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Maserati 350S Chassis Numbers Revision


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#1 rudi

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 09:52

In his last book, "Maserati in the World Sports Car & Manufacturers Championships from 1953 to 1966", Michel Bollée has given to each car a chassis number, of course not an easy task and a very difficult one regarding the A6GCS.

 

The 350S was an unsuccessful car.

Two were built for the 1956 Mille Miglia, one for Piero Taruffi, a monoposto as he was racing alone, and one biposto for Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson.

Denis Jenkinson was in Italy the week before the Mille Miglia and was at the Maserati factory and gave a precise account of the building of the cars.

The monoposto with Taruffi driving was first tested at the Modena circuit on the 24th of April. Taruffi did not like the car and decided to drive a 300S in the race.

The Moss car came only out of the factory on the 28th of April and was first tested at the end of the night by Bertocchi; when Moss arrived early in the morning he could test the car before taking the road to Brescia for the start of the Mille Miglia the next morning at 5H54.

Before the last Bollée book, and also mentionned in his previous books, the Moss 350S at the Mille Miglia was said to be chassis #3501, the monoposto #3502.

 

Bollée in his last book writes that the Moss car was #3502, the monoposto #3501.

During the Mille Miglia, Moss went off the road, the car was damaged.

 

The factory did not repair the Moss car as a 350S but rebuilt it with many changes and the new V8 4,5l engine; the car was renamed 450S chassis #4501 and appeared as T car at the Swedish Grand Prix. The car was not seen later, probably scrapped.

The monoposto was sold to Luigi Piotti who raced it at Bari and Reims in 1956.

 

Maserati built a third 350S end of 1956 (a 300S chassis with a 3,5l engine) for Tony Parravano, chassis #3502.

Chassis #3101 still existing, the original #3502 changed into #4501 and scrapped, all looks logical.

 

Can other Maserati historians confirm (or refuse) the Bollée numbers ?

 

 

 



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#2 JoBo

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 10:39

In his last book, "Maserati in the World Sports Car & Manufacturers Championships from 1953 to 1966", Michel Bollée has given to each car a chassis number, of course not an easy task and a very difficult one regarding the A6GCS.

 

The 350S was an unsuccessful car.

Two were built for the 1956 Mille Miglia, one for Piero Taruffi, a monoposto as he was racing alone, and one biposto for Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson.

Denis Jenkinson was in Italy the week before the Mille Miglia and was at the Maserati factory and gave a precise account of the building of the cars.

The monoposto with Taruffi driving was first tested at the Modena circuit on the 24th of April. Taruffi did not like the car and decided to drive a 300S in the race.

The Moss car came only out of the factory on the 28th of April and was first tested at the end of the night by Bertocchi; when Moss arrived early in the morning he could test the car before taking the road to Brescia for the start of the Mille Miglia the next morning at 5H54.

Before the last Bollée book, and also mentionned in his previous books, the Moss 350S at the Mille Miglia was said to be chassis #3501, the monoposto #3502.

 

Bollée in his last book writes that the Moss car was #3502, the monoposto #3501.

During the Mille Miglia, Moss went off the road, the car was damaged.

 

The factory did not repair the Moss car as a 350S but rebuilt it with many changes and the new V8 4,5l engine; the car was renamed 450S chassis #4501 and appeared as T car at the Swedish Grand Prix. The car was not seen later, probably scrapped.

The monoposto was sold to Luigi Piotti who raced it at Bari and Reims in 1956.

 

Maserati built a third 350S end of 1956 (a 300S chassis with a 3,5l engine) for Tony Parravano, chassis #3502.

Chassis #3101 still existing, the original #3502 changed into #4501 and scrapped, all looks logical.

 

Can other Maserati historians confirm (or refuse) the Bollée numbers ?

Typical Maserati puzzle!

 

I found a confirmation that Maserati rebuild the crashed ex-Moss car into a 450S prototype. The car existed for many years with F.L. in Italy, but its provenance was questioned by some sources. But the proof I have about the conversion dates from 1957! The car is today located in the USA.

 

#3502, the ex- standard 300S, was modified by the factory for Parravano. They cut off the real part of the 300S-chassis and modified it to hold the huge 450S-style gearbox. The very original car still exist in the USA.

 

Michel`s latest listings are correct.

 

JoBo


Edited by JoBo, 20 May 2020 - 10:42.


