this 1939 Maserati 4CL 1500 offers a remarkable story and a beautiful shape. I’m on a bit of a pre-war Italians kick lately, so this Maser jumped right off the screen on Klaus Werner Klassische Automobile’s web site. Like all 4CLs, this straight-4 powered, 4-speed menace was important not only for it’s brutal appearance, but for giving a solid go at fending off the Silver Arrows during their absolute domination in the immediate pre-war period.
This example, chassis 1567, wasn’t just any Maserati 4CL: it’s the first one. British GP Driver Reggie Tongue bought this car, the first complete example, on April 5, 1939, just in time for the International Trophy race at Brooklands a month later. In the 4CL’s race debut, Tongue wrestled the Maser to a 3rd place finish, with Prince Bira winning. Two months later at the Grand Prix de L’albigeois, Tongue did one better, taking 1567 to 2nd place. This time finishing behind fellow Brit Johnnie Wakefield.
After the war, as was so often the case, 1567 was pulled out of mothballs to take back to the track, this time in the hands of former Delahaye driver, Robert Mazaud. Mazaud re-introduced the car to the racing world at the 1946 Grand Prix de Nice. Unfortunately the car didn’t go the distance, dropping out on lap 22 with a faulty magneto. He had mixed results a few weeks later in the Grand Prix de Marseille, taking pole and winning the first heat, but crashing out on the first lap of heat 2. A 3rd place at I Coupe René le Bègue in June would be his last success with the car. In the following few races, the Maserat DNFed for a variety of reasons; bad steering, bad cylinders. I cannot confirm the chassis number, but it would stand to reason that this 4CL was the car Mazaud was driving when he was killed in the 1946 Prix des 24 Heures du Mans in a crash on the 3rd lap. Mazaud’s popularity was such that in October of ’46, the Bois de Boulogne race was christened “I Coupe Robert Mazaud“.
Can you believe that the seller hasn’t shared any of this amazing story? It’s not only a markedly beautiful car, but this very example shared Brooklands with Bira and Boulogne with Nuvolari. It’s an stunningly beautiful monoposto, and I hope the new owner will continue to race her at vintage events to share her with the rest of us.
Update: It looks like we’ve mixed up our 4CLs in the immediate post-war. The commenter below informs us that Tongue’s 4CL was sold during the war and the Mazaud record above was with a different Maserati. We’re sorry for the incorrect information in the original post and thank you, Gigleux, for correcting me. I still contend that dealers should share the histories of their cars so it’s not entirely up to racing fans to try and track down this information.
Such as the tidbit that The Mestro may have driven this car. This page shows a racing record of Fangio driving 1567 in the Buenos Aires Formula Libre race in January, 1948.
Oh Hell.. I give up.