Lot 126

2021   |   Pebble Beach Auctions

1956 Maserati A6G/54 Coupe

Coachwork by Frua

Estimate

$2,500,000 - $3,250,000

Chassis

2140

Engine

2140

Car Highlights

An Exceptional Coachbuilt Maserati; One of Six Coupes Built by Frua
Displayed on the Maserati Stand at the 1956 Paris Motor Show
One of the Most Famous Cars in the Legendary Roger Baillon Collection
Visually Preserved in Unrestored Condition with Mechanical Recommissioning
Retains Matching-Numbers Engine per Maserati Factory Records
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance ® Preservation Class Award Recipient

Technical Specs

1,986 CC DOHC Twin-Plug Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three Weber 36 DO4 Carburetors
160 BHP at 6,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Front Independent-Wishbone Suspension
Rear Live Axle with Longitudinal Leaf Springs
Register to Bid

David Brynan

Jacques Fildier, Paris, France (acquired new via Garage Mirabeau in 1956)Marcel Chalas, Paris, France (acquired from the above in 1957)Roger Baillon, Paris, France (acquired from the above in 1959)Current Owner (acquired from the estate of the above in 2015)

Paris Motor Show, 1956Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance ® , 2015 (Second in Class)Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, 2017Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court, 2017 (Runner-Up Best of Show)

The A6G/54, unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1954, represented the ultimate evolution of the A6 series, Maserati’s first postwar sports car. Developed from the highly successful A6GCS sports racing cars and the earlier single-cam A6 road car, the A6G/54 was an exclusive gran turismo; its fine engineering and exquisite attention to detail embodied the very best qualities of the Maserati marque.

Based on a lightweight tube-frame chassis, the A6G/54 borrowed a variety of features from the A6GCS, including many of its race-proven braking, steering, and suspension components. At the heart of the car was a gorgeous, all-aluminum twin-cam six-cylinder engine that Gioacchino Colombo had originally developed for racing. In order to create a more civilized dual-purpose car, Maserati engineer Vittorio Bellentani altered the original design, implementing wet sump lubrication, chain-driven camshafts, and a revised valve train.

Equipped with three Weber carburetors and available with an optional twin-plug cylinder head, the A6G/54 was among the best performing two-liter sports cars of its era. Famed automotive journalist Hans Tanner, in testing an A6G/54 for Motor Racing, found that the new Maserati offered “instantaneous acceleration, faultless roadholding, and excellent handling.” In typical Maserati practice, several different bodies were commissioned for the A6G/54 chassis. Allemano, Frua, and Zagato each imbued the Maserati chassis with their own distinctive character and style. Pietro Frua, who began his career as a draftsman for Stabilimenti Farina, offered two distinct body styles for the A6G/54 chassis – a handsome coupe and a dramatic spider. In total, approximately 15 Maserati A6G/54 chassis were bodied by Carrozzeria Frua, with spiders outnumbering coupes in a ratio of about two to one.

All finished in striking, high-contrast color schemes, with ornate details, scripting, and brightwork, the Frua-bodied A6s are brilliant examples of the coachbuilder’s art. Many enthusiasts regard these Maseratis as Pietro Frua’s masterpieces, and they are surely among the most attractive sports cars built during the 1950s.

The Maserati A6G/54 presented here, chassis 2140, is the last of four similarly styled Frua coupes, all of which were debuted at major European motor shows.

According to factory records, the rolling chassis of 2140 was delivered to Carrozzeria Frua in February 1956 and returned to Modena in July as a complete car, elegantly finished in Nero (Black) with Avorio (Ivory) leather. As completed, this Coupe possessed the myriad aesthetic details unique to the Frua-bodied Maseratis: an impressive, highly detailed grille, a graceful roofline, subtle hood vents, split bumpers (front and rear), and a distinctive rectangular instrument panel with beautiful Veglia instruments.

