Maserati Tipo 26 Four-Seater

1930-31 Maserati Tipo 26 Sport

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | September 15, 2012

If you can believe it, there are actually two 1930 Maserati Tipo 26s up for auction at this sale. One is a two-seater, and the one seen here is a four-seater – you know, the more useful of the two when hauling the kids to soccer practice. Both cars come out of the same collection and having similar histories, as they were both imported into the U.K. for racing purposes in 1930. We’ll focus on the four-seater from here on.

The car is powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter straight-8, taking direct aim at Alfa Romeo’s 8C competition cars. This car competed against Alfa 8Cs, driven by the likes of Henry “Tim” Birkin, in the 1931 Eireann Cup in Dublin, Ireland. This car finished second to Birkin in an 8C. It was driven by Giuseppe Campari, who mid-race, was temporarily blinded when mud and debris from another car came off the track and shattered his goggles, sending glass into one of his eyes. Giulio Ramponi, a sometimes riding mechanic who was working in the pits, took over the car while Campari had his eye tended to. Before long, Campari ran back onto the track, flagged Ramponi down, and resumed his race.

The car was entered at Brooklands earlier that year, but only one of the two cars offered here actually competed (chassis unknown, based on price, I’d say likely this one). This car did compete at Brooklands in 1933 and a few other races over the next few years. It passed through numerous hands – and numerous drivetrain configurations – before being acquired by its current owner in 1952. All of its original pieces were located and reinstalled, making this a highly original example of an already extremely rare car.

It is very impressive, in both history, rarity and condition. It is an exquisite alternative to the comparatively common Alfa Romeo 8C. The pre-sale estimate is $2,900,000-$3,500,000. For the complete lot description, click here. And from more from Bonhams at Goodwood, click here.

Update: Sold $2,727,000.