The ex-Luigi Fagioli, Giuseppe Campari, Baconin Borzacchini, Officine Maserati 1933 French Grand Prix winning
1932 MASERATI 8C 3000 GRAND PRIX TWO SEATER RACING CAR
Chassis No. 3001
Dark red with brown leather seats
Engine: eight cylinders, in-line, twin overhead camshafts, supercharged, 3,000cc, 220bhp at 5,500rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic springs front and rear with Andre-Hartford friction-type dampers; Brakes: hydraulic four wheel drum. Right hand drive.
This rare machine was the ultimate version of the Maserati brothers' renowned first series of twin-cam, eight cylinder engined-cars and indeed the last of their two-seater Grand Prix contenders, all of which were developed over a short space of scarcely six years. The debut of their first car was in the arduous Sicilian Targa Florio, where they won the 1500cc class with a fine drive by Alfieri Maserati and Guerrino Bertocchi, the gifted engineer-designer whose long-term career with the small firm from Bologna was to prove significant in the development and racing successes of the company. During these formative years they produced a range of very effective racing and sports car variations on the one basic theme, utilizing several different capacities of the same design of engine from 1,100cc up to 2,800cc. This enabled their cars to be run in events for differing formulae such as Cyclecar, Voiturette or Grands Prix, as well as sports car races, with the prime purpose of selling their products to amateur and professional drivers, based on racing achievements of their own factory team.
By the end of 1931, however, they began to meet stronger opposition from both Bugatti, with their powerful Type 51 model, and Alfa Romeo with their new 'Monza' cars; both marques provided highly formidable competition. Maserati therefore, while awaiting production of some of their own new designs, which were either on the drawing board or at the experimental stages, responded with a renewed bid for success, firstly with their V4 16-cylinder machines and simultaneously with a new twin-camshaft unit of 3 litres capacity for the 1932 season. Two new chassis were laid down and the cars were built for the factory team, principally for Luigi Fagioli, as the number one driver, and Giuseppe Campari. It is interesting to note that as far as the Works-team was concerned, they did try to keep an individual car to each driver, although as races were for long duration some driver changes and replacements inevitably occurred. Production was very slow and money scarce, so only two actual cars were built to this specification and one other engine was built before production was switched to monoposto Grand Prix versions. The new engine, which had originally been designated for an innovative 4-wheel drive single-seater, featured a narrower crank-case with cylinder blocks based on the existing 4CM 1,500cc layout paired, having a bore and stroke of 69x100mm. The supercharger pressure was increased by gearing up the drive ratio and running the blower at 1/3 faster than engine speed, compression was raised from 5:1 to 6:1, while induction input was much improved by the utilization of a Weber 55ASI type carburetor and new manifold design. The crankshaft had improved dry-sump lubrication throughout to both 5-main and big-end journals with anti-friction bearings in reinforced tubular con-rods. In light of the shortcomings of the fwd chassis, the first two engines were installed in the well-proven chassis design developed from the 26M series and were numbered 3001 & 3002 respectively.
The first major outing for this car, 3001, was at the Czechoslovak Grand Prix at Brno in late 1932, where it was driven most effectively by Luigi Fagioli in finishing second to Louis Chiron's Bugatti T51. It was next readied for the 1933 season, where the opening race was in North Africa on 26th March for the Tunis Grand Prix and Fagioli, again the driver, was forced to retire with mechanical problems. A promising start in the following Grand Prix at Monaco on 23rd April saw Fagioli retiring from a good position. Back to North Africa this time for the Tripoli race on 7th May where Campari, just returned from a spell with the Alfa Corse team, set a blistering pace and led for most of the race before the car again succumbed to a mechanical failure. There was no let up in the intensity of the season and two weeks later Campari was in action in the Parma-Poggio road race at Berceto, where he led from the start only to be robbed of victory scarcely 10 kilometres from the finish with another mechanical fault. Clearly the performance capability of the car was not in question, as it certainly now had the legs of the opposition and finally perseverance was rewarded with a supreme victory in France against very strong competition which included no less than 5 Alfa Romeo 'Monzas' and numerous Bugattis.
The French Grand Prix on the famous banked track at Montlhéry just outside Paris on the 11th June was indeed a notable victory for this very car. The race was run over 40 laps of the road track which constituted 500 kilometers distance with an endurance time of some 3 hours 40 minutes. With a lap distance of over 12 kilometres the average lap speed for the leaders was over 5½ minutes. Practice took place over four days and proved a testing time for many of the competitors, some of whom had scarcely time to prepare their cars after the Grand Prix at Monaco. However Louis Chiron and Tazio Nuvolari vied for fastest pre-race time, both driving Alfa Romeos, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver the quickest recording a staggering lap at over 140kph. The 19 starting places were drawn by lot, so the positions did not reflect the times recorded, however, the ultimate leading protagonists were situated towards the middle and rearward rows on the grid. From the 'Off' Nuvolari was an early leader from Campari who had made a good start, but both Nuvolari and Chiron were early casualties with transmission failings. At the 100 kilometer distance Campari led from two other Alfas and the Maserati driven by Zehender, and moved the Motor Sport magazine reporter to quote The burly Campari, almost overflowing from the cockpit of his Maserati continued to hold his lead comfortably. A dog-fight for second place developed between Taruffi and Etancelin behind him, so that following dramatic pitstops for refueling and tire-changes after the 200 kilometre stage, Campari had been demoted to third behind the two Alfa Romeos. However, further pit-stops into the second half of the race saw the lead change round once more enabling Campari to retake the lead from Etancelin and Moll, who had been steadily moving up. The battle then commenced its final stages in an outright duel between the two, as after the penultimate tire-stops, Etancelin led Campari by over 30 seconds, the latter having surrendered his earlier lead of two-minutes. Both cars were suffering by now; Etancelin with gearchange problems, while Campari was fighting excessive tire wear and consequent wheel imbalance especially under braking. The main opposition from the remainder of the field was provided by five Alfa Monzas.
