1959 W.R.E.-Maserati

Sold For €728.000

Villa Erba

Chassis No.
Engine No.

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

Lot Number
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6 December 2017

New York - ICONS

Sotheby's 10th Floor Galleries, New York, New York

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18 - 19 January 2018


Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona

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