#3 Graham Gauld

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 17:12

I photographed a 350S fitted with the Maserati V12 grand prix engine in the factory at Modena in September 1957.  The cockpit shot unfortunately only shows part of the chassis number but I believed it back then to be 3501



#4 JoBo

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 23:34

I photographed a 350S fitted with the Maserati V12 grand prix engine in the factory at Modena in September 1957.  The cockpit shot unfortunately only shows part of the chassis number but I believed it back then to be 3501

Graham, I think the V12 was #3503.

 

JoBo



#5 rudi

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 10:03

Typical Maserati puzzle!

 

I found a confirmation that Maserati rebuild the crashed ex-Moss car into a 450S prototype. The car existed for many years with F.L. in Italy, but its provenance was questioned by some sources. But the proof I have about the conversion dates from 1957! The car is today located in the USA.

 

#3502, the ex- standard 300S, was modified by the factory for Parravano. They cut off the real part of the 300S-chassis and modified it to hold the huge 450S-style gearbox. The very original car still exist in the USA.

 

Michel`s latest listings are correct.

 

JoBo

Ok, so many writings here and there should be updated regarding the 350S numbers...



#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 10:42

I am afraid there is little point in being dogmatic about chassis numbers alone as used in period, or indeed as evidence for an overall number of car assemblies built in any given series.  

 

Ever since a model maker named Brian Jordan, inquisitive enthusiasts like Duncan Rabagliati and Paul Sheldon, and myself, began logging chassis numbers seriously in around 1963-64 - and publishing same - they have tended to be misunderstood by some as definitive evidence of unshakeable individual identity.

 

Numbers have simply been misread in the sense of being individual cars' names, 3501 - say - as 350S 'Piero', or 3502 as 350S 'Matteo' - unchanging from first registration, whereas in fact poor Piero's left leg might in fact have been at some point grafted onto Matteo's body or Matteo's heart might have replaced Piero's - while the 'entities' themselves   are considered just to have blithely sailed on through time, regardless - unchanged, immutable.

 

With many manufacturers it just wasn't like that.  We're seldom even completely sure that some works cars had chassis number stampings at all when first used within their own national borders.  An Italian-made works car competing upon Italian territory without need to cross an international border - and thereby trigger Customs verification - wouldn't have required such an 'identity'.  No Brescian scrutineer would look far beyond Mr Ferrari's latest car's race number - or Mr Orsi's - before applying his own verification sticker to 'the assembly'.  And of course that 'assembly' might be changed between reconnaissance/practice and the race, and then might be changed again within precious few days more.

 

In its car development, construction, use - and most definitely sale - Maserati was always hyper-active, not really too bothered with recording the actuality, and - again most definitely - never likely to impede the realities of racing, of works team advantage, and of customer service by sticking steadfastly to what might seem the logical, law-abiding, tax regulation-fulfilling, straight-and-narrow...  Ferrari record keeping was pretty fantastic - by most standards - but even then more than one car left Maranello sharing the same chassis number for Customs and carnet purposes - especially when one iteration of customer car '1234' might be going out to Argentina, while its eponymous sister '1234' was awaiting the truck to deliver it to a new owner in Sweden.

 

The best record surviving is the photographic record, especially when considered against a known and provable time-line, and even that - in many areas - can remain open to interpretation.  Best-argued cases have been overturned in the past by discovery of vital new frame-modification photographs, for example.  This 'chassis numbers tell the story' fixation must not be taken as definitive Gospel.  

 

What we know of them provides part of the story - very seldom all of it.

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 21 May 2020 - 10:49.


#7 Sterzo

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 12:36

Please excuse the ignorance of my intervention, but were the chassis numbers stamped on the frame or was there an attached plate, as on the road cars? If the latter, then changing the number to match customs documentation would be quite easy.



#8 JoBo

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 13:02

Please excuse the ignorance of my intervention, but were the chassis numbers stamped on the frame or was there an attached plate, as on the road cars? If the latter, then changing the number to match customs documentation would be quite easy.

The chassis number is stamped on a small plate. This plate is mounted on the main cross member tube in the engine bay (front section). Yes, it can easily taken off. Some fakers did it...but they had not in mind that Maserati used a very special and much hard to copy typography of their numbers.

 

Furthermore, Maserati and Gilco used a very special way to weld the frame (Gilco made that only for Maserati!). A replicated frame in a 1950s Maserati can easily be identified....if someone knows the way they made it. Thanks, that I am one of those rare "species"... :cool:


Edited by JoBo, 21 May 2020 - 13:03.


