Car details



2,810cc, DOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Roots-type supercharger, 220bhp at 5,500rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes

*Awesome, road-going Supercharged Grand Prix car
*Proven Road Tour and competition car
*Mechanically sorted by expert Chris Leydon

"...some of the most desirable and attractive grand prix and voiturette and sports cars ever built. There are very few of them, sadly, that have survived... If you ever get the opportunity to drive one, believe me you must take it." Alain de Cadenet referring to the pre-war Maserati, Victory by Design.


For decades Maserati really did present the warm, engaging and thoroughly friendly face of the Italian commercial racing car industry, and through changing ownerships the marque achieved a remarkable consistency in its personnel – many of whom grew-up, lived, worked and indeed died as, to the core, Maserati people. Perhaps this distinctive 'family' feel which the company enjoyed and demonstrated for at least its first four decades was inevitable, given the unique family ties of its creators – the brothers Maserati themselves. 

Of the six surviving Maserati brothers, all except Mario would go on to become motor engineers; and even Mario had a role to play in the marque's foundation, designing its famous Trident badge, which is said to have been inspired by the statue of Neptune in Bologna, where the factory was situated at Pontevecchio. Società Anonima Officine Maserati was set up in December 1914 by Alfieri Maserati, specialising in the tuning and repair of Isotta-Fraschini motor cars. After the end of The Great War, Alfieri and his brother Ettore were recruited to manage Diatto's racing programme, and when that company withdrew from active competition the pair, together with Ernesto Maserati, set up on their own. 

The Maseratis were racing specialists – the first Maserati road car would not appear for several years – and their first product was a 1.5-litre supercharged straight eight intended for the formula that commenced in 1926. It would turn out to be an auspicious debut, for the new Tipo 26, crewed by Alfieri Maserati and mechanic Guerino Bertocchi, won its class in that year's Targa Florio. As a low volume producer whose products were aimed at wealthy enthusiasts, Maserati was relatively unaffected by the Depression and production increased steadily, although they were more literally handbuilt than most rival manufacturers.

The 1928 Mille Miglia saw a memorable drive by Mario Umberto 'Baconin' Borzacchini/Ernesto Maserati whose 26B led the favored Alfas and Bugattis, but retired. 

From 1930-32 the Maserati brothers' Bologna factory built at least a dozen Maserati 26M and 26M Sport competition cars with 2495cc 185bhp straight-8 engines, and the sports version established its reputation through the 1930 racing season. Their brief reign was then overturned by the new Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza and Bugatti Type 51 twin-cam cams for 1931. It was in response to this reversal in fortune that Alfieri Maserati then responded by increasing the cylinder bore of his 26M engine from 65mm to 69mm – the maximum possible permitted by his '2500' block casting – which with the 69mm stroke length produced a displacement of 2811cc. Power output was claimed to be 205bhp at 5,500rpm. Bologna-based carburetor manufacturer Edoardo Weber collaborated with Maserati in perfecting the new engine's induction system, and it was with this 8C-2800 model that the marques of Maserati and Weber grew together. 

This new engine was installed in the proven 26M design chassis frame but the bodywork was refined and improved, adopting a lower profile for greater aerodynamic efficiency and better penetration. The Maserati 8C-2800 made its debut in the 1931 French Grand Prix at Montlhèry, just south of Paris, where the rugged Luigi Fagioli broke the lap record. A second car was available in time for Rene Dreyfus to drive it in the Monza Grand Prix that September, where Fagioli won in spectacular style.
For the 1933 season the dynamics changed a little, with Alfa Romeo ceasing its own racing program and leading to the arrival of Enzo Ferrari's Scuderia. This gave Maserati its best season, a snapshot before their competition would leap-forward with Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. 

As Maserati progressed from racing 'Bipostos' to seaters, the era of these beautiful rakish sports cars, which today represent usable road touring cars, came to an end. 


In keeping with Maserati nomenclature and numbering systems, their new '3 liter' cars were pre-fixed with '30', although historians feel that the first ones were still of the earlier capacity. Both 3001 and 3002 were registered in 1931 and raced in that year and 1932. Engine 3003 was sold in May 1932 and likewise the crankcase 3004 is also dated May 1932. The new cars for the 1933 season were the 8CMs which debuted at Tunis and Monaco - and Nuvolari used to win Spa in July. 

Owing to the nimble-ness of the Maserati brothers in fielding entries for contemporary events, rebuilding them and oft times reconfiguring them between races and from year to year, together with the cultural lack of need or interest in documenting or charting numbers in period in the way we do today, it has become the tireless work of numerous historians to try to piece together the precise histories of these brazen iconic Sports Racing cars. 

To compound such researches, owing to their purer racing lines the Maseratis did not find themselves with secondary careers as touring/road cars as a number of Alfa Romeo did. Instead their lives tended to consist of a racing evolution and/or with the intervention of the Second World War rather sadly disassembly for storage. This fate appears to have accounted for most of the 1933 8-Cylinder Maseratis and intriguingly most migrated to this country after the war in the 1950s. As far as can been ascertained, both of the first '3 Liter' cars, 3001 and 3002 were in America by the early 1960s, where they were discovered by long time car sleuther, collector and historian Richard 'Dick' Merritt in two separate finds, together with numerous Maserati components, which included crankcase 3004. 

These would eventually pass to noted British Maserati enthusiast Cameron Miller. After a while Cameron sold one to the late Bob Sutherland, founder of the Colorado Grand and elected to keep the ex-Birkin car, 3002. At this point, all were supplied to expert Maserati restorer Peter Shaw to return the cars to the road. Shaw's exceptional skill and passion for the marque, which certainly emanated the Maserati ethos with which they were built originally, made it possible to rebuild the cars to the truest and highest possible standards of the day. The surviving chassis of 3001 and 3002 obviously took the priority, while Shaw himself negotiated the purchase of the extraneous crankcase to the equation, being 3004.

