Icons of Speed: 1954 Maserati A6GCS Pininfarina

Feb 11, 2014

Today, Maserati is a well known maker of grand touring cars and luxury sedans within the vast FIAT empire. But in the early 1950s the company was fiercely independent, aggressively competitive, and ever so exclusive, producing a range of world-beating sporting models known as the A6GCS (CS, standing for Corsa Sport). 52 of these cars were constructed, mostly with open spider bodywork suitable for racing. However, the rarest and most beautiful of these special cars is the 1954 A6GCS Coupe, with bodywork by Pininfarina.  With low, aggressive proportions, and a large, open grill inspired by the nose of a Grand Prix car, the A6GCS Coupe is arguably one of the finest examples of postwar Italian coach building and design. Only 4 of these sensational coupes were produced, making them the most sought-after road-going Maseratis in the world.

The Pininfarina Coupe’s breathtaking looks are more than matched by its performance. Under the elegant, hand-formed skin lies the very same racing chassis and engine which dominated the 1953 Mille Miglia race, beating both Ferrari and Mercedes.  Powered by a jewel-like 2 Liter straight six engine, the A6GCS was light and quick on its feet, developing about 170 horsepower from the all-aluminum engine. It was this same engine that would also power the immortal Maserati 250F Grand Prix car, which was raced successfully by the likes of Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio.

As only 4 examples of the Pininfarina Coupe were produced, they are a rare sight even at world class automotive  gatherings.  This flawlessly restored example was spied a few years ago at a concourse in Pennsylvania, where it simply stole the show. Covered in raindrops, the car looked simply sublime against the lush greenery that surrounded it. In much the same way that the ultra-rare Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic epitomized prewar streamlining, the A6GCS Coupe stands as perhaps the ideal form of the Berlinetta—the archetypal Italian sports car of the postwar era.

Bradley Price is a New York-based designer, car nut, racing history buff.  He founded the Autodromo brand in 2011, and divides his spare time between his stable of vintage Italian cars and running the car blog Automobiliac.

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