1949 Maserati A61500/3C Berlinetta
Year of manufacture1949
- The first of only 10 examples factory-equipped with triple Weber carburetors
- Originally sold to Isabella Quarantotti, famed writer and playwright
- Well documented and fascinating ownership from new
- Period competition history
- Accompanied by extensive historical documentation
- Eligible for the Mille Miglia Storica and other vintage events
Particularly noteworthy as the first production Maserati to be fitted with triple Weber carburetors, the A6 1500 offered here, chassis 086, was built around the midpoint of the series of 61 examples produced between 1947 and 1951. This desirable enhancement significantly raised power from the single-carbureted base version and signaled the marque’s refocusing on performance instead of accommodating post-war low-octane fuel constraints. Just nine other A6 1500s were similarly equipped, and only one other is known to survive in an Italian museum.
Sent to Carrozzeria Pinin Farina on 11 December 1948, for their handsome fastback coachwork, the car returned to Maserati in July 1949 before being evaluated the following month by the factory’s famed chief test driver, Guerino Bertocchi. On 14 September, chassis 086 was consigned to Peppino Santi of Rome and just one day later was invoiced to the first owner on record: Isabella Quarantotti, an aristocratic writer and playwright. Although registered in Italy at Ms. Quarantotti’s residence in Positano, her new Maserati was delivered to a garage near the hotel in Paris where she was living with her future second husband, English poet Alexander Ronald “Alec” Smith. Quarantotti and Smith even explored entry of the Maserati into the 18th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, which would have made 086 the first Maserati entered in Le Mans; however, it was not to be, and the car was never officially entered.
In late December 1950, the A6 1500 was purchased by Donatello Mennini, a textiles entrepreneur, champion skier, and soccer player from Tessilprato. Maserati records indicate that Mr. Mennini returned the car to the factory for servicing, and by April 1952 the A6 had been sold to Celestina Basini of Firenze. A little more than one year later, on 12 July 1953, the car was registered to its next owner, U.S. Army officer Larry James Pichichero of Ohio, who was stationed in Livorno. Taking advantage of the car’s heightened state of tune, Pichichero entered several races where his friend and fellow army officer, Thomas “Tony” Martin, took on driving duties – even competing against two of the three original Abarth 205s. The first of these races was the 2nd Salita del Castellaccio on 20 September 1953, followed by the 1st Coppa Commandante Giovanni Braccini at Saline di Volterra a week later.
In late 1957, California noted gunsmith Ernest Nanson was vacationing in Italy and spotted 086 on a sales lot. Mr. Nanson imported the A6 to the U.S. and lovingly maintained the car during his 22-year ownership. The car was then purchased by William McKinley, who commissioned a full restoration from Brian Moore’s Performance Painting in nearby Rancho Cordova. It was during this restoration that the car was thoroughly refurbished and refinished in red.
Following restoration, 086 competed in the Monterey Historics in August 1983, and the following June it took home Best of Show and the People’s Choice Award at the 6th Maserati International Meet at Lake Tahoe. The A6 would pass through several owners over the next decades, including Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan as well as the Blackhawk Collection. Chassis 086 was also featured in The Great Book of Sports Cars, as representative of Maserati’s first hand-built road cars.
Following a purchase in 2009, a second nut-and-bolt restoration was undertaken, with final assembly performed by the highly regarded outfit, Steel Wings. At an eyewatering cost of $350,000, the restoration was research intensive and time consuming – the vehicle was completely stripped and reassembled piece by piece before the interior was refinished to an exceptional level of detail by 13-time Pebble Beach award-winner Gary Maucher.
Post restoration, the A6 was sold to the current owner, who wanted to ensure the mechanical condition of the vehicle was as perfect as could be. He sent the A6 to one of the top Maserati specialists in the world, Candini Classiche in Modena, for a complete overhaul of the engine, gearbox, clutch, differential, brakes, and suspension – for a total cost of $85,000. During this restoration, the correct Maserati steel wheels were sourced and fitted.
Today, this 1949 Maserati A6 1500/3C is as beautiful as the day it left the factory and would be welcome at any number of classic car rallies, international concours d’elegance, and vintage competition events. Complete with a comprehensive history file detailing its restoration and fascinating ownership history, chassis 086 is sure to bring joy to the next lucky owner.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/am19.