The 450S probably was the fastest Maserati sports car ever made. Built to challenge V12-equipped Ferrari sports racing cars, the Maserati 450S bore a front-mounted 4.5-liter V8 engine capable of rocketing the car from a standing start to 100 mph in eleven seconds. The four-overhead cam engine produced 400-420 horsepower and had a top speed of 193 mph.
 
 
The lightly modified 300S chassis originally provided was not adequate to harness the phenomenal performance of the engine, so a new tubular chassis was built. The 450S won the Sebring 12 Hours and Swedish Grand Prix.
 
The 450S built by Fine Sports Cars will carry a hand-crafted all-alloy body constructed in our Italian workshops and mechanicals to the exact factory specifications as the original cars. Clients can select from the individual unique body styles and mechanical drive trains of this series.
 
Determined to Take the Lead
Up to 1956, Maserati solely focused on small-engined sportscar racing with engine sizes ranging from 1.5 litre in the 150S to the 3 litre in 300S. These were all fine racers but they were never in contention to take the overall lead against the much more powerful Ferraris, Astons and especially Jaguars.
 
So Maserati set out to build an engine and chassis that was capable of beating the 'big-boys'. The Maserati designers worked simultaneously on two different engines, a new 3.5 litre six cylinder and a 4.5 litre V8.

 
A new chassis was designed to house both engines. The first engine was the six cylinder and it was taken out in a new, stronger chassis for the 1956 Mille Miglia. The 'six' proved underpowered for the heavy chassis and the combination was even outpaced by 3 litre 300S. By the fall of 1956, the V8 was ready and it was taken out at the practice of the Swedish Grand Prix.
 

 
Maserati Works
Modena, Italy
 
 
Throughout the fall and winter of 1956, the V8 car was further developed and the engine output was raised from the initial 365 bhp to 400 bhp.
 
 
With this immense figure of 400 bhp, the quad cam, V8 engined 450S was the most powerful front engine sports car.
 
 
It was only surpassed by the Panoz prototypes in the late 1990s. The brakes were also revised to be able to cope with the enormous speeds expected from the 450S.

Victory in the Hands of Juan Manuel Fangio and Jean Behra
The 450S made its first appearance at the 1957 Argentinian 1000 km race where it was driven by the Grand Prix drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. In the early stages of the race there was no one who could keep up with the storming 450S. The all new and complicated engine was remarkably reliable, although it failed to finish. The drivers were let down by a failing clutch, which after some clutchless gearshifts, caused the transmission to seize.
 

 
At Sebring in March of that same year the 450S was in top form. This time there was no mechinical failure stopping the Modena based team from scoring their first victory. With the 450S in the hands of Fangio and Jean Behra victory was had.
 
 
Fangio driving a 450S at Sebring 1957.
 
 
At the Mille Miglia two months later victory was further away than ever. Jean Behra destroyed his 450S on the open roads before the race when, travelling at 150mph, a truck pulled out in front of him, there was no room to slow down or pass the truck.
 
 
Moss drove 450S 4507 in practice, and started with 4503 in Caracas.

In this photo he is driving 4507, in which he set the fastest lap in practice.
 

 
The Moss driven 450S did make it to the start but he had to retire 10 miles in the race with a broken brake pedal. Moss didn't have any luck at the Nürburgring 1000km either where he retired from first place in the 10th lap as a wheel came off.

For Le Mans, Maserati brought out a low drag coupe version of the 450S for Moss to race. Ironically it proved to be slower than the roadster bodied 450S due to major design flaws. In the race Moss showcased his ability and desire to win and piloted the underperforming coupe to second place, but in 38th lap he was let down by a failing rear axle and had to retire.

A Second Victory at the Swedish Grand Prix
Ferrari wanted to capitalize on the 450S's reliability problems and sent Mike Hawthorn out to win the Swedish Grand Prix with the new 315S.
 

 
Yet it was the Maserati duo Moss and Behra that outpaced the Ferrari from the get-go.
 


This time one of the cars actually made it to the finish to record the second victory for the 450S. The Moss / Schell driven 450S had to retire after a transmission failure.
 

 
Behra was able to lap Hawthorn who was in second place and secured his second win of the season with the 450S. Maserati was still in contention for the World Championship.
 
 
The Maserati factory team of Harry Schell, Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Roy Salvadori, Giorgio Scarlatti, Jean Behra and Carroll Shelby pose with the Maserati 450S, driven by Behra and Fangio.
 
 
Carroll Shelby with the Maserati 450S he raced in 1957.
 


The Finale of the Season
The Venuzuelan Grand Prix would decide the championship. Luck had definitely run out and it turned out to be one of the worst weekends in Maserati's racing history. One day before the race Maserati's team manager died but the team persisted. Three cars were entered, two 450S and one 300S. Moss' 450S was destroyed after a collision with an AC Bristol. The second 450S caught fire when re-fueling, the fire was extinguished and Schell took it out again. Both Moss and Behra were burned. When Schell tried to pass Jo Bonnier's 300S on a straight of the track, the 300S blew. Bonnier couldn't control his car and careened right into Schell's 450S. Both cars were destroyed. Nothing more than three wrecks remained from Maserati's entry and all hopes for the championship were gone.
 

The sport's governing body changed the rules for sportscar racing for the 1958 season, leaving the 450S obsolete. When it finished, it won, and in the rest of the races it was let down more by bad-luck than anything else.
 
 
Most of 450Ss went to the United States where they were raced with some success. Two were fitted with enlarged 5.7 litre engines, pumping out an incredible 526 bhp. In awe of its power Carroll Shelby nick-named his 450S, 'Big Hawg'.
 
 
Carroll Shelby driving 450S #98.
 
 
 
The 450S probably was the fastest Maserati sports car ever made.
 
A Rare Opportunity to Own a 450S
This is a rare opportunity for enthusiasts to take delivery of a car that was produced in very limited numbers, has a timeless design, a unique race pedigree, and historic significance.

Each car will be hand-crafted in our Italian workshops by local artisans to the original factory specifications and ready to thrill its new owner. These automobiles are being constructed using the customer’s Maserati donor automobile, or a Maserati donor car from our inventory.

Rarity Index: 10 cars

Current Value of an Original Car: $7 million
Keith Martin's Sports Car Market auction price guide
 

 
It is now possible, for a fraction of the cost of an original car, to enjoy driving a legendary sports racing car on the world’s historic race circuits, surrounded by other cars no less mythical. Fine Sports Cars automobiles can be used in competition at selected vintage events, or registered for road use.
 
 
If your car is intended for use in vintage racing events, FIA Certification can be arranged on special request. Fine Sports Cars provides enthusiasts and collectors with faithful and accurate renditions of the world's rarest legendary cars.

Please contact us for to discuss the current price of the above car that will meet your requirements.
 
 

Fine Sports Cars' documentation includes:
• An original chassis plate and door plate from the donor car
• A personalized numbered chassis plate
• A numbered door plate detailing the place of origin and the manufacturer
• A signed certificate of authenticity which documents the place of manufacture, the originality of the donor car, and history of the car model
• A complete list of specifications and parts

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