#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 13:55

Almost true.  Welcome to the club.   :wave:

 

DCN



#10 DCapps

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 21:47

The Cult of Chassis Numbers and Reality in the Form of Maserati Meet Once Again.....

 

I suggest that it should be offered that it appears that Officine Alfieri Maserati -- and others -- appears to have assigned any Identity to a machine using the engine (motore) that happened to residing in a particular "receptacle" -- the chassis (telaio) -- at that moment.

 

While the chassis may have had an individual number for identification (for which read, tax) purposes, the identity of a machine at any moment was linked to the engine being used by the racing shop in whatever chassis was handy. This is what is behind the often bewildering and confusing tale of the 250F -- and other -- machines.

 

Paperwork for the mechanics in the Maserati racing shop for domestic events appears to have been minimal, the focus being on the engines and where they were. Paperwork for any event necessitating the crossing of a border was easily adjusted to being based on the engine and the rest following suite,

 

Once it became obvious that Identity was a factor linked to the engine, it was then fairly simple to break the code. Not only does this work for the 250F cars, but the A6GCM and 4CL machines -- and others -- as well.

 

Needless to suggest, Maserati also subscribed to the Emersonian idea that "a foolish consistency it the hobgoblin of small minds." Dumping an engine of one sort/tipo into the chassis of another sort/tipo is the just sort of thing that reduces even those with the strongest of wills to begging for mercy. To love Maserati often means having to think in ways alien to the rest of the sport...

 

Many continue to be the prisoner of the ways things were made very simplistic to explain certain things in the past. That Auto-Union never used the Type "A-B-C-D" designations or that the 4CLT was still a 4CL to Maserati just some of the examples as to how simplification tends to encourage the presentist reluctant to re-examine the past.

 

Just sayin'....

 

HDC



#11 Jhdrussell

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 21:53

The Cult of Chassis Numbers and Reality in the Form of Maserati Meet Once Again.....

 

I suggest that it should be offered that it appears that Officine Alfieri Maserati -- and others -- appears to have assigned any Identity to a machine using the engine (motore) that happened to residing in a particular "receptacle" -- the chassis (telaio) -- at that moment.

 

While the chassis may have had an individual number for identification (for which read, tax) purposes, the identity of a machine at any moment was linked to the engine being used by the racing shop in whatever chassis was handy. This is what is behind the often bewildering and confusing tale of the 250F -- and other -- machines.

 

Paperwork for the mechanics in the Maserati racing shop for domestic events appears to have been minimal, the focus being on the engines and where they were. Paperwork for any event necessitating the crossing of a border was easily adjusted to being based on the engine and the rest following suite,

 

Once it became obvious that Identity was a factor linked to the engine, it was then fairly simple to break the code. Not only does this work for the 250F cars, but the A6GCM and 4CL machines -- and others -- as well.

 

Needless to suggest, Maserati also subscribed to the Emersonian idea that "a foolish consistency it the hobgoblin of small minds." Dumping an engine of one sort/tipo into the chassis of another sort/tipo is the just sort of thing that reduces even those with the strongest of wills to begging for mercy. To love Maserati often means having to think in ways alien to the rest of the sport...

 

Many continue to be the prisoner of the ways things were made very simplistic to explain certain things in the past. That Auto-Union never used the Type "A-B-C-D" designations or that the 4CLT was still a 4CL to Maserati just some of the examples as to how simplification tends to encourage the presentist reluctant to re-examine the past.

 

Just sayin'....

 

HDC

Utter and complete rubbish.

 

Just sayin’...



#12 JoBo

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 00:52

The Cult of Chassis Numbers and Reality in the Form of Maserati Meet Once Again.....

 

I suggest that it should be offered that it appears that Officine Alfieri Maserati -- and others -- appears to have assigned any Identity to a machine using the engine (motore) that happened to residing in a particular "receptacle" -- the chassis (telaio) -- at that moment.

 

While the chassis may have had an individual number for identification (for which read, tax) purposes, the identity of a machine at any moment was linked to the engine being used by the racing shop in whatever chassis was handy. This is what is behind the often bewildering and confusing tale of the 250F -- and other -- machines.

 

Paperwork for the mechanics in the Maserati racing shop for domestic events appears to have been minimal, the focus being on the engines and where they were. Paperwork for any event necessitating the crossing of a border was easily adjusted to being based on the engine and the rest following suite,

 

Once it became obvious that Identity was a factor linked to the engine, it was then fairly simple to break the code. Not only does this work for the 250F cars, but the A6GCM and 4CL machines -- and others -- as well.

