The Ex-Walt Hansgen/Augie Pabst and Bruce McLaren ,1961 Maserati Maserati Tipo 63 Sports Racing-Prototype  63.010
Lot 206
The Ex-Walt Hansgen/Augie Pabst and Bruce McLaren ,1961 Maserati Maserati Tipo 63 Sports Racing-Prototype 63.010
Sold for CHF 712,397 (US$ 781,105) inc. premium
Lot Details
The Ex-Walt Hansgen/Augie Pabst and Bruce McLaren
1961 Maserati Maserati Tipo 63 Sports Racing-Prototype
Chassis no. 63.010


  • This most attractively presented four-cylinder engined sports-
    prototype began life as nothing less than the most successful – in
    terms of race wins - of all the rear-engined ‘Birdcage’ cars built
    by Maserati between 1961 and 1965. It is the second long-wheelbase
    Tipo 63 built and the second to have been delivered to American
    millionaire sportsman Briggs S. Cunningham’s world-famous racing
    team. It was in his blue-striped white national colours that this
    chassis won the 1961 SCCA National event at Bridgehampton, Long
    Island, and then the Road America 500-Miles classic at Elkhart Lake,
    Wisconsin, driven on both occasions by the great veteran American
    road racing star, Walt Hansgen.
    After its Cunningham team career it was returned to the Modena
    factory where it was consigned to long-term storage before being
    acquired as a rolling chassis in June 1965 by Californian-in-Modena,
    Tom Meade. He paid a reputed $850 for the engineless car, which
    appears to have been renumbered at that time as ‘63.021’. It is
    understood from the researches of Maserati historian Willem Oosthoek
    that, as recorded in his superb book ‘Maserati Tipo 63-64-65 –
    Birdcage to Supercage’ (Dalton Watson, 2004), “…Either Meade or
    the next owner, Brussels car dealer Léon Barbie, installed a 351 CID
    (5.7-litre) Ford V8 engine, a ZF gearbox and a conventional
    dashboard, this last feature making the car easy to identify”.
    Léon Barbie found a buyer for the Maserati-Ford in Armand Blaton who
    displayed it at the 1965 Brussels Salon de L’Automobile. Blaton
    subsequently advertised the car for sale in the May 1968 issue of
    ‘Road & Track’ magazine in which it was misidentified as one of
    the Camoradi team cars which had been operated early in 1961 by
    Lloyd ‘Lucky’ Casner. The car was priced at $7,000 and it was
    bought by German collector Peter Kaus, who commissioned the Docking
    Spitzley racing team in England to restore it for him. The Alan
    Docking/Matt Spitzley team campaigned Formula 2 cars at the time and
    had been seeking a winter project to enable them to keep their
    mechanic team employed between seasons. The work was completed to
    Peter Kaus’s requirements, and the present 2.4-litre four-cylinder
    Maserati engine from a power boat was installed, driving via a
    Maserati five-speed transaxle.
    The marine engine had been restored and prepared for automotive use
    by highly respected Aston Martin specialist engineer Rex Woodgate. It
    was claimed to produce some 215bhp. In fact in its original condition
    this chassis was powered by a 3-litre Maserati V12-cylinder racing
    engine, and that particular power unit – serial ‘63.010’ – is
    believed to survive to this day.
    If we now trace the background history of chassis ‘63.010’ offered
    here, it was first completed by the Maserati factory in June 1961. It
    emerged at that time as a long-nosed, long-wheelbase Tipo 63 with
    toughened glass windscreen, V12 engine and what have become known as
    ‘gun turret’ exhausts, from the manner in which its four separate
    exhaust tailpipes emerged via slots in the car’s shapely rear fender
    The first of the new rear-engined ‘Birdcage’ Maseratis had made
    its debut on test at Modena on December 15, 1960. It was powered by a
    2.8-litre four-cylinder engine, although Ing. Giulio Alfieri’s
    original Tipo 63 design had called for a new 2,930cc V8 power unit.
    Budgetary restrictions dictated, however, that as many components for
    the rear-engined car as possible should be drawn from the existing
    Tipo 60/61 front-engined ‘Birdcage’ parts store, and the V8
    project was shelved. The first three Maserati 63s were then completed
    during March 1961, respectively, for Briggs Cunningham, for Count
    Giovanni Volpi’s Scuderia Serenissima and for ‘Lucky’ Casner’s
    Camoradi team. They used even-numbered chassis serials,
    ’63.002’-’63.006’. The American-owned cars competed in the
    Sebring 12-Hours race, while the Volpi car made its debut later in
    the Sicilian Targa Florio. Masten Gregory led at Sebring in the
    Camoradi Maserati 63 which later retired with rear suspension
    failure, while Walt Hansgen/Bruce McLaren in the Cunningham car
    survived six hours before a cracked transaxle casing leaked all the
    oil away, and the transmission seized.
    Criticism from the new owners of the four-cylinder model led Ing.
    Alfieri to consider replacing it with the smoother-running 3-litre
    V12 engine, several of which were available at Modena, derived from
    the 1957 2.5-litre Formula 1 unit installed in 250F chassis. A
    prototype 3-litre Maserati 63 with 3-litre V12 engine installed was
    hastily completed in time for the Le Mans Test Weekend of April 8-9.
    Giorgio Scarlatti lapped in it faster than any of its four-cylinder
    sisters. His best time of 4mins 3.3secs was fourth fastest overall,
    bettered only by the front-engined Ferrari 250TRI/61s of Phil Hill
    and ‘Taffy’ von Trips and the works V6-engined Ferrari Dino 246SP
    of Richie Ginther. Where Ferrari had dared only to mount a V6-
    cylinder engine behind the driver in their posteriore-powered
    prototype, Maserati had made the leap and had mounted a 3-litre V12
    there – two years before Ferrari would dare introduce their
    similarly-configured 250P design.

