A great little car for a lovely sunny day:
4CS was Maserati's first sports car intended for the 1100cc class at the Mille Miglia. These little endurance racers were designed from the successful straight-eight grand prix cars which the Maserati brothers used to found their company. They continued the firm's success by winning class victories at the Mille Miglia in 1932, 1934, 1935 and '36.
What made the 4CS so potent was a near 100 bhp-per-liter engine with twin overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication and roots supercharger. The combination of this power with a slim, cycle fender body and drilled chassis made the 4CS attractive to private drivers and customers including Taruffi, Bianco and Scuderia Subalpina which were promised almost 95mph.
The first 4CS 1100 appeared as a prototype at the 1931 Mille Miglia and was initially named after its detachable cylinder head construction, or cilindi testa riportata (4CTR). Eventually, five cars would follow and adopt the 4CS moniker. The first of these was displayed with Brianza coachwork at the 1932 Milan Motor Show.
Never resting on a single engine or design, the Maserati Brothers produced a huge number of 4CS variants including the single seat 4CM for Vetturetta classes (above). Maserati also experimented with increasingly larger engines, the most immediate of which was the 4CS 1500 which shared its cylinder dimensions with the Grand Prix car and used a fixed-head design. Later designs included the 4CS 2000 (below) and 2500 with completed revised engine blocks.
Chassis no. 1124 - This car was delivered to Turin-based Scuderia Subalpina on March 15, 1935, a quasi-works-team associated with Maserati. It was one of three Mille Miglia sports cars ordered by this wealthy and well-connected racing team. The 1935 event saw Subalpina's new 1124 being driven in the great race by either Gildo Strazza (racing number 20 or by Guido Romano (racing number 23). Of the two cars only Romano finished in a respectable 25th place overall.
Chassis 1124 was then reequipped with a 1500cc engine in place of its original 1100cc power unit. By 1969 the car was owned by Briggs Cunningham with drastic alterations including an independent front suspension and a new all-enveloping body much was much wider and habitable than the original cycle fender version.
This car was offered at Les Grandes Marques a Monaco - Important Historic Motor Cars and Automobilia Auction by Bonhams on 20 May 2006. It was the highlight sale of the weekend, fetching 550 000 Euros.
Now, a small gallery: