The Maserati A6 first appeared as the A6 Sport, Tipo 6CS/46, a barchetta prototype. This became the A6 1500, a Pininfarina-designed two-door berlinetta first shown at the 1947 Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva (59 made). A spider was shown at the 1948 Salone dell'automobile di Torino (with two built).
A two-litre, 120-bhp straight-six was used in the A6 GCS two-seater, “G” denoting Ghisa (cast iron block) and “CS” meaning Corsa & Sports. Also called monofaro, the 580 kg single-seat, cycle-winged racing version first appeared at Modena in 1947, driven by Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari. It also won the 1948 Italian Championship, piloted by Giovanni Bracco. Fifteen cars were made from 1947 to 1953.
The Maserati A6GCM (1951–53, “M” for monoposto) comprised 12 two-litre single-seat racing cars of 160 to 190 bhp, developed by Gioacchino Colombo, who had come from Ferrari, and built by Medardo Fantuzzi. It won the Italian Grand Prix, driven by Juan Manuel Fangio. The 1953 A6 SSG was a GCM-derivative, anticipating the Maserati 250F.
For the 1953 season, Maserati produced a revised version of their two-litre A6. The engine, designed by Colombo, was a Formula 2-derived dual-overhead-cam, twin-ignition unit. This was Maserati’s first short-stroke engine, with a hair-raising 7,300 rpm redline. The chassis was from the earlier GCS. Factory coachbuilder Fantuzzi penned an all-enveloping roadster body. Fifty-two were made from 1953 to 1955, two of them winning the Italian Grand Prix in 1953 and 1954, driven by Sergio Mantovani and Luigi Musso. An additional four berlinettas and one spider were designed by Pininfarina, their final design on a Maserati, commissioned by Rome dealer Guglielmo Dei. In addition, Vignale made one spider.
The 1954 Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris showcased the A6GCS/54, which came in berlinetta, barchetta and spider versions (150 bhp). It was also known as the A6G/2000. Built from 1954 through 1957, the A6G/2000 was a very limited production sports car. It is estimated that only about 60 cars were built, with coachwork available from Frua, Allemano and Zagato. Whereas the Frua and Allemano-built cars were luxurious and sometimes extravagant design statements, the Zagato-built cars were purpose-built for competition.
Apprenticed at 15 to a coachbuilder in Germany, Ugo Zagato returned to his native Italy in 1909 to join Carrozzeria Varesina in Varese, known for work on buses. During the Great War he was a department manager for Costruzioni Aeronautiche Pomilio in Turin, an Ansaldo subsidiary engaged in aeronautical manufacture. There he gained an understanding of aerodynamics and lightweight construction methods. In 1919 he set up a shop in Milan with a partner, Aldo Finzi.
Specialising in aluminium panels, Zagato did subcontract work for Pomilio. The first complete Zagato bodies were built in 1920 on Fiat 501 chassis. A former Pomilio colleague introduced Zagato to the management of Alfa Romeo, and contracts for bodies on Alfa RL and RM chassis resulted. The next few years saw him building for Fiat, Bianchi, Diatto and Itala and also producing aircraft parts for Pomilio during slack periods.
Among Zagato’s best-known works are the lightweight sports bodies on the 1927 Alfa Romeo 6C1500 and Gran Sport Spider 6C1750 in 1929. State control of Alfa in 1933, however, curtailed orders, and Zagato was forced to take on the construction of truck cabs for Isotta-Fraschini, which continued until his plant was bombed in 1943.
Ugo Zagato’s eldest son, Elio, joined his father’s firm in 1946 in a new plant on Via Giorgini. His first project was the Panoramica sports coupé on a Fiat 500 chassis, followed by spider and coupé bodies on the Fiat 1100E. His younger brother, Gianni, joined the family company upon reaching his majority and later became head of the design office. In addition to Fiat and Alfa Romeo, in the early 1950s Zagato began a symbiotic relationship with Ferrari, evidenced in the spellbinding 250 GTZ. It was natural, then, that Zagato got the nod for the A6G berlinetta.
Lightweight and strong, the bodies were hand-formed in aluminium, with Perspex windows fitted all around. Kerb weight was just 850 kg (1,850 pounds). No two cars were exactly alike; one was built with the Zagato hallmark “double bubble” roof. In all, Zagato built 20 A6G/2000 berlinettas between 1955 and 1957.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.
150 bhp, 1,985 cc double overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder engine with three twin-choke Weber carburettors, four-speed manual gearbox, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs and radius rods, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 100.4"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood