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  #1  
Old 10-19-2011, 11:25 AM
Maserati151 Maserati151 is offline
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Maserati Tipo 151 History

Finally, after over 40 years, a Maserati Tipo 151 has returned to the track. I have been following the history of these cars for many years and noticed that in almost all accounts, the serial numbers have been mixed up in these stories.

After a conversation with Maserati historian Willem Oosthoek, I have been told that the Maserati Factory occasionally changed chassis numbers of cars that left the factory. This might be the reason that most of the stories that I have read are calling the newly restored car chassis 151.006. I believe that the chassis number .006 was destroyed at Daytona in 1963. .006, owned by Briggs Cunningham, first raced at Le Mans in 1962. So did its sister car 151.004. .006 wore a red band on the tip of its nose to distinguish it from .004 on the track. The cars were not exactly alike. .004 had a hole cut on its hood for easy access to the radiator cap. This hole was cut directly between the 2 blue racing stripes. .006 did not originally have such a hole when delivered to the track, but it was cut out prior to the race. The hole was cut off-centered. After Le Mans, the cars raced in the U.S. In photos, humps are seen in the front air intakes, probably a result of the extra headlamps for Le Mans. The car with the centered radiator cap hole had one of these humps. This car was .004. The other car, with the red band at Le Mans, and off-centered radiator cap had 2 of these humps.

The car with the 2 humps and off-centered cap raced in only 4 races: Le Mans, Bridgehampton (it ran as high as second place. I was there) and Daytona where it was destroyed in a fiery crash. Cunningham sold the remains, and it was buried in a landfill in California. The other car still exists.

I just read a nice post on this site about the remaining car, which was beautifully restored, although it has the wrong nose. The photos are great! The car has a red band on its nose. The car that had the red nose band no longer exists. So I am ASSuming that the Factory changed or mixed up the chassis numbers at some time when the cars were returned for service.

I have spent a lot of time confirming this post and have attached a pdf file that shows some of the history of the 2 cars. The photographic evidence is solid. There is no question that the car (with the 2 humps and off-centered cap) is the same car that raced at Bridgehampton and was destroyed at Daytona. The present day car might have a red band on its nose, but it is not the car that had the red band at Le Mans in 1962. The photos clearly prove it.

I am sorry if the pdf is not clear when enlarged. This site has a size limit.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MaseratiTipo151Comparison.pdf (864.3 KB, 28 views)
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2011, 12:44 PM
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henk4 henk4 is offline
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Welcome, glad you moved the discussion to this place rather than on the main site.

I have been wondering whether you also raised your voice when the car was offered for auction at the Bonhams Gstaad auction in December 2006. At that time the current owner bought the car, being advised by what I would call the most prominent Maserati expert around, (without playing down my countryman Willem Oosthoek ) that this car was 006. The car was at Kauss for a long time and the (Dutch) buyer of the Kauss collection decided to let it go.

The owner is planning to replace the nose section with a new including the small bonnet, when everything else in the front section works properly. The current nose set-up facilitates working on the car to a great degree.

You state the car on the main site could well be 006, but never raced with the stripe. So what could have happened? A switch of chassis plates, a switch of nose sections? I have not seen a chassis plate, or a stamp somewhere, but the car was more or less constantly surrounded by mechanics, a thorough search was not possible.
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Last edited by henk4; 10-19-2011 at 01:02 PM. Reason: adding auction year
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Old 10-19-2011, 03:10 PM
Maserati151 Maserati151 is offline
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Good question.

Those auction people really know their business, so I can only ASSume that the car has chassis number .006 on its engine or chassis. Since the difference in the 2 cars is so slight, the experts might not know the difference. I would hope that I am wrong. I never took the red stripe on the car, while at Kauss' museum, seriously in the first place.
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Old 10-19-2011, 06:35 PM
Maserati151 Maserati151 is offline
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More Thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
Welcome, glad you moved the discussion to this place rather than on the main site.

I have been wondering whether you also raised your voice when the car was offered for auction at the Bonhams Gstaad auction in December 2006. At that time the current owner bought the car, being advised by what I would call the most prominent Maserati expert around, (without playing down my countryman Willem Oosthoek ) that this car was 006. The car was at Kauss for a long time and the (Dutch) buyer of the Kauss collection decided to let it go.

The owner is planning to replace the nose section with a new including the small bonnet, when everything else in the front section works properly. The current nose set-up facilitates working on the car to a great degree.

You state the car on the main site could well be 006, but never raced with the stripe. So what could have happened? A switch of chassis plates, a switch of nose sections? I have not seen a chassis plate, or a stamp somewhere, but the car was more or less constantly surrounded by mechanics, a thorough search was not possible.
Switching nose sections would also require changing or moving the radiator, spout and cap. I can't imagine why anyone would do that, but one never knows. Willem Oosthoek states that switching chassis plates was a common practice, but .006 was .006 from Le Mans to Bridgehampton. Were either of the cars returned to the factory after first racing in the U.S.? If not, the only one who could have changed the chassis numbers was Cunningham.

In 1962, Tipo 151.004 was entered in the Road America 500 and the Times Grand Prix at Riverside equipped with a 5.6 liter speed boat engine according to historical sources. If, as I say, that is the car in question, does it have that engine today? I never read any account of that 5.6 being re-substituted for another 4 liter unit. I have seen a Youtube video of the engine running on a rack which went into the present day car. Which motor? Yet another mystery!
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  #5  
Old 10-20-2011, 10:38 AM
Maserati151 Maserati151 is offline
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5.6 Motor

According to Maserati Historian Willem Oosthoek, Augie Pabst told him that .004 never had the 5.6 motor. Mystery solved!
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:42 AM
moondoggie moondoggie is offline
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Really awesome!!
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:20 PM
kylawills kylawills is offline
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That's awesome!!!
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