Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car

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Lot 308*
Ex-A.J. Lees, 1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car

Sold for £ 243,500 (US$ 293,907) inc. premium
Ex-A.J. Lees
1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Here we are delighted to offer this glorious-looking, exceptionally well-crafted Maserati based upon the legendary Bologna-based family company’s original 8C-2800 model raced so widely in Europe and beyond during the early 1930s. USA based restorer Chuck Sim’s brief from the current vendor was to complete the car to “as original a specification as possible,” and this objective was pursued with admirable zeal and attention to detail.

The car has been assembled and completed from an original restoration project ‘kit of parts’ which had been accumulated over many years during creation of the well-known A J Lees Collection here in the UK, which was created over a lengthy period, largely spanning the 1970s to the 1990s. This ‘kit of parts’ included many both original and re-sourced components that are effectively impossible to find today without the additional investment demands of re-drawing and fabricating from square one.

What came together in the Lees Collection proved to be a quite remarkable assembly of mixed original, re-sourced Maserati 8C components which included chassis frame, major engine castings and internal components, major transmission castings and internal components, axles, brake drums, back-plates and internals, steering, radiator, radiator cowl, bodywork assemblies, instruments, electrics, even many minor fixtures and fittings – the majority in fact of the kind of detail components which can make or mar any such restoration project, and whose absence can often prove so disproportionately costly to correct that they break the heart of a well-meaning enthusiast, and the total project remains uncompleted.

An approximate cross-section of the parts offered in the Lees Collection Maserati 8C ‘kit’ included the following:

Front axle, crankshafts, cylinder block, crank-case, cylinder head, sump, front timing case, cam boxes, inlet manifolds, eight unused pistons by Cosworth, gearbox, axle tube, torque tube, propeller shaft, clutch components, suspension leaf springs, shock absorbers, front hubs, rear hubs, Steering box, stub axles, brake drums, boxed brake shoes, back plates, exhaust system, diff casing, handbrake cable, fuel tank straps, HT leads, half shaft, blower manifold, fuel filler assembly (flip top), starter handle, foot pedal, Kygas, radiator cap, supercharger…plus many, many more.

The missing components were then located by the present vendor and his capable restorer, and the many unmachined castings and other unfinished components included in the overall ‘kit’ were then perfected and assembled. It was decided to complete the engine in as-original 2800cc nominal configuration although a 3000 crankshaft was available within the array of parts.

We understand that the cylinder head and cams are probably original period components, together with the engine gear case, some of the intake manifold assembly and some chassis parts such as the semi-elliptic leaf springs etc. While many of the components purchased originally from the Lees Collection were unfinished or fresh from the foundry, inspection revealed that they were all “of fair quality and quite useable.” Painstaking machining and hand-finishing transformed such parts into high quality components which may be characterised as being absolutely useable.

Since the supercharged straight-8 cylinder twin-cam engine delivers considerable power and torque the decision was made during the Lees Collection period to include a later-model 8CM-style hydraulic drum brake system with the kit rather than rely on the inferior original-style cable brake arrangement. When the slipper-bodied centerline single-seat Maserati 8CM emerged in Europe for the 1933 Grand Prix season it became the first such car to feature hydraulic brakes since the French Grand Prix-winning 3-liter straight-8 Duesenberg in 1921.

As a useable Vintage-style racer/road car this Maserati promises all the sensation, sights, sounds and feel of a multi-million dollar original but available here and now at a realistic level. The craftsmen responsible for finalising the car had to complete the interior and source gauges, fine-finish the various fuel and oil tanks which had come from the Lees Collection with the kit, and also complete the radiator system. No original-style magneto could be found for the engine’s ignition system, so a similar-period Vertex has been used with a custom cradle to adapt it to this application. At the time when a change of circumstances decided the vendor to offer this car for sale, the engine had been run successfully, and the car has been “taken round the block several times, accelerating up through the gearbox and braking back down again – and it all works, without any adverse issues so far.”

From 1930-32 the Maserati brothers’ Bologna factory built some 14 Maserati 26M and 26M Sport competition cars with 2495cc 185bhp straight-8 engines, and the sports version established complete superiority through the 1930 racing season. Their brief reign was then overturned by the new Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza and Bugatti Type 51 twin-cam cams for 1931. It was in response to this reversal in fortune that Alfieri Maserati then responded by increasing the cylinder bore of his 26M engine from 65mm to 69mm – the maximum possible permitted by his ‘2500’ block casting – which with the 69mm stroke length produced a displacement of 2811cc. Power output was claimed to be 205bhp at 5,500rpm. Bologna-based carburetor manufacturer Edoardo Weber collaborated with Maserati in perfecting the new engine’s induction system, and it was with this 8C-2800 model that the marques of Maserati and Weber grew together.

This new engine was installed in the proven 26M design chassis frame but the bodywork was refined and improved, adopting a lower profile for greater aerodynamic efficiency and better penetration.

The Maserati 8C-2800 made its debut in the 1931 French Grand Prix at Montlhery, just south of Paris, where the rugged Luigi Fagioli broke the lap record. A second car was available in time for Rene Dreyfus to drive it in the Monza Grand Prix that September, where Fagioli won in spectacular style.

Against this background we now offer this superb, part original supercharged Maserati 8C-2800 that could undoubtedly reward an enthusiastic new owner with some tremendous truly vintage-style motoring and motor sport. It is a car that has to be viewed in person to appreciate it fully. It is, above all, a magnificent tribute not only to the original Maserati family company’s contemporary competition car design, but also to their modern-era counterparts who have produced such a mouth-watering machine. In period such a car fought pitched battles on track with the Alfa Romeo Monza, and the Bugatti Type 51. In context, this Maserati will surely offer its new owner tremendous value. We have been advised that HTP – Historic Technical Passport – papers should be issued upon inspection. This is due to take place prior to sale and interested parties are advised to check with the Bonhams office. The car will be subject to 5% import duty if remaining in the EU.
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
Ex-A.J. Lees,1931-Type Maserati Tipo 8C-2800 Two-Seat Sports/Formula Competition Car
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