1971 Maserati Quattroporte Prototipo by Frua
RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 2016 - The Riverside International Automotive Museum Collection
- Offered from the Riverside International Automobile Museum Collection
- The first of two Frua-bodied Maserati Quattroportes
- Shown at numerous motor shows when new, including Paris, Geneva, and Barcelona
- An exceptional coachbuilt Maserati
By the 1970s, the long-honored tradition of automotive coachbuilding was on the wane. With cost, profitability, safety, performance, and feasibility considerations to take into account, fewer manufacturers and coachbuilders were willing to produce one-offs for their wealthy clients, nor were those wealthy clients willing to purchase them. One such outlier is Frua’s Maserati Quattroporte, of which only two examples were built.
According to a report by Maserati historian Walter Bäumer, this Quattroporte is the first such example built. Chassis number 002 was first shown to the public at the Frua stand at the Paris Salon de l’Automobile in October of 1971, where it was presented by Juan Manuel Fangio. During its early days, the car enjoyed a great deal of attention at the world’s most prestigious motor shows, including Geneva in 1972, at the Trophé des Journaliestes in Monaco prior to the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix, once again at Paris in 1973, at the Salón Internacional del Automóvil de Barcelona in 1973 (where it participated in the “Desfile de Elegancia en Automóvil”), and at Barcelona once more in 1974. The Aga Khan clearly took note of this car’s appearance and beauty, commissioning a one-off Quattroporte for himself, chassis number 004.
Rumored to have been acquired new by the Spanish royal family for use by King Juan Carlos I, no conclusive documentation supporting this claim has been found thus far. Originally delivered in Barcelona, registered as B 6997 AZ, on 17 May 1975, chassis number 002 remained in the city with a handful of owners through 1988, when it was sold to Kurt A. Kunti of Alicante, Spain. In his ownership, the car was restored in 1980, including being refinished in dark blue with a beige interior. The car remained in Europe throughout the 1990s before being sold to the respected Maserati collector Alfredo Brener in 2000.
In July of 2003, the car was sold by Brener to Bruce D. Milner of Los Angeles, a well-known collector of one-off Italian performance prototypes. Interestingly, at the same time, Milner owned chassis number 004, thus putting both of the Frua-bodied Quattroportes under the same roof.
This car remained in Milner’s ownership until its acquisition by Doug Magnon and has remained in the Riverside International Automobile Museum ever since as a highlight of the Collection in the eyes of staff, visitors, and the Magnon Family. It was shown a handful of times in the museum’s ownership, including at Concorso Italiano in 2015, where it was voted Best of Maserati in a very competitive class.
This unique Quattroporte, a show star of the 1970s, presents quite well throughout and would be a highly compelling addition to any collection of Maseratis or post-war coachbuilt automobiles.