Maserati Tipo 26B 2.1-Litre Sports 1928 – SPRZEDANE

Maserati Tipo 26 jest samochodem rangi Grand Prix, zbudowanym przez włoskiego producenta w jedynie 11 egzemplarzach, między 1926 a 1932 rokiem. Konstrukcja Tipo 26 składa się ze stalowej ramy podtrzymującej doładowany silnik rzędowy z trzybiegową manualną skrzynią. Konstrukcja ta opakowana została w aluminiowe, dwumiejscowe nadwozie wykonane przez Medardo Fantuzzi. Silnik posiada sprężarkę Rootsa napędzaną wałem korbowym, dwa wałki rozrządu z napędem zębatym i układ smarowania z suchą miską olejową. W swoim debiutanckim wyścigu Targa Florio w 1926 roku, Maserati Tipo 26 z Alfieri Maserati i młodym Guerino Bertocchi jako mechanikiem, zajęło pierwsze miejsce w klasie Grand Prix i dziewiąte w klasyfikacji generalnej. To bardzo atrakcyjne i w pełni użyteczne Maserati z okresu międzywojennego ma niezwykłą historię wyścigową. Swoje bardzo aktywne życie kontynuowało w Argentynie, prowadzone przez barwnego, zdolnego i intrygującego kierowcę, jakim był Juan Augusto Malcolm, Argentyńczyk ze szkockimi korzeniami. Fascynująca dokumentacja towarzysząca temu Maserati zawiera kilka oryginalnych listów, faktur, rachunków i innych dokumentów z lat 1929-30. Maserati sprzedane zostało 9 lipca na aukcji w Goodwood za ponad 870 tysięcy funtów szterlingów, czyli ponad 4,6 miliona złotych.


LOT 211
1928 Maserati Tipo 26B 2.1-Litre Sports, Gran Premio and Formule Libre Racing Two-Seater
Chassis no. 35

£ 900,000 – 1,300,000
PLN 4,800,000 – 6,900,000

Sold for £ 870,833 (PLN 4,676,583) inc. premium

Goodwood Festival of Speed
Collector’s Motor Cars and Automobilia
9 Jul 2021, 14:30 BST
Chichester, Goodwood


*Immensely evocative early Maserati
*Immensely versatile for every Historic use
*Race-winning Argentine career, 1930-38
*2-litre supercharged straight-8 engine

This most attractive and very useable 'tween-wars Maserati has an unusual racing history, having spent its early active life being campaigned in Argentina by a colourful, capable and indeed intriguing private owner/driver who was an Argentine with Scottish roots. He cheerfully went by two names, Juan Augusto Malcolm being the Hispanic form, John Malcolm his English-language alter ego. He became renowned for his racing exploits in that vast country – where his family owned and ran large (and profitable) farming estancias dotted around the province of Buenos Aires, in Bragado, Lincoln and Lujan.

The family business most notably bred thoroughbred horses, while also raising beef cattle and being involved in general agriculture. Juan Augusto (aka John) Malcolm was either born in Buenos Aires on July 29, 1901 – or in Oban, Scotland in 1898, being taken to Argentina by his family when they emigrated in 1900. One story he reputedly told had him being taken to the UK by aunts, eventually returning to Argentina as a youthful multiple motor-cycling champion. Another tale had him working for Bugatti from 1917, competing at Grand Prix level. When he genuinely began racing in Argentina, the always inventive local press conflictingly nicknamed him both 'El Gaucho Escocés’ and 'El Inglés’…

Quite apart from his achievements on track, Juan A. Malcolm is certainly recalled for brazen story-telling of great (fictional) racing exploits on trips to the USA (including participation in the Indianapolis '500′) and to Europe, where he described contesting both the 1924 and 1925 French GPs, and finishing fourth in the latter, in a Delage (that place actually having been taken by Meo Costantini’s Bugatti Type 35). According to Malcolm he had also led at the Nürburgring in a Mercedes S-Type before the car failed.

Despite such a fertile imagination, Juan Malcolm was certainly a competitive and capable racing driver who became quite a star on the Argentine national scene which would eventually produce such genuinely world-beating talents as Juan Manuel Fangio and José Froilan Gonzalez. National Argentine racing through that period involved enthusiastic individuals fulfilling competitive ambitions, not building professional driving careers. Malcolm worked as a rancher amongst developing other business interests, and also indulged in local politics, becoming a mayor as had his father before him.

In fact his weekend racing career spanned the years 1921-1948, thus overlapping with those of Fangio and Gonzalez amongst others. He campaigned a wide variety of locally-modified specials and great imported cars of considerable stature, including such marques as Hudson, Stutz, Chandler-Curtiss, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, Alfa Romeo RL, the immensely exotic Grand Prix Delage V12 owned by Moises Vengerow and his son Jacobo, Mercedes – and Maserati.

Malcolm certainly travelled in Europe in the late 1920s. In 1928 he bought two new Mercedes-Benz cars in Paris: an SSK and a 680S (the latter acquired on November 23, 1928, for 30,000 German Marks). He shipped them back to Argentina where he later claimed he had driven the „Caracciola SSK” to finish 2nd in the 1930 Monza Grand Prix for sports cars (when Caracciola himself had finished 2nd to Ernesto Maserati’s Maserati 16-cylinder). He also claimed to have finished 3rd at Cremona, 2nd at the 'Austrian Grand Prix’, and to have led at the Nürburgring before the car failed.

