This wonderfully useable, well-presented and historic product of the world-famous Maserati brothers’ company “Officina Specializzata Costruzione Automobili,” better known as “OSCA,” was purchased new from the Bolognese factory in Italy by Kleenex millionaire James H. “Gentleman Jim” Kimberly, in 1956.
At the Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, that September, Kimberly and his brilliant co-driver, none other than the great Carroll Shelby, drove this MT4 to first place in the Four-Hour enduro race for cars up to two liters in engine capacity.
After Gentleman Jim’s ownership, S/N 1178 passed on to further considerable success through the hands of such subsequent owners as Otto Linton and Harry Beck. Otto Linton, racing in partnership with co-drivers Beck and Hal Stetson, finished third in class in the World Championship-qualifying 1957 Sebring 12-Hours classic.
In 1958 the car raced in another Sebring 12-Hours endurance classic. This time 1178, driven by Stetson and Beck, actually won the 1500-cc sports-racing car class outright-defeating all the Porsche opposition. Later that summer, Harry Beck and new owner John Milos ran this car in the Marlboro 6-Hours race. The high-revving twin-overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine finished first, beating out a field of 26 cars that included Fred Windridge’s rumbling ’57 Chevrolet Corvette V8.
1178 was eventually acquired in 1985 after it underwent a thorough restoration. In the hands of the present owner, 1178 has been painstakingly maintained and race-prepared by KTR European Motorsports of Ayer, Massachusetts, and it has been used extensively and raced by the current vendor as a member of the VSCCA for the past 16 years. The details of work carried out over the years by KTR European Motorsports are documented at length in the extensive file preserved with the car.
During the present ownership, every mechanical part of 1178 “has been brought up to snuff.” The electrical parts, the generator and the starter have been rewound, the brakes improved, all of the pumps reconditioned, the transmissions improved by adjustment and the steering components disassembled for complete inspection. All of this has been done plus modifications required by the VSCCA (such as an external kill-switch on the starboard side) while maintaining the original parts where possible.
An immensely attractive feature of 1178 is that a spare engine, transmission and other parts accompany this lot. During its racing career in its present ownership both engines and both transmissions have been employed. The present vendor has resisted offers made to him for the spare engine in the past, not only because of the convenience it represented to him, but more so because it is part of the original package passed on with 1178 from Kimberly. Other parts offered here are similarly important. How would one replace an original-equipment OSCA distributor if one did not have a spare?
The engine currently installed in the car is number 1533, which has benefited from a major overhaul by KTR involving installation of a new crankshaft and replacement of certain bearings. Since then, this engine has proved to be “virtually trouble free.”