 

Needless to suggest, Maserati also subscribed to the Emersonian idea that "a foolish consistency it the hobgoblin of small minds." Dumping an engine of one sort/tipo into the chassis of another sort/tipo is the just sort of thing that reduces even those with the strongest of wills to begging for mercy. To love Maserati often means having to think in ways alien to the rest of the sport...

 

Many continue to be the prisoner of the ways things were made very simplistic to explain certain things in the past. That Auto-Union never used the Type "A-B-C-D" designations or that the 4CLT was still a 4CL to Maserati just some of the examples as to how simplification tends to encourage the presentist reluctant to re-examine the past.

 

Just sayin'....

 

HDC

Maserati was always "molto speciale" with their paperwork.

Your comments might work in more or less cases with the 250F - but not so with the Sports Cars. Why? Because almost (!) all 250F were serviced and upgraded by the factory. Their F1-programm was the main focus while most of all sports cars were sold to amateur drivers of very different qualities and talent. Many of these cars were sold upbroad, therefor needed a custom carnet without coming back to Italy. So no second identity was needed.

 

There was only one other type from Maserati that switched off identities and that was the 1920s/30s Tipo 26 in all its variants. Its unpossible to proof today but a lot of chassis were updated, re-numbered and converted to a stronger engine etc. and rolled out of their workshop with a new chassis number.

 

With the iconic 300S a switch of chassis numbers happened only with 3 cars and one car, chassis 3064 was converted to 350S specs and was re-numbered #3052.

 

Of the 200S type only one car switched its number: from a 150S to the newer 200S.

 

As of the 450S, two cars changed identity and from the Tipo 60/61 Birdcage not a single car was "reborn" with a different number.

 

JoBo


Edited by JoBo, 22 May 2020 - 00:55.


#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 12:29

Maserati was always "molto speciale" with their paperwork....and from the Tipo 60/61 Birdcage not a single car was "reborn" with a different number.

 

JoBo

 

 

How about 'reborn' with a duplicate number...?

 

DCN



#14 JoBo

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 14:40

How about 'reborn' with a duplicate number...?

 

DCN

 

Doug,

not a single Birdcage was re-numbered. So not "reborn" or name it as you like....



#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 18:13

Going by your response above I guess I misread your line "...and from the Tipo 60/61 Birdcage not a single car was 'reborn' with a different number...".   

 

I read that as inferring that 'from the Tipo 60/61 Birdcage (forward)...which would mean onward, through the following 'Birdcage'-chassised models, not a single car was "reborn" with a different number - which is not quite the case).  You really meant that 'of' the Tipo 60/61 Birdcage (cars) not a single one was reborn with a different number.  Right?

 

DCN



#16 JoBo

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 08:17

Going by your response above I guess I misread your line "...and from the Tipo 60/61 Birdcage not a single car was 'reborn' with a different number...".   

 

I read that as inferring that 'from the Tipo 60/61 Birdcage (forward)...which would mean onward, through the following 'Birdcage'-chassised models, not a single car was "reborn" with a different number - which is not quite the case).  You really meant that 'of' the Tipo 60/61 Birdcage (cars) not a single one was reborn with a different number.  Right?

 

DCN

Doug,

yes, not one example of the entire T61/61-series was re-numbered!

 

JoBo


Edited by JoBo, 23 May 2020 - 08:17.


#17 Doug Nye

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 11:07

 

 

 

The assertion by Mr Capps that ‘the 4CLT was still a 4CL to Maserati’ is complete nonsense. The two models had totally different chassis, of different construction - hence the ‘T’ for ‘tubulare’ in the designation 4CLT.

 

 

Perhaps Don's meaning was that in chassis serial terms the 4CLTs simply picked up the next available number after the 4CL sequence had ended...in that sense chassis design was indeed irrelevant, being indicated in the associated type initials applied.

 

 So perhaps no need for the apparent heat?

 

DCN



#18 D-Type

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 11:13

Jhdrussel, you may not like Don Capps's bombastic style, but he does know what he is talking about. 

For example, he would not say something like Maserati did not use the term 4CLT internally unless he knew that they, as opposed to the Italian Press, still termed it a 4CL.

Edit:  Doug Nye has beaten me to it - and he too knows what he is talking about!


Edited by D-Type, 23 May 2020 - 11:16.


#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 08:38

Doug Nye’s statement, that Maserati picked up the next available number for each car, is obviously true. All 1.5-litre cars had numbers of the form 15xx, 16xx for the last cars. This was true of the 4CM, 6CM, 4CL and 4CLT. A similar convention was followed for cars of different engine capacity. 
 

it is also true that Maserati, like most of their contemporaries, regarded the engine as the most important component of a racing car. A change in type designation usually (not always) indicated a change in engine type. Changes in chassis design were often not recognised. In 1937, the 4CM gained a new frame, bodywork and suspension front and rear but not a new designation.

 

I don’t think this was the point that DCapps was making. he said, in this thread and another about photo identification, that the identity of a car is defined by its engine.  This is such a challenge to conventional wisdom, and such a repudiation of years of hard work by so many intelligent people that I really would like to know the evidence on which it was based. There are several examples that I can think of which may be useful. 

 

in 1939, the 4CM 1555 was fitted with a 4CL engine. These were completely different engines in cylinder dimensions and the number of valves. Was the identity changed?

in the 1950s, many 250Fs changed their identity. These are well documented in David McKinney’s book. We also know that many cars had engine changes, both between races and overnight during a race weekend. If DCapps’ assertion was true we should expect to see a strong correlation between these things. 
 

Like D-Type, I am sure that Don Capps would not make the statements he has without evidence. Can we see some of that evidence?



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#20 JoBo

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 09:52

Doug Nye’s statement, that Maserati picked up the next available number for each car, is obviously true. All 1.5-litre cars had numbers of the form 15xx, 16xx for the last cars. This was true of the 4CM, 6CM, 4CL and 4CLT. A similar convention was followed for cars of different engine capacity. 
 

it is also true that Maserati, like most of their contemporaries, regarded the engine as the most important component of a racing car. A change in type designation usually (not always) indicated a change in engine type. Changes in chassis design were often not recognised. In 1937, the 4CM gained a new frame, bodywork and suspension front and rear but not a new designation.

 

I don’t think this was the point that DCapps was making. he said, in this thread and another about photo identification, that the identity of a car is defined by its engine.  This is such a challenge to conventional wisdom, and such a repudiation of years of hard work by so many intelligent people that I really would like to know the evidence on which it was based. There are several examples that I can think of which may be useful. 

 

in 1939, the 4CM 1555 was fitted with a 4CL engine. These were completely different engines in cylinder dimensions and the number of valves. Was the identity changed?

in the 1950s, many 250Fs changed their identity. These are well documented in David McKinney’s book. We also know that many cars had engine changes, both between races and overnight during a race weekend. If DCapps’ assertion was true we should expect to see a strong correlation between these things. 
 

Like D-Type, I am sure that Don Capps would not make the statements he has without evidence. Can we see some of that evidence?

Maserati -in the 1950s- also delivered/sold spare motors to customers. For example: 300S, chassis #3058, was sold new to Parravano. He also purchased a 350S, chassis #3052. This car was originally build as a standard 300S (#3064) but then modified to 3,5-specs incl. a new engine with that capaccity. The original 3-liter engine of chassis #3064 was re-stamped by Maserati to "3058" and sold as a spare to Parravano. The new engine number also came to the USA without taxes as the car with that number was already in the US.

 

The "musical-chair" game of Maserati was quite common in the prewar days as they were more of less a small "officina" rather than a company. This changed from the later 1940s on and into the 1950s, when Maserati S.p.A. became a manufacturer of cars for the international market (USA, South America and -of course- Europe).

 

BUT: I found no less than 14 Ghibli-GT-Coupes from the late 60s/early 70s in the USA that shared the same chassis number with cars of that type in Europe! Also I found 2 Boras with that issue.......

 

JoBo



#21 Roger Clark

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 09:08

 

 

Many continue to be the prisoner of the ways things were made very simplistic to explain certain things in the past. That Auto-Union never used the Type "A-B-C-D" designations or that the 4CLT was still a 4CL to Maserati just some of the examples as to how simplification tends to encourage the presentist reluctant to re-examine the past.

 

Just sayin'....

 

HDC

In Maserati by Orsini and Zagari, there are reproductions of Maserati engineering drawings, clearly labelled 4CLT.48.



#22 JoBo

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 14:36

In Maserati by Orsini and Zagari, there are reproductions of Maserati engineering drawings, clearly labelled 4CLT.48.

 

You guys are becoming off-topic...

 

JoBo