Only a 1950s Maserati Spyder racecar could decline a $2.2 million dollar auction bid and go home disappointed. This 1953 Maserati A6 Sypder by Fantuzzi did not sell after failing to meet its reserve, but is still one of the most breathtaking automobile designs in history.
Who knows what collectors are thinking during these boozy social events of the high-dollar auction world. This Spyder, known by its code name of A6GCS/53 and/or chassis number 2053, has had quite the racing history to go with its stunning red paintwork, topless style and luxurious Jaeger dashboard gauges.
Despite some on-track crash damage in 1955 and a Chevy engine living under that soft nose in the 1960s, this Maserati Spyder is finally back in concours condition following a six-figure restoration since coming back to America in 1999.
Originally a U.S.-imported racing machine, the legendary Juan Miguel Fangio even took this exact Maserati Spyder for its first few laps in 1954.
Like many racecars from bygone eras, the Maserati A6 Spyder by Fantuzzi does not have mind-popping performance specifications or top speed claims. What is does have is true classic car history, with every panel and curve of this gorgeous bodywork telling the stories of long-passed racing glory for the Trident brand.
It also can stop your heart with its simple and delicate beauty, and knowledge that its drivers needed equal parts bravery, physical strength, and mental focus to take home podium trophies.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 1953 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder by Fantuzzi, certainly one of the best-looking racing speedsters in automobile history.
Partially shrouded by a cabin panel over the passenger seat, this Spyder wears number 42 proudly on its flowing hood and rounded fender panels. A long hood and gigantic fender arches are needed to house the extremely tall racing tires of the day.
The wild front fender flares continue a smooth flow under the oval notched grille, barely covering the lower engine cradle and front suspension from the rushing air.
Twin circular lamps look as cute as something from a Pixar movie, while the riveted windshield has no top frame and a wildly swooping arc not seen outside Speed Racer cartoons. Shielding the driver and also the passenger, which was a luxury during a time when racing drivers wore leather caps and driving glasses to keep debris, rocks and bugs out of their eyes and mouth when racing.
1953 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder by Fantuzzi - Rear Three-Quarter Vantage:
A modern helmet ruins the mood of this classic speedster, which has twin ribbed leatherette seats and a giant racing fuel tank under the whole trunk area. Riding atop the gas tank is a full-size spare wheel and a huge gas filler cap, finished in chrome and with an opening large enough to stick your hand inside. Quick pit stops were important back then, as well.
Twin side exhausts port to the driver’s side, while both sides of the car have slim access hatches for quicker driver changes. A completely round and almost featureless tail lacks bumpers and anything else that could cause drag, while the wheel wells are also lined with aluminum and vented below the taillights.
The Spyder’s bare metal cockpit is completely restored to an unbelievably high standard for an actual racecar. Endurance racing is very hard on cars, with few making it back to the streets once in competition. The more likely end is being dismantled for spare parts or simply destroyed in action.
The oversized round steering wheel is welcome when you imagine the wild corners of the Mille Miglia or other period races that demanded huge endurance from the driver’s muscles, as well as brain.
Even with a color-matched panel to cover the passenger seat on racetracks, the whole Maserati interior is basically on the outside. Hot, tingly and loud; the Maserati Spyder has lovely details inside to help justify its valuation.
1953 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder by Fantuzzi - Interior Detail:
The turquoise Jaeger Le Couture gauges are the real deal, unlike Cadillac’s Bulgari fonts and other half-hearted efforts like Bentley /Breitling. A lovely porcelain dial face shows vintage patina but also vintage illegibility.
The speedometer tally doesn’t matter as much as whether you are leading the race, and the Columbo-designed racing engine was quite vocal when nearing its rev limit anyway.
Drivetrain, Engine and Brakes
Designed by Gioacchino Colombo - the famed man behind Ferrari ’s tiny and extremely complex V-12 engines of the day - Maserati’s 2.0-liter in-line-six engine was quite advanced in its time.
Producing 170 horsepower, this is a high-strung engine that needs revs to make its power. With an audible fuel pump chugging away, the Maserati Spyder at full speed is absolutely magical. Despite a claimed max of about 112 mph, even 60 mph feels like heaven without a windshield and with your eye only inches from the pavement that is racing by underneath.
1953 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder by Fantuzzi - Shifter Detail:
1953 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder by Fantuzzi - Mechanical Details:
|Engine||2.0-liter I-6 with Three Weber Dual-Choke Carburetors, Dual Overhead Camshafts and Dual Spark Ignition|
|Powertrain Layout||Front-engine, Rear-drive|
|Power (Hybrid and Gasoline Combined Output)||170|
|Torque (Hybrid and Gasoline Combined Output)||148, est|
|0-60 mph||11.5, est|
|Top Speed||112, est|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||18/22/19, est|
This example is one of 48 Spyders ever made, and single digits still around in public today. It did not meet its reserve at Pebble Beach 2013, despite a high bid of $2.2 million.
The valuation of this model is trending upward, with a $2.5 million to $3.5 million pre-sale estimate. As far as value history: there are too few exact Fantuzzi cars to compare it against, but a similar 1953 Spyder with coachwork by Frua did sell at Pebble Beach for $2.6 million.
Staring at the gorgeous RM auctions catalog and the shockingly beautiful Maserati Spyder by Fantuzzi, it is easy to see how RM is building a serious name for itself versus some of the stuffier auction houses, like Gooding and Co.
RM Auctions shares the wealth with the rest of us via its high-resolution images and professional photography. Instead of hiding the glorious treasures behind walls of power and prestige, the Maserati Spyder by Fantuzzi offers fantasy bodywork and driving pleasure for every car guy and every kid who grew up wanting to be a racing driver.
Who knows, with enough cash… this Maserati’s next Fangio could even be you - huddled behind that racing windshield as you roar into the sunset.
- Styling purity and balance are lovely
- Color is also beautiful, with great details like luxury dials and full-size matching spare
- Absolutely stunning windshield glass does not even have a header rail or any top frame
- Vintage quick and exciting does not mean actually quick versus new cars
- No top and giant gas tank means sunny and safe driving only
- Still looking for a new home, preferably in a climate-controlled garage with an alarm system
Images Credit: RM Auctions