Nevertheless, Campari slowly began to cut back into Etancelin's lead so that by the 400 kilometre mark he was only some 20 seconds behind with his last tire-stop to come. At this point he was able to dramatically reduce the gap by 10 seconds on one lap, a further eight on the next, and when he came in to the pits to change tires, only 2 seconds separated the two when the rain started. With only five laps remaining his tires would not have lasted, but more drama was enacted in the pits; for having stopped, the engine would not fire and Campari received a push-start, ostensibly against the rules, but possibly as Etancelin now seemed uncatchable, perhaps a blind eye was turned, as with 3 laps to go he was now ahead by nearly a minute, but a lap later this was more than halved and by the last lap he was only 24 seconds ahead. On one of the sharp turns Etancelin's gear problem was so acute that he had to come to a halt before being able to engage a gear to continue, and so it was at this juncture that Campari caught him and sailed past to win by 40 seconds - a truly memorable event and a tribute to both drivers who had given their utmost in the battle to victory. The race had lasted 3 hours 48 minutes and Campari's average speed for the duration was timed at 131.43kph (81.49mph).
For the latter part of the season the car was campaigned by the very able Count Baconin Borzacchini and he drove in the Coppa Acerbo race at Pescara in July and followed this with an appearance in the Grand Prix de Marseilles, where on both occasions he was classed as a non-finisher. In the last major race of the year he qualified well for the Italian Grand Prix on the Monza track where, after a promising start, the car overturned and the driver was thrown out, resulting in injuries which proved fatal.
The car itself was not extensively damaged and was returned to the factory, where it was rebuilt during the close-season, being up-dated with the latest hydraulic brakes which were also then fitted to the new 8CM monoposto cars. It was sold during the early part of 1934 to Eugenio Siena, who campaigned a small privately funded racing team based near Lake Como. An experienced driver himself, he paid minute attention to detail, his personal appearance and that of his cars alike were always impeccable. In April that year he entered it for the Monaco Grand Prix, where he drove notably against the might of the German Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Works Maseratis and finished very creditably in eighth place. He further entered the car for the Tripoli Grand Prix the following month, but retired midway through the event. The next outing for Siena was in Germany at the Avus track followed by the Eiffelrennen at the Nürburgring; in both events he was recorded as not finishing. An entry for the Scuderia Siena was received for the Coppa Ciano race back in Italy in late 1934, where the driver was Tuffanelli who retired on the seventh lap. This is almost the last race recorded for the car in a major Grand Prix, as Siena had moved on to one of the later single-seater 8CM cars for himself, but it would most likely have been used for some seasons to come in the many hill-climb and national races once it had become less competitive at the very top level of the sport. His team's last results were recorded in the race at Piemonte, where Minozzi finished 7th in the final after two initial heats; and Minozzi again was also entered to drive in the GP d'Algiers but no result was noted.
In 1939 it is believed the car came to England, but with the outbreak of war, racing cars were garaged temporarily. By the late 1940's, 3001 had reappeared in Southend, but with a rod through the crankcase. It passed through the hands of George Abecassis to Mr. Roland Dutt of Prima Motors who at the time happened to also own another Maserati, components of which he used to repair 3001. Mr. Dutt's Maserati was featured on page 11 in the January 1949 edition of Motor Sport. 3001 was then sold to the USA and by 1953 was in the Denver area where it was raced by John Mathewson. After a brief stint in New Mexico, where the engine blew up, the car returned to the Denver area, now owned by David Kimble who discarded the battered bodywork. It is thought that the car then passed through the hands of Mr. Martinez who had managed to also acquire the sister chassis 3002, which also happened to reside in the USA. Both cars passed through the hands of one more USA owner before being acquired by the English Maserati enthusiast and restorer Cameron Millar in the late 1960's and he shipped them to the U.K. He chose to keep 3002 for himself and 3001, which was in the poorer condition, was sold to Mr. Joel Finn. Mr. Finn commissioned a rebuild by the respected Peter Shaw. In February 1974 this whole unfinished project was sold to Bob Sutherland who continued the exhaustive restoration with Peter Shaw, lasting some four years before the finished car was delivered to the USA. From 1979 Bob Sutherland continually maintained the car for use in vintage races and road rallies. At some point, due to the mechanical derangements with problems of running at high altitude, the engine and gearbox, having been removed, were entrusted to the noted English specialist Sean Danaher who has undertaken a major rebuild necessitating a new crankshaft, con-rods, cylinder-block and crankcase, but retaining the original sump, cylinder-head, timing cases and gear-tower. Its transmission retains all the original Maserati components including gearbox, axles, brakes, etc. A great deal of restoration expertise has resulted in expenditure in excess of $250,000 to bring the car to the condition where it has been regularly and reliably in use. In Bob's enthusiastic hands it has run in the Historic Races at Monterey, where it finished second twice while running in the pre-war categories, and has also completed the now famous California Mille and Colorado Grand events. This remarkable, potent and very historic race car is presented in excellent condition for further use on road or track.