The Ex-Bill Kimberly/Dr Dick Thompson/Augie Pabst, Briggs Cunningham Le Mans Team ,1962 Maserati  Tipo 151 Sports-Racing Berlinetta  151/006
Lot 204
The Ex-Bill Kimberly/Dr Dick Thompson/Augie Pabst, Briggs Cunningham Le Mans Team ,1962 Maserati Tipo 151 Sports-Racing Berlinetta 151/006
Sold for CHF 2,046,096 (US$ 2,237,287) inc. premium
Lot Details
The Ex-Bill Kimberly/Dr Dick Thompson/Augie Pabst, Briggs Cunningham Le Mans Team
1962 Maserati Tipo 151 Sports-Racing Berlinetta
Chassis no. 151/006


  • The Italian Maserati marque holds a very special allure, having
    produced not only some of the most potent high-performance
    competition cars the sporting world has ever seen, but having done so
    within a remarkably intimate and friendly family atmosphere, the
    factory engineers and mechanics working in close personal
    relationship with their customers. This wider Maserati family
    triumphed or failed together, and even the grand failures of Il
    Tridente are commonly regarded today as having been fantastically
    charismatic, and highly collectible.
    Here we are delighted to present this V8-engined, 195mph Maserati
    which raced wheel-to-wheel at Le Mans with some of the classic car
    world’s most iconic – and highly-valued – contemporary motor
    racing legends; the 1962 24-Hours race-winning 4-litre Ferrari 330TRI/
    LM Spider of Phil Hill/Olivier Gendebien, the similar-engined Ferrari
    330GTO/LM Berlinetta and the unique Aston Martin Project 212 Coupé.
    Maserati’s 4-cam V8-engined ‘bazooka’ offered here is the sole
    complete survivor of just three of these mouth-wateringly muscular
    Maserati 151s which were tailor-made for two private entrants to
    contest the Le Mans Grand Prix d’Endurance.
    The prototype Maserati 151 – evenly-numbered chassis ‘151/002’
    – was completed to the order of Paris-based American businessman
    Colonel Johnny Simone’s Maserati France distributorship. The follow-
    up twin-sister cars – chassis ‘151/004’ and ‘151/006’ now
    offered here – were supplied to American multi-millionaire sportsman
    Mr Briggs Cunningham for what would be his famous racing team’s 13th
    quest for victory at Le Mans.
    Maserati had run a V8-engined Coupé-bodied car before at Le Mans, in
    1957, when with encouragement from team driver Stirling Moss the Omer
    Orsi-run Modena concern had commissioned British aerodynamicist Frank
    Costin to create a slippery new body shape to be applied to a pre-
    existing model 450S sports-racing chassis. The body was built in
    great haste by the Zagato company of Milan, and at Le Mans it proved
    a great disappointment – slower than its conventional open roadster-
    bodied 450S sister cars. The enclosed cockpit was also badly sealed
    against engine heat and fumes, and drivers Moss and Harry Schell were
    nearly asphyxiated in it before it finally broke a half-shaft and was
    withdrawn after just 38 racing laps.
    Maserati relied upon open-cockpit sports-prototype designs 1958-61,
    in which year the Commission Sportive International – regulating
    body of the Federation International de l’Automobile (FIA) –
    announced that from 1962 forward the endurance-racing World
    Championship title would be awarded for Grand Touring cars only,
    abandoning the traditional open-cockpit sports-prototype car. This
    decision – which carried the further requirement that ‘GT cars’
    would be defined as models of which at least 100 had been built –
    attracted little industry support. The organisers of the Le Mans 24-
    Hours classic – by far the world’s most important road race at
    that time – were equally unimpressed. While admitting GT cars to
    their 1962 race, they also launched a new Challenge Mondial de
    Vitesse et d’Endurance (World Challenge for Speed and Endurance) to
    be run concurrently with the Sebring 12-Hours, Targa Florio,
    Nürburgring 1,000Kms and Le Mans 24-Hours rounds for the GT World
    Championship. This Challenge would be open to all cars entered in the
    GT, Prototype and Experimental categories with engine sizes between
    700cc and 4-litres.
    In Modena, Maserati company head Omer Orsi and his 37-year old chief
    engineer Giulio Alfieri were keen to maintain their marque’s
    competition image to promote continuing sales of their Maserati
    3500GT production ‘supercar’. Colonel Simone and Briggs
    Cunningham speedily placed orders for ‘Experimental’ category cars
    for Le Mans 1962, and Alfieri immediately set about design of what
    emerged as the Maserati Tipo 151. He based its V8-cylinder engine
    upon the existing Maserati range of 4-cam road and racing designs.
    These engines had ranged from 4.2-litres (for Indianapolis and
    ‘Monzanapolis’ use) to 6.5-litres for racing power boats. Reducing
    the 4.2-litre variant’s cylinder bore by 2.8mm – from 93.8 to
    91.0mm – achieved 3999cc, to comply with the ACO’s new capacity
    requirement. Alfieri predicted 350bhp-plus from this unit which he