Upon completion, the Frua Coupe was invoiced to the official French Maserati importer Simon & Thepenier, delivered to Garage Mirabeau on Avenue de Versailles in Paris. On August 2, 1956, this Maserati passed its Service de Mines homologation test and was registered with the Parisian registration no. 1007-FH75. The name of its first private owner is recorded as Jacques Fildier, an architect residing on Rue St. Dominique. Having refined taste in automobiles, he is known to have owned several Aston Martins in addition to this Maserati.

Soon after its delivery to its first owner, the Frua Coupe was exhibited on the Maserati stand at the 43rd Paris Motor Show, held at the magnificent Grand Palais between October 4 and 14, 1956. A striking display, 2140 caught the attention of Giovanni Lurani, whose report on the Paris show for Auto Italiana specifically notes the “six-cylinder Maserati GT. colour black with de luxe finish.”

The Frua Coupe did not remain in the hands of its original owner for long; it was sold, on July 12, 1957, to Marcel Chalas of Paris. Presumably it was during his ownership that 2140 was updated in the latest Frua style, with a new front grille and updated taillights, as featured on the latest series of spiders.

In this updated form, the Maserati was featured in a 1959 advertisement for Rue de la Pink lipstick, billed as “the color tying up traffic all over Paris.” The black Maserati is clearly pictured in the ad’s main image – a photograph taken by the well-known New York fashion photographer Gleb Derujinsky.

In December 1959, the Frua Coupe was sold to its third Parisian owner, Roger Baillon, a garage owner in the 19th arrondissement. M. Baillon paid 1,900,000 francs for the three-year-old Maserati, painted the roof section a distinctive turquoise color and re-registered it as no. 267 CMP 92 in January 1968. The Frua Coupe remained a fixture in his ever-growing collection, which came to include various examples of French classics – including Bugatti, Delage, and Delahaye – as well as the ex-Alain Delon Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider.

At some point, M. Baillon’s most significant cars, the Frua-bodied Maserati and the California Spider, were moved to a small garage at Château Gaillard in Échiré, France, while the remainder of the collection was left, in varying degrees, to the elements. After a bankruptcy sale forced M. Baillon to sell several cars at auction in 1979, ownership of his remaining classics – approximately 55 in all – was transferred to his wife Solange.

In 2014, the Baillon Collection was famously rediscovered and presented at auction in February 2015, at Rétromobile. It was there that the current owner acquired the car, adding this rare Frua-bodied Maserati to his collection of outstanding coachbuilt sports cars.

As the Maserati had been parked for decades, the current owner enlisted the renowned Phil Reilly & Company of Corte Madera, California, to perform a sympathetic mechanical recommissioning, while preserving the car’s irreplaceable unrestored patina. Since this work was carried out, the Frua Coupe has been awarded Second in the preservation class at Pebble Beach and selectively displayed at exclusive events, including Villa d’Este and Hampton Court. Not only has 2140 been admired on the concours circuit, it has also been driven regularly and recently completed the 2021 California Mille, a fine testament to its mechanical health. Today, the odometer shows less than 55,000 km (approximately 34,000 miles), the car’s original mileage.

The complete provenance of 2140 has been well documented, with copies of the original Maserati factory build sheet and delivery note on file. The car is also accompanied by a copy of Walter Bäumer’s book Maserati A6G 2000, tool kit, jack, magazine articles, period images, and a spare set of “driver” wheels.

he A6G/54, one of Maserati’s most celebrated road-going models, is among the most desirable Italian sports cars built during the 1950s. Despite a production run of only 60 cars, their inimitable style, impressive dynamic qualities, and mechanical sophistication have made these Maseratis the preferred choice of connoisseurs. The precious few coupes and spiders bodied by Pietro Frua are particularly coveted due to their exquisite details and highly individual character, with most examples residing in prominent private collections.

Among the limited production of Frua Coupes, 2140 is utterly unique, as the only example to have survived in well-preserved, unrestored condition. Its captivating patina, Paris show car pedigree, and Baillon Collection provenance further separate it from its brethren, making it one of the most recognizable and desirable of all A6-series Maseratis.