Villa Erba

27 May 2017

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Lot 158

1959 W.R.E.-Maserati

  • Chassis no. 1002
  • Engine no. 2429

€750.000 - €950.000

To be auctioned on Saturday, May 27, 2017

Documents: Bill of Sale


Please note that this lot is sold on a Bill of Sale.

  • The second of just three examples built by World Racing Enterprises
  • Campaigned with success in the early 1960s
  • 1st overall at the 1960 Agnano-Cappella dei Cangiani hill climb
  • Restored in Italy during the 1980s; owned by the consignor for 30 years
  • Retains its original Maserati engine
  • Documented by Maserati historian Walter Bäumer


The 1950s saw a surge in the popularity of small-displacement four-cylinder engines, and few were as influential as the engine that powered Maserati’s 200 S sports racer. The competition-proven Modena powerplant attracted significant interest from privateers running other makes, and the company was only too happy to sell engines to such concerns, paving the way for race cars like the Cooper- and Lotus-Maserati.

In 1959, an American driver, Tony Settember, purchased a 200 S engine with the intention of using it in his Wilment. After enlisting British fabricator John Wadsworth to assist in the construction of a purpose-built tube frame, a ground-up car was completed in Modena’s various workshops under the company name of World Racing Enterprises (W.R.E.). At the Naples Grand Prix in July 1959, the new sports racer blew away the competition. Unhappy with being outdone by an American on their home territory, runners-up Luigi Bellucci and Mannato Boffa ordered their own W.R.E. on the spot.

Two additional cars were soon built under Bellucci’s leadership, with Wadsworth overseeing fabrication (Settember soon bowed out of the venture). All the W.R.E.-Maseratis featured aluminium coachwork, fully independent suspension, disc brakes at all four corners (inboard at the rear), a Halibrand quick-change differential with Corvette-style limited-slip, and cast-magnesium wheel discs on 15-inch Borrani rims.

As the second W.R.E.-Maserati built, chassis number 1002 completed assembly in late 1959 and debuted to a 1st Overall finish at the Agnano-Cappella dei Cangiani hill climb in March 1960. The three W.R.E.-Maseratis enjoyed substantial competition success over the following few years, but as their race records were never independently recorded by chassis, it is difficult to ascertain with certainty each car’s respective victories.

Like most upstart race cars, the W.R.E.-Maserati was soon outclassed by the evolving factory competition, and both Bellucci and Boffa eventually acquired the revolutionary new sports car from Modena, the Tipo 60 “Birdcage.”

Chassis number 1002 saw little race time following the advent of the “Birdcage”, and by 1972 it was acquired by Eugeno Orizio of Provaglio d’Iseo. After undergoing restoration in Italy during the late 1970s or 1980s, the W.R.E. was sold in 1987 to the current owner, who has continued to fastidiously maintain and service the car for the following 30 years. FIA papers dated from 2009 record chassis 1002 as being fully conforming to the original specifications, with original engine.

Documented with a full history by Maserati expert Walter Bäumer, period race records and photos, and a copy of coverage in the March 1961 issue of Sports Cars Illustrated, this rare W.R.E.-Maserati features its original 200 S engine and would make a stunning acquisition for any collector of 1950s road-racing specials.





• Il secondo dei soli tre esemplari costruiti dalla World Racing Enterprises
• Utilizzato con successo nelle competizioni dei primi anni 1960
• 1° assoluto alla gara in salita Agnano-Cappella dei Cangiani del 1960
• Restaurata in Italia negli anni ’80, di proprietà del venditore da 30 anni
• Ancora equipaggiata con il motore Maserati originale
• Documentata dallo storico Maserati Walter Bäumer

Gli anni '50 hanno visto un aumento della popolarità dei motori a quattro cilindri di piccola cilindrata e, tra questi pochi sono stati così importanti come il motore che equipaggiava la Maserati Sport 200 S. Il propulsore modenese, ben testato nelle competizioni, ha attirato l’interesse dei privati che correvano con altri marchi e la Maserati è stata ben felice di vendere i suoi motori anche a loro, aprendo così la strada alla nascita di vetture da corsa come la Cooper e la Lotus-Maserati.

Nel 1959, il pilota americano, Tony Settember, compra un motore 200 S con l'intenzione di usarlo nella sua Wilment. Dopo aver coinvolto il costruttore britannico John Wadsworth per assisterlo nella costruzione di un telaio tubolare espressamente costruito, viene assemblata una vettura a Modena, con l’ausilio di numerose artigiani, con il nome di World Racing Enterprises (W.R.E.). Al Gran Premio di Napoli nel Luglio del 1959, la nuova macchina sbaraglia la concorrenza e così i piloti Luigi Bellucci e Mannato Boffa, incapaci di accettare di essere battuti in casa loro da un Americano, ordinano immediatamente la loro W.R.E.

Due nuove vetture vengono quindi rapidamente messe in costruzione sotto la guida di Bellucci, con Wadsworth come supervisore visto che September si è fin da subito tirato fuori da questa avventura. Tutte le WRE-Maserati vengono realizzate con carrozzerie in alluminio, sospensioni indipendenti sulle 4 ruote, 4 freni a disco, inboard al retrotreno, differenziale Halibrand con autobloccante tipo Corvette e copriruota in magnesio su cerchi da 15” della Borrani.

Come seconda WRE-Maserati costruita, il telaio numero 1002 ha completato l'assemblaggio alla fine del 1959 e ha debuttato, arrivando prima assoluta, alla gara in salita Agnano-Cappella dei Cangiani del Marzo 1960. Tutte e tre le WRE-Maserati hanno ottenuto notevoli risultati nelle competizioni degli anni immediatamente successivi alla loro costruzione, ma, siccome i loro risultati di gara non sono stati mai registrati in modo completo indicando i rispettivi telai utilizzati, è difficile attribuire con assoluta certezza a ciascuna specifica vettura, le vittorie conquistate.

Come la maggior parte delle auto da corsa, le W.R.E.-Maserati sono stato presto battute dall’evoluzione delle vetture da competizione prodotte costruttori ufficiali e, per questo, sia Bellucci sia Boffa hanno poi acquistato la nuova, rivoluzionaria, vettura sportiva prodotta a Modena, la Maserati Tipo 60 "Birdcage".

Il telaio numero 1002 ha gareggiato, dopo l'avvento della "Birdcage", ancora per poco e, nel 1972 è stato acquistato da Eugeno Orizio di Provaglio d'Iseo. Dopo il restauro, eseguito in Italia tra la fine degli anni '70 e l’inizio degli anni ‘80, la W.R.E è stata venduta, nel 1987, all'attuale proprietario, che ha continuato a custodirla e mantenerla al massimo del’efficienza per i successivi 30 anni. I documenti FIA datati 2009 registrano il telaio 1002 come pienamente conforme alle specifiche originali e ancora equipaggiato con il suo motore originale.

Documentata nella sua storia completa dall’esperto Maserati Walter Bäumer, accompagnata dall’elenco e dai risultati delle gare e dalle foto dell’epoca,oltre che dall’articolo apparso nel numero di Marzo 1961 della rivista Sports Cars Illustrated, questa rara WRE-Maserati viene offerta con il suo motore originale 200 S e sarebbe senz’altro una splendida aggiunta in ogni collezione dedicata alle vetture Sport degli anni 1950.

Alexander Weaver

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more