While busy restoring those cars, a chance offering of a Maserati rear axle from John Hewitt began to crystallize the revival of this car. The axle had been retrieved from the garages of Roland Dutt, a noted former owner of 3001, and was none other than number 3004. Over the course of the ensuing years, Shaw was also able to source a period, though slightly earlier gearbox, number 26 and the project began to take shape. Since British Vintage Sports Car Club racing regulations at this time permitted a '3 of 5' major component rule, this would provide him with a car that he could campaign/race. 

With his unique experience of having worked on many of these cars and particularly the 3 Liter versions, as well as his talented craftsmanship, he was able accurately make a new chassis and front axle. Similarly while he crafted bodies for the Sutherland and Birkin cars from the surviving bodywork panels, he matched a new two seater body for this car. Using his contacts in the pre-war community and knowledge of the Maserati marque, he found numerous other detail features, such remarkable finds as an original aero screen, original oil tank, and the exquisitely designed water filler cap, all of which have ensured that the finished car was as true to form as it could be.  

Once completed, Shaw registered it for the road and would campaign his car for a number of years, proudly using it on the Mille Miglia in 1987. In 1999 he elected to sell it when it passed to the present owner, Willem van Huystee. 

As with all of Mr. van Huystee's cars, using them was by far his highest priority. Not satisfied with the car's performance as acquired he sent it to legendary mechanical engineer Chris Leydon. Mr. Leydon carried out a total and thorough rebuild of its engine, all the while adhering to its owner's clear directive that all of its original components should be preserved and restored. This task proved to be a huge undertaking, but nevertheless, the numbered engine crankcase was truly restored and put back into working order as was its gearbox and rear axle, preserving the drive-train of the car. Since completion of this work, in its current long term ownership the car has been vociferously campaigned by Mr. van Huystee, being a common sight at events ranging from road tours to concours, including the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, at Lime Rock, Pocono, and in recent years at The Ascent Hillclimb at the Elegance at Hershey, while it has also been shown here at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, Meadowbrook Hall Concours and at Radnor Hunt. Over the course of the last 30 years, its regular use has given the car a rather appealing patina which seems appropriate for a historic Grand Prix car. As shown in the catalog presentation it is currently fitted with full road equipment, including cycle fenders and headlamps and is titled for the road.

Throughout his ownership, Shaw researched the 3 Liter cars extensively, a particular anomaly being that the information that Maserati themselves had didn't specifically reference a car number 3004. At this point based on current research, it seems likely that the crankcase 3004 was fitted to car 3001 by 1938 when the car began its spell in the UK, but its earlier history is unknown at this point in time, although research continues. 

Likewise, Maserati archivist Ermano Cozza, and the current owner have worked on this aspect extensively and have hypothesized considerably. What is certain is that Maserati produced a very small number of cars in this era, and logic says that they are most likely to have been numbered for assembly purposes, i.e. ensuring that when dismantled for rebuilds the right parts went back on the right car, so since there clearly was an engine and back axle 3004, it seems likely that there was a car 3004. For some time it was felt that the origins of 3004 might be connected with the 'Sperimental' Front Wheel drive car, which is known to have existed but was considered dangerous and was not pursued as a project, however logically the survival of a rear axle dispels such suggestions, and from contemporary photos the front wheel drive car was of a narrow chassis single seater format.

In the view of the current and previous owner they feel that the origins of 3004 are one particular 8C that is visually documented in period but unaccounted for in history/number terms, this being a wide chassis single seater, which is identifiable by its higher profile of the tail of the body. Importantly, that car still had mechanical brakes in its later guise, whereas the others were converted to hydraulics and their chassis drilled accordingly. 
Such trails continue to be unraveled by historians and occasionally new information does come to light, so perhaps one day this will be fully endorsed. 

All Italian machinery from this pre-war era is a remarkable statement of the country's passion for engineering and the desire to compete on the world stage against increasingly foreboding powers and nations. Alfas and Maseratis with their beautiful high-quality castings are as much an aesthetic jewel as they are an awesome racing machine. However, there is a strong argument to say that the Maserati with its dropped frame and svelte aerodynamic bodywork has the edge in terms of looks, as evidenced by this car. 

Beyond sheer beauty, its true meaning becomes all the more apparent when it is started and driven, there can be few more adrenaline pumping experiences than behind the wheel as pilot of 3 liters of supercharged 8-Cylinder twin cam Maserati when it is screaming down the road! Almost for that reason and that alone, the semantics and minutiae of knowing exactly every chapter of the car's history begin to fade from importance and the ability to simply relish this extraordinary 1930s racing machine takes over. It is certainly in this spirit that it has been campaigned on numerous events in the last three decades, and since it has recently been inspected by a representative of FIVA and will be granted a technical passport enabling continued competitive use, it will certainly provide a very enjoyable road and/or race circuit mount for its next custodian.

Many of these important cars are now locked up in long term or institutional type ownerships, meaning that they are seldom seen or are available on the open market. Here we present a remarkable and rare opportunity to experience all of the drama and excitement of one of the earliest Maseratis, painstakingly restored by the finest expert for these cars with an incredible eye for detail, and perfectly maintained since. It is a car that can be raced, road toured on events, or perhaps as its current owner has regularly, simply taken out for the sheer thrill of it!


If you are interested in this car

If you are interested in buying this car, please call us at + 31 653 54 18 92. If you cannot reach us, let us call you back.

Let us call you back!