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						Maserati 450 S 10
Aluminum Maserati 450S Replica

1957 Maserati 450S Replica

By Dean Larson

The 450S occupies a pivotal moment in Maserati history. On one hand, the car was visually stunning and competitive in FIA endurance racing, but on the other hand, it nearly ruined the company after one fateful day at the Venezuelan Grand Prix in 1957.

The design of the 450S borrowed much from the earlier 300S, but with its own tubular chassis, De Dion rear axle, and coil-spring suspension. Seeking to give the 450S some extra muscle on the track, the designers built the car around a 400 horsepower 4.478-liter Maserati V8, a much larger engine than typically used by the company. The whole package was wrapped in sumptuous aluminum bodywork and is unquestionably one of Maserati’s best looking designs. Nine cars were built total, intended for endurance racing in the World Sportscar Championship.

Maserati Gray

Photo by Rex Gray from Southern California - 1957 Maserati 450S - fvl, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...

Maserati committed all its resources for the 1957 season, with notable drivers Juan Manuel Fangio, Sterling Moss and Jean Behra piloting the 450S and 300S. A rough patch mid-season for the two top contenders, Ferrari and Maserati, meant that the championship would come down to the final event in Caracas, Venezuela. Unfortunately for Maserati, the Venezuelan finale would go down as one of the worst single days in the brand’s history, and would plunge the company into survival mode.

Maserati was represented in the race by the American team fielded by owner Temple Buell. The disaster started on lap two of the race, when driver Masten Gregory flipped a 450S. It was then the 450 driven by Moss that collided with back marker who “strolled across his lane.” Buell’s other 450S lit up during a pit stop, but the team was able to get the car back on the track. That is until it was also wrecked after being hit by a teammate’s 300S after a wheel fell off.

At this point, Buell and Maserati could only sit back and watch Ferrari take a 1-2 finish and the championship. Unfortunately, Maserati now had much bigger problems. Four of its top tier expensive cars were destroyed in the event and Maserati’s finances were pushed too far to continue racing on this scale.

Maserati 450 S 4

While the 450S isn’t quite a household name, its good looks and hot rod persona have led to a few notable replicas. This aluminum replica on Hemmings is one of the nicer ones we’ve seen, and its qualities are more than skin deep. Like the original, a tubular chassis served as the base for the build, and a similar De Dion rear axle was used. Powering this 450 is a 4.9-liter Maserati four-cam V8 from a newer road car, a worthy choice when the original isn't available. Best of all, the car is sheeted in 3003 aluminum, adding substantially to the build.

While it’s a bit difficult to trace, it looks like there’s a bit more to the blue Esso livery than meets the eye. It seems that this livery is based on one of Temple Buell’s cars, 4508 most likely, and driven by the famed Juan Manuel Fangio. The documentation is scant, but this would make some sense given the car’s location of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as Fangio is unquestionably Argentina’s most famous racing driver.

For an aluminum build, the asking price of $130,000 is fairly reasonable, but there seems to be a couple things holding the car back. For one, the car is in Argentina, so inspecting the car, transport, and crossing the border could run that number up substantially. The second, is a nitpicking manner, but the rear wheels don’t look quite right. They’re recessed into the body a bit much, detracting from the overall effect of the build. If these are two issues you can find your way around, this Maserati replica is sure to provide a great driving experience, at a price that's much cheaper than you could build it for.

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Maserati Race Replica