Lender: Collection of David Sydorick, Beverly Hills, California

Sponsor: The Tom Smith Family

In 1914, the Maserati brothers started their race-minded automobile company, confidently competing against Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and others. Though the funding was scarce in the early days, the machinery was never lacking.

After World War II ended, Maserati offered a stunning Pinin Farina–designed A6G berlinetta, with newly fashionable slab sides on its alloy body, a flat hood, a close-coupled cabin with a low roofline, a 1,500 cc SOHC six-cylinder engine, and enough power to make driving it entertaining. In 1951 the A6 was upgraded and its additional thirty-five bhp yielded a one hundred mph top speed. Only sixteen examples were sold, each with individual custom coachwork by Frua, Pinin Farina, and Vignale.

For 1954 Maserati based the new A6G 2000 on its A6GCS sports-racing model. The first series cars featured a slightly detuned DOHC two-liter six-cylinder racing engine, developing 150 bhp. Maserati did not build its own bodies. Carrozzeria Pinin Farina was occupied with Ferrari’s expanding needs, so Allemano, Frua, and Zagato were tapped to provide custom coachwork. Zagato built one spider for the 1955 Geneva Motor Show and twenty examples with coupe bodies. Some fifty-nine A6Gs were made in total, making this a rare car today. Zagato-bodied A6G models competed in Gran Turismo (GT) racing in Italy from 1955 to 1957, winning the class championship in 1956 over the previously dominant Fiat Otto Vus.

The Maserati AG6 2000 included in Bellissima! had been stored in the village of Sabico, near Catana, in an old barn that was used in the filming of The Godfather. The car was complete, but it was in rough condition. Its paint had been stripped, the aluminum body had corroded in some places, and the tires were flat. Making matters even more complicated, there was a steel roll-up door on the barn, and a three-foot-high brick wall had been erected between the door and the car as a Sicilian security precaution to prevent theft.

The current owner recalls that the entire village turned out to see the car being unearthed. The brick wall was torn down and the coupe removed and shipped to the United States. After a thorough three-year restoration, the lovely A6G won its class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and ten years later in 2012 it again took home Best in Class honors.

—Adapted from the exhibition catalogue essay by Ken Gross

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