Maserati decided to build a slightly de-tuned version of the A6GCS and go for the Holy Grail of specialty manufacturers, the dual-purpose sports car

This beautiful 2-liter Berlinetta was one of a handful of Maserati's sports-racing A6G series to be clothed by that master of ultra-light bodywork, Zagato. Allemano, Frua, and Vignale all built bodies for the A6G2000 chassis, but these striking Zagato coupes are considered the prettiest today.

This particular A6G Zagato Coupe has a most interesting history. It was sold new in January 1956 as chassis number 2118 through Rome dealer Guglielmo Dei for Italian driver Luigi Musso. By 1957, after the factory renumbered it as chassis 2189, the coupe went to Count Magi Diligenti, a nobleman who was well-known for his performance in an A6GCS in the 1954 Mille Miglia. The car came to the U.S. in the 1980s and was owned and treated to an exhaustive restoration by Sam and Emily Mann in the 1990s. At this time, the gearbox was exchanged for a 5-speed Alfa Romeo unit to improve driveability. In 1999, the car was purchased by Fritz Hartmann, who intended to enter it in the Mille Miglia and Ferrari/Maserati Challenge events. A change of plans resulted in Hartmann offering the car at auction, where the current seller acquired it.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1956 Maserati A6G2000 Zagato
Years Produced:1954-57
Number Produced:Approx. 60
Original List Price:$6,500 (base price, which varied with special equipment)
SCM Valuation:$350,000-$450,000
Tune Up Cost:$1,500+
Distributor Caps:If you need one, whatever the seller wants
Chassis Number Location:Stamped in the chassis, but could be anywhere; often on a small plate spot-welded to front cross member
Engine Number Location:Rear of the block, in the valley between camshafts; on the side of the block above front engine mount
Club Info:The Maserati Club, P.O. Box 5300, Somerset, NJ 088875-5300
Investment Grade:A

This A6G2000 Zagato Coupe sold for a market-correct $467,501, including buyer’s commission, at the RM auction in Monterey, Calif., held on Aug. 16-17, 2003. It was a no-sale at $396,000 at last year’s RM Monterey event. The new owner is an SCM’er who was attracted to the car by among other things, its relatively spacious interior. He and his wife intend to use it on a variety of touring and competition events in the future.

By the end of World War II, control of the Maserati factory had slipped from the hands of the brothers for which the firm was named, a result of their single-minded and financially-untenable practice of building only racing cars. As industrialist Adolfo Orsi took control, he realized that in order to be economically viable, Maserati had to produce road-going cars for sale to the general public. The first such Maserati was produced in 1946, the A61500. It was a sporting machine, usually carrying a Pinin Farina coupe body. Power came from an alloy, SOHC six-cylinder engine derived from the pre-war voiturette blown race car. By 1949 approximately 60 cars had been produced.

The new management, however profit-oriented, never forgot Maserati’s racing tradition, nor did it forget that racing helps improve and sell street cars. So the engine of the A61500 was further developed, with displacement bumped to 1985 cc, and fitted with a twin-plug DOHC head fed by triple Weber carburetors. The famed A6GCS was born, and it became a killer mount in the under-2-liter category.

With an eye towards revenues in the early 1950s, Maserati decided to build a slightly de-tuned version of the A6GCS and go for the Holy Grail of specialty manufacturers, the dual-purpose sports car. Thus, the A6G2000 was conceived as a car that can be driven to the track, raced successfully, and then driven back home. There were two series of the cars, the first featuring a single-plug head, and the second a twin-plug unit. In total, about 59 were built.

The rolling chassis was also given to various coachbuilders to create their own interpretation. In rough order of production numbers, Zagato received 20 chassis; Allemano, 21; and Frua, 17. Frua made some stunning competition barchettas, cabriolets and a few forgettable coupes. Allemano made moderately boring 2+2 coupes. Zagato stole the performance side of the equation.

As the factory had planned, the A6G2000 became the weapon of choice in the Italian under-2-liter racing class. In 1956 it finally dethroned the Fiat 8V Zagato for the national championship.

The A6G2000 Zagato Coupe offered here was impeccable. If I wanted to nit-pick, I could lament the use of the Alfa gearbox, but most of today’s 2-liter cars that compete also use it. That the chassis was re-stamped at the factory in 1957 is not troubling: This practice occurred frequently at the time, most likely so the car could be sold as “new” to the next owner.

The only part of this car’s story I find puzzling is that chassis number 2118 has no racing provenance. As its twin-plug head and dry sump lubrication were not standard equipment on the first series, 2118 was obviously intended for competition. But the car was apparently not raced, despite being ordered for Luigi Musso, one of the era’s promising young lions, by Guglielmo “Memo” Dei, Maserati’s main client and owner of the fabled Scuderia Centro-Sud. Perhaps there is a Maserati historian amoung the readers who can help us solve this puzzle.

Speaking of racing, since Ferrari acquired the Maserati name, racing Masers have been accepted in the Ferrari Historic Challenge series. As such, the price of these cars has been rising. The pure race cars, including the A6GCS, and the 150/200/300/450S series, of which relatively few were made, were the first to dramatically increase in price. The next were the Zagato-bodied GTs. The price paid here was in line with the current market, and will turn out to be a bargain over time. There are just so few of these cars, they are strikingly attractive, and offer terrific period performance. -Raymond Milo

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