    considered too much for his 1959-61 ‘Birdcage’ type of multi-
    tubular trellis chassis construction. He reverted therefore to a
    strong and simple ladder-frame chassis with welded-on fine-gauge body-
    supporting tubes, and the Coupé or Berlinetta bodywork crafted from
    lightweight sheet aluminium.
    Development was slow by Maserati standards, and Col. Simone’s
    Maserati France team prototype was not run until April 9, 1962, on
    the Modena aerautodromo circuit, two days too late for the Le Mans
    Test Weekend in France. The 151’s body shape had been developed
    with help from wind tunnel tests at Milan University, and employed an
    Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale windscreen. Engine bore and stroke
    dimensions were 91mm x 75.8mm, and with induction via four twin-choke
    Weber 45IDM carburettors, the unit developed a claimed 360bhp at
    7,000rpm. The engine was dry-sumped, but even so its height demanded
    a large clearance bulge in the centre of the bonnet lid. Twin-plug
    ignition featured distributor firing for one set of eight Lodge
    plugs, magneto for the other set. Valerio Colotti designed the five-
    speed constant-mesh gearbox which was mounted in unit with the ZF
    limited-slip final-drive. Maserati-made Girling-patent disc brakes
    were fitted all round, and 16-inch diameter Borrani wire wheels
    carried Dunlop Racing tyres.
    An experimental new de Dion rear suspension system was designed by
    Ing. Alfieri’s youthful assistant GianPaolo Dallara – of
    subsequent Lamborghini and Dallara competition car fame. Progressive
    testing of the 151 prototype saw Maserati’s veteran chief mechanic
    and test driver Guerrino Bertocchi achieving 305km/h – 190mph on the
    public Autostrada – and Lucien Bianchi 314km/h – 195mph – on
    track at Monza.
    The twin sister Maserati 151s for Briggs Cunningham’s team were
    quickly completed, with slightly revised body contours, particularly
    around the roofline, and with higher door windows. These two cars –
    liveried in American white with twin centreline blue stripes – also
    had increased fuel tankage – 134 litres compared to the
    prototype’s 119.
    For the Le Mans 24-Hours on June 23-24, 1962, the Cunningham Maserati
    151s were to be driven by Roy Salvadori/Dr Dick Thompson (chassis
    ‘151/006’ offered here, complete with bright red nose-top band for
    easy identification) and by Bruce McLaren/Walt Hansgen
    (‘151/004’). However, after trying ‘006’ in practice, tall
    Salvadori confessed he simply didn’t fit so he transferred to the
    Cunningham team’s Jaguar E-Type entry, and intended Jaguar co-driver
    Bill Kimberly joined Thompson in ‘006’ instead. The pace of these
    Experimental class Maseratis was demonstrated by McLaren/Hansgen
    setting fourth fastest time in the opening practice session, bettered
    only by three factory Ferraris, while in second practice Dick
    Thompson set third fastest time in ‘006’ offered here. His time
    was bettered only by the ultimately winning 4-litre Ferrari prototype
    of Phil Hill and by the Ferrari 330GTO/LM driven by Michael Parkes.
    While the 4-litre GTO lapped Le Mans in 3mins 58.6secs, ‘006’
    achieved 3mins 59.1 – just a half-second slower. Meanwhile, the red-
    liveried Maserati France prototype 151 was to be co-driven by Maurice
    Trintignant/Lucien Bianchi.
    These spectacular-looking, sensational-sounding Maserati 151s ran
    3-4-5 in the opening race stages behind the finest that Ferrari and
    Aston Martin could offer. During the scheduled pit stops early that
    Saturday evening Dick Thompson actually led Le Mans in this very car,
    before holding second place behind Phil Hill’s 4-litre Ferrari.
    After four hours ‘006’ lay third, but at the turn of the fifth
    hour Dick Thompson crashed mildly at Tertre Rouge immediately after a
    pit stop, due to improperly-installed fresh brake pads. The car
    toppled onto its side in the sand trap, then flopped back onto its
    wheels. Damage was minimal but one rear-mounted oil tank was
    displaced and, although the car remained driveable, regulations
    prevented its lost oil being replenished so soon after a pit stop so
    it had to be retired, though still raceworthy.
    Both sister cars ‘002’ and ‘004’ experienced tyre failures,
    and the Maserati France car was eventually retired with suspension
    failure after nine hours and 152 laps, while the McLaren/Hansgen
    Cunningham car climbed into fifth place before a mechanical failure
    ended their race at 6am Sunday morning.
    All three 151s were repaired in Modena post-race, and the two
    Cunningham cars then flown to New York, ‘006’ making the trip on
    September 7. Its sister ‘004’ contested the Road America ‘500’
    at Elkhart Lake two days later, co-driven by Hansgen/Augie Pabst.
    They held third place most of the way behind Jim Hall’s Chaparral
    and Harry Heuer’s Scarab.

