ex- Ulrich Maag, Hans Ruesch, Max Christens
MASERATI 4CS TWO SEATER SPORTS RACING CAR
Registration No. Not road registered
Chassis No. 1518/1520 See text
Engine No. See text
Red chassis with silver wheels
Engine; six-cylinders in-line, twin overhead camshafts, supercharged, 1,496cc producing 110bhp at 6,100rpm; Gearbox: four speed manual; suspension semi-elliptic springs all round with friction type shock-absorbers: rear transmission by torque-tube to live axle; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic drum. Right-hand drive.
From their inception in 1924, Maserati had produced a series of highly competitive and successful racing cars, which were renowned for their performance, handling and engineering qualities. As a result the scope of their model types increased to meet the needs of their customers in order to compete in a wider range of events.
The 4CS Maserati two seater sports racing car was introduced at the Milan Show in 1932 in 1100cc 4 cylinder form. At the end of that year the 1500cc version was added to the range. The specification of the chassis and engine was updated regularly throughout the period of production which lasted until mid 1936. A total of only seven cars were built, together they were incredibly successful. The full production story may be appraised from the book "Maserati" by Orsini & Zagari.
The history of this car is similar to many that were utilised for differing purposes over a long racing career, in which they were adapted and modified to suit varying needs in competition. The history of this car starts with its origins from the Maserati factory and works supported team. Chassis No1518 was retained and raced as a works car, driven mainly by Tufanelli in major sports car races such as the Mille Miglia during 1933 and the early part of 1934. It was rebuilt completely and updated to the latest specification, including hydraulic brakes and then given the new chassis number 1520 and sold as a new 4CS 1500 to the Swiss driver Ulrich Maag on June 19th 1934. In August 1934 Maag was tragically killed in road accident (in a different car) while travelling to Pescara co-drive an 8C Alfa Romeo with another Swiss driver Hans Reusch. Later Reusch bought 1520 from Maag's family and raced the car regularly during 1935, competing at the Eifelrennen, Kesselberg Hill Climb and Prix de Bern in Switzerland. In order to make his car more competitive, Ruesch took his car back to the factory for some modifications; in fact Maserati's official factory records state: 16th March 1936 Engine 6CM No.1530 sold to H. Reusch for installation in 4CS chassis No. 1520. This is the prototype development engine, which was never allocated to, nor ever installed in a single seat car. (This becomes an important identifying feature of the engine, as it has no threaded holes for mounting the steering gear to the crankcase.) At the same time the front suspension was changed to independent. This was possibly Dubonnet, but pictures suggest maybe Opel. (This requires some more research should the new owner desire the restoration be finished to the later specification.) The bodywork was also altered to make the car an offset single seater. Hans Reusch competed with the car in this form through the 1936 season achieving some good results; 3rd place in the Grand Prix at Albi, 3rd in the Coppa Acerbo, 5th in the Prix de Berne, and pole position for the Grand Prix des Frontieres at Chimay.
In 1937 Reusch however, moved on to full Grand Prix racing and the car was sold. During the next two years it appeared in contemporary race and hill climb reports in the hands of several drivers, all Swiss. Darbelly, Filipinetti and Hans Kessler. In 1940 1520 was acquired by Max Christen of Zurich, who changed the bodywork into a very neat monoposto, whilst retaining the nose fitted by Reusch. Christen competed regularly during the post war period until the end of the 1947 season. For 1948 Christen decided to build a new car. He built a completely new tubular chassis fitted with transverse leaf spring front suspension, and a De-Dion rear end: the whole car resembling a Cooper-Bristol. He took the 6CM engine from 1520, cut off the rear engine mounts, and fitted it to his new car along with a Maserati gearbox. He called this car the Maserati-Suiza (the final manifestation of it resides today in the Schlumpf Museum at Mulhouse). Having lost its engine and gearbox 1520 was dismantled; all the mechanical parts were set aside, except the body and chassis which were broken up, and used as a source of raw material for Christen's business, the manufacture of gas generators. Supplies of metals being very difficult to obtain in post-war Europe.
How the new car performed is not known, as it suffered a major engine blow up, and another 6CM engine was found for it by Filipinetti and this was fitted to the car, after similar modifications to those done to 1530. The remains of 1530 were set aside with the other redundant spares. Eventually Christen got into serious financial troubles and had to sell everything. The Maserati Suiza, all the parts, in fact almost everything he owned was bought by a Swiss named Stembler. He eventually sold the car to the Schlumph Brothers, whilst everything that remained of 1520 and engine 1530 passed into the possession of Hans Matti, where it remained untouched for around thirty years. In 1981 Matti sold it to Peter Smith in Australia, simply as a collection of Maserati parts, and it was he who did much of the preliminary research to retrace its history. He began to carry out some restoration on some of the smaller items but found the overall task very difficult being so far from Europe. In 1990 Smith sold the project to the present owner, who undertook an extensive research programme to confirm the information amassed by Smith. Having established to his own satisfaction, and that of leading experts on these cars, the credentials of this car, he set about its restoration.
The work so far done on this car is extensive, thorough-going and of an extremely high standard of execution, diligently done by the expertise of Baynton-Jones in Dorset. The fact is however that 4CS 1520 went through so many developments during its life, it could be restored to any of its previous forms and still remain historically correct. But none was taken until all the major components would have been restored. The historic importance of this car has dictated that right from the start, only the very highest standards of workmanship, materials, visual and historic accuracy would be acceptable. As a result a considerable amount of time and money has gone into obtaining original parts for so many of the small but vital missing bits.Firstly a new chassis was built, using the original factory drawings and the chassis of another original 4CS for reference.The engine was very much more difficult, as it had suffered a major blow up. A broken con-rod had resulted in wrecking the crankcase as well as various serious areas of consequential damage, particularly in the valve gear; so a new crankcase was made in Magnesium Elektron, as was a new inlet side cambox. The original crankshaft was crack-tested and measured and found to be sound. The con-rods, pistons, valves, cam followers, and inlet camshaft are all new, the whole engine has been rebuilt to the very best standard, but where replacements have been made, all the original parts have been retained to verify the originality.The gearbox had at some time been left with either water inside and the bottom of the case is rotted through. After unsuccessfully trying to find a replacement, patterns were made and a new casing produced. A complete set of new internals (shafts and gears) has also been made. Again the originals have been retained. The unavailability of the correct rims for the roadwheels resulted in tooling-up and manufacturing equipment to reproduce these by Baynton-Jones. The prototype versions were successfully submitted for testing at the Motor Industry Association's product testing facility for certification. A set of new wheels has been made using the original hubs, with new rims and spokes. This serves as an example of the meticulous standards that have been applied to the work done on this car. The rear axle torque-tube assembly is now finished, with a new crownwheel and pinion of 10/44 ratio. A considerable amount of work has also been done on various smaller items such as the supercharger, and has now reached the point when the exact form of the finished car needs to be decided. The most appropriate, and also versatile choice, would be a two-seat sports car, which would be Mille Miglia eligible and could be raced in the pre war FIA sports car series, in addition to being road legal and suitable for international rallies.The final details are obviously a matter of personal preference most of which will fall into place naturally once the main decision has been made, though perhaps appropriately it really should be finished in the famous red and white colours of Switzerland.