1949 Maserati A61500/3C Berlinetta
Year of manufacture1949
$550,000 - $650,000
- The first of only 10 examples factory-equipped with triple Weber carburetors
- Refined Pinin Farina 2+2 fastback bodywork
- A noteworthy example of Maserati’s first production road car
- Well-documented and fascinating ownership from new, with period competition history
- Eligible for the Mille Miglia and other prestigious vintage tours and events
- Successfully completed 2019 edition of the Colorado Grand
Introduced in 1947, the Maserati A6 is the company’s first offering developed with street use, as well as competition, in mind; in time, the model would receive hand-crafted road-car bodywork from a number of Italian greats. Yet when Maserati chose to unveil the A6 to the world at the 1947 Geneva Motor Show, it was no accident that it was wearing a refined, thoroughly modern body by Pinin Farina.
The A6 1500 offered here, chassis 086, was built around the midpoint of the series of 61 examples produced between 1947 and 1951. It too features coachwork by Pinin Farina, and its 2+2 fastback appearance is a sleek evolution of the style initially shown in Geneva.
Moreover, this example especially notable for being the first production Maserati equipped with triple Weber carburetors, which feed its 1.5-liter I-6 engine. This desirable enhancement significantly raised power from the single-carbureted base version. Just nine other A6 1500s were similarly equipped, and only one other is known to survive in an Italian museum.
Chassis 086 was sent to Pinin Farina on 11 December 1948; after being fitted with their handsome fastback coachwork, it 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, noted California 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.
After 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 richly textured interior was refinished to an exceptional level of detail by Pebble Beach award-winner Gary Maucher.
More recently, the car completed the 2019 running of the Colorado Grand. The Borrani wire wheels and Pirelli Cinturato radial tires it currently wears are well-suited to sporty touring events of that sort; however, it is also accompanied by a period-appropriate set of Maserati CABO bimetal wheels (incorporating a steel disc with aluminum rims) and Blockley tires, along with the proper hubs required to fit them on the car.
The lifetime of care invested in this 1949 Maserati A6 1500/3C is readily apparent in its elegant presentation. Eligible for the Mille Miglia, it would no doubt be welcomed and appreciated at any number of classic tours and vintage competition events. Offered with the aforementioned additional set of wheels, tools, documentation of its restoration and maintenance, and a comprehensive file detailing its lengthy and illustrious history, this significant Maserati awaits a new owner ready to write its next chapter. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo20.