    On September 16, ‘006’ ran in the Bridgehampton 400Kms on Long
    Island, Pabst setting fourth fastest practice time in this imposing
    car and running second behind Pedro Rodriguez’s Le Mans-winning 4-
    litre Ferrari 330TRI/LM. Ultimately Pabst had an off-course excursion
    in which ‘006’s engine ingested sand, and after 55 laps a piston
    failed. On October 14 the ‘Los Angeles Times’ Grand Prix was run
    at Riverside, California, with both Cunningham team 151s competing.
    Car ‘006’ was again entrusted to Augie Pabst.

    While its sister ‘004’ had been fitted with a 5.7-litre V8 power
    boat engine, ‘006’ retained its 4-litre unit and on race day
    proved to be the faster Cunningham Maserati. Pabst finishing seventh.
    After this Riverside race, Briggs Cunningham offered this 4-litre 151
    for sale and it was bought by San Francisco Buick dealer Bev Spencer.

    On November 10, 1962, Spencer ran it at Vaca Valley Raceway for
    driver Stan Peterson, who started full of confidence having just won
    the Formula Junior event. He took the lead starting lap 2 and
    overturned ‘006’ at the next corner, landing in soft mud which
    minimised body damage. Peterson repaired it in his Oakland speed
    shop, and ten days after Vacaville ‘006’ starred – looking
    immaculate – in the San Francisco imported car show. In December it
    starred again in a press photo opportunity at Laguna Seca, driven by
    Peterson, before Bev Spencer advertised it for sale in the April 1963
    issue of ‘Road & Track’, asking price $7,950. It was acquired by
    31 year-old Chuck Jones of Santa Ana.
    In February 1963 Cunningham’s retained 5.7-litre sister car was
    destroyed in a fiery accident at Daytona from which driver Marvin
    Panch was lucky to escape alive. This left ‘006’ as the only
    Maserati 151 in America, and Chuck Jones entered it under his Team
    Meridian banner for driver Skip Hudson at Cotati – where Hudson
    drove it with the doors removed – finishing third. Jones then
    advertised it for sale in the July 27, 1963, edition of ‘Competition
    Press’, asking $8,250. In the absence of attractive offers the car
    was then driven solo by Hudson in the Road America ‘500’
    officially finishing 17th. Briggs Cunningham was so impressed by
    Hudson’s effort he gave the team his remaining stock of Maserati 151
    components, including three spare V8 engines, two gearboxes and the
    burned-out wreckage of ‘004’ – which was subsequently buried in
    a landfill site near Newport Beach.

    In the Bridgehampton 500Kms, Hudson spun on his own oil from a
    leaking hose, damaged the right-front bodywork and retired since the
    engine had part-seized. Maserati ‘006’ was not raced again. Jones
    instead converted it for road use, replacing the damaged 4-litre
    engine with a believed 4.2-litre unit from the Cunningham stock. He
    replaced the battered front bodywork with a new and more pointed-
    section ‘clamshell’ opening panel, offering much improved access.
    Two large intake ducts were sunk into the nose-top. The sill fuel
    tanks were removed and a 35 US gallon tail tank fitted. Running with
    truck silencers ‘006’ provided Chuck Jones with street-legal
    exotic motoring for the following two years. He sold the car in 1965
    to Bob Reynaud of San Francisco in exchange for a new Lincoln
    Continental and $7,000 cash. The car, painted red and California-
    registered ‘311 MAF’, later resided with a motor trader in San
    Jose. It was finally acquired in 1983 by renowned German collector
    and Maserati enthusiast Peter Kaus. He retained the Jones-originated
    one-piece opening nose but had it modified closer to its original
    shape, with the nose-top intakes sealed, and the entire body was
    resprayed in original Briggs Cunningham team colours together with
    the red nose-top band as at Le Mans ’62.
    As offered here, the car is believed to retain the 4.2-litre engine
    fitted by Chuck Jones, and it was absolutely one of the stars of Mr
    Kaus’s magnificent Rosso Bianco Collection. In Mr Kaus’s
    ownership the car appeared in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, driven
    by British historic racing star Willie Green. It is today the only
    full surviving Maserati 151 of the three constructed; ‘004’ having
    been destroyed at Daytona, while ‘002’ was extensively modified
    before its chassis was destroyed at Le Mans in 1965. The removed
    1962/63 body of ‘002’ has survived, and is presently being
    restored upon a remade chassis frame.
    Here then is an extremely potent contemporary competitor to some of
    the most highly-prized of all great Ferraris and Aston Martins. It is
    effectively unique. It is extremely rare. It will surely command an
    entry at such renowned retro events as the Le Mans Classic and the
    Goodwood Revival Meeting and it is, above all, a V8-powered Maserati
    with genuine Le Mans, Bridgehampton and Road America racing
    provenance. Plus – above all – it has that unique cachet of having
    been built for, and campaigned by, the world-famous racing team
    master-minded by Mr Briggs Swift Cunningham.
    Estimate CHF 1,100,000 – 1,400,000

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