    While the four-cylinder cars were used in the twisty-circuit Targa
    Florio and Nürburgring 1,000Km classics, Alfieri initiated a crash
    programme to upgrade the Tipo 63s to the 3-litre V12 engine for Le
    Mans. Two V12-powered cars were prepared for Briggs Cunningham, the
    re-engined short-wheelbase chassis ’63.002’ and the car now
    offered here – long-wheelbase chassis ’63.010’ brand-new.

    It appeared at Le Mans for the 24-Hours race on June 10-11, 1961,
    wearing race number ‘6’, to be co-driven by New Zealand-born
    Formula 1 Cooper star Bruce McLaren and Cunningham’s former United
    States Road Racing Champion Walt Hansgen. In practice McLaren/Hansgen
    set third fastest lap time of 4mins 3.8secs, bettered only by the
    Ginther/von Trips Ferrari Dino 246SP and the Rodriguez brothers’
    Ferrari 250TRI/61. Walt Hansgen ran third in the opening stages of
    the long race, and lay fourth in the early evening when rain began to
    fall. In those conditions he began to gain rapidly on the Ferraris
    ahead but on his 32nd lap – at 6.30pm – he slithered off into the
    sandbanks at Tertre Rouge corner, crushing the car’s nose and
    bursting its twin oil tanks. Hansgen attributed his accident to
    leaking oil smearing the windscreen which hampered his vision and
    eventually coating his front tyres which sent him off into the
    sandbank. The sister Cunningham Maserati V12 co-driven by Augie Pabst/
    Dick Thompson, ran sixth after five hours, and despite lengthy pit-
    stops to change spark plugs finally finished fourth overall. The
    Serenissima Tipo 63 of Vaccarella/Scarfiotti overheated into
    retirement after 53 laps, a head seal having failed.

    Walt Hansgen was officially clocked at 260km/h, 162.5mph, through the
    speed trap on the Mulsanne Straight, though it was by common consent
    sited in the wrong place – Hansgen seeing 270km/h – 168.7mph –
    beyond it. Meanwhile the short-wheelbase Tipo 63s into which the V12
    engines had been shoe-horned were criticised by their drivers for
    being too cramped and uncomfortable. Consequently Briggs Cunningham
    returned his SWB car to the factory and had a long-wheelbase
    replacement produced, which inherited the original car’s chassis
    serial. This LWB chassis offered here was in contrast considered
    acceptable and was retained unchanged.
    Willem Oosthoek’s researches indicate that the car’s chassis may
    have been renumbered ’63.011’ during its post-Le Mans rebuild,
    before being shipped back to Cunningham in New York with conventional
    exhausts fitted in place of the ‘gun turret’ devices. On August
    16, 1961, the car was then driven by Walt Hansgen in the SCCA
    Bridgehampton National event, in which – as race number ‘60’ –
    the veteran fought a terrific duel with Roger Penske’s front-
    engined ‘Birdcage’ Maserati Tipo 61, beating it into second place
    by less than a second, and again tripping the main-straight speed-
    trap at over 160mph.
    On September 10, the 5th Road America ‘500’ at Elkhart Lake saw
    Walt Hansgen and Augie Pabst co-driving ‘63.010’ offered here,
    under race number ‘61’ with a low-cut perspex windshield fitted.
    Pabst was able to take the car into the lead and by the time he
    handed over to Hansgen after 85 laps the Maserati held a whole lap
    advantage. Hansgen rejoined with a 43 second lead over Penske,
    eventually taking the chequered flag after 125 laps and 6hrs 5mins
    racing. This Alfred Momo-prepared Cunningham Maserati Tipo 63 had
    displayed outstanding speed and reliability in face of strong
    On October 15 it was then driven by Augie Pabst in the Riverside
    Consolation event, failing to finish due to a fire. During practice
    at the Californian desert circuit its original 2,989cc V12 engine had
    failed, and had been replaced for the Consolation race by the 2,985cc
    short-stroke unit taken from the team’s sister long-wheelbase
    chassis ‘63.002’. It was after this event that the car was
    returned by Cunningham to the Italian factory in November 1961.

    Here we offer this most historic rear-engined ‘Birdcage’ Maserati
    eligible to compete in all manner of current Historic events with its
    four-cylinder engine ready installed but equally poised to be
    reunited by some kind new owner with the type of 3-litre V12-cylinder
    engine used in its heyday. Cunningham team Maseratis very rarely come
    to public auction, and here we are delighted to offer the most
    successful of the rear-engined breed.
    Estimate: CHF 650,000 – 950,000

Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first €50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from €50,001 to €1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over €1,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.