What is demonstrably true is that in 1929 he not only visited the Maserati works at Bologna but also drove in that year’s Cremona race, reports differing upon whether he handled a Maserati or a Mercedes – or indeed an Alfa Romeo – but if it was a Maserati it was not No ’35’ now offered here which he ordered during that trip.

This Maserati certainly became the first to be imported into Argentina, perhaps significantly being liveried by the factory not in blue and yellow Argentine racing livery, but in blue and white – which would gain sporting fame as the colours of Scotland… 'John’ Malcolm’s birthright.

The fascinating documentation file accompanying this Lot includes some wonderful original letters, invoices, receipts and other documents relating to the car in 1929-30. He paid a one-third deposit of Lire 30,000 for it, the remaining 60,000 upon completion before the car, plus spares, was shipped to Buenos Aires on the Italian luxury liner 'Conte Rosso’.

Studying No ’35’ as it survives today one can imagine it in the liner’s hold on the long voyage south. The 'Conte Rosso’ was named after Amadeus VII, Count of Savoy, the so-called 'Red Count’, and she was much praised in period for her lavish Italian interior decoration – all lost in wartime as she was torpedoed and sunk off Sicily in May 1941 while in use as a troopship. Her assailant was HMS Upholder, the most successful of all Royal Navy WW2 submarines, commanded by Lt Cdr Malcolm Wanklyn who was awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest British military distinction – for this action. Just touch the car and even such fleeting historical connections resonate…

The documentation file also includes a receipt for initial Customs and commission payments related to the car’s original shipping to Buenos Aires, dated April 16, 1930, on the 'Conte Rosso’ – shipped by Fratelli Salvadori SA of Bologna, Trasporti Internazionali the fees paid totalling 2.5-million Argentine Pesos. A letter from Maserati dated March 1, 1930, advises owner Malcolm that the car should run a fuel mixture containing 45 per cent denatured alcohol, 45 per cent Benzol and 10 per cent sulphuric ether.

The engine is described as being of 2109cc displacement, supercharged, 8-cylinders in-line, bore & stroke 64mm x 82mm, maximum revs 5,500 – 4 forward speeds and reverse – 6kg oil pressure to be maintained at 3,000rpm – front tyre pressure 2kg and rear tyre pressure 2.5kg. Performance potential circa 150bhp and 190km/h (118mph)…

In this 2.1-litre supercharged straight-eight Maserati Tipo 26B, Juan Augusto Malcolm immediately took third place in the Circuito Primavera race at Mercedes in Buenos Aires province. In March 1932 he reappeared in the Carrasco race at Montevideo, Uruguay, but after building a notable lead he crashed, overturning the Maserati although Malcolm and his riding mechanic Angel Pieralise escaped unhurt.

The car was repaired in time for two July races in Buenos Aires, leading the first until lap 7 when Malcolm was passed by Vittorio Coppoli’s Bugatti, falling to third during a refuelling stop and finally finishing second overall. The car was liveried in Italian racing red by this time. He then dominated the second BA race, displacing Carlos Zatuszek’s massive Mercedes-Benz SSK only for the huge and uncontrollable crowd to overflow onto the course, and in the confusion Domingo Bucci’s De Soto-Chrysler beat the Maserati into second place.

It was reported at the time that Malcolm was expecting delivery of a new 2.8-litre engine but it seems unlikely it was ever delivered. Still in 2.1-litre form he then won the 1933 consolation race at the Mar del Plata horse-racing track in Maserati No ’35’ and would race the ageing Tipo 26B again in the 1935 500 Miles race at Rafaela, the car repainted yellow and blue, Argentine national racing livery. He qualified sixth and ran with Zatuszek in the early stages before the Maserati’s radiator was punctured and the engine seized.

After further repair he reappeared in the November 24 race at Venado Tuerto, but failed to finish, and at Paraña on December 29 the car ran poorly. Malcolm made his swansong race appearance in ’35’ in the January 1938 Mar del Plata race, only for its differential to fail. At some stage the Maserati was converted to run with hydraulic brakes. Postwar it appears to have been rigged with full bodywork, mudguards (fenders) and lights for more comfortable road use.

Juan Augusto Malcolm’s last race appearance was in a REO car in the 1948 Argentine season. After retirement from racing he remained a prominent and successful businessman until, in 1970, driving the 270 miles north to Buenos Aires from his seaside residence in Chapadmalal just south of Mar del Plata, his car broke down and coasted to a halt. As he got out, he was hit by a passing vehicle, dying soon after, on Thursday, October 8.

His Maserati Tipo 26B as now offered here was eventually bought from the Malcolm family in the late 1980s/early-1990s by an Argentine collector – and the process of restoration was well advanced when the car was sold on to prominent classic car dealer and broker, Corrado Cupellini, of Bergamo, Italy. In 2006 he obtained an Austrian-issued FIA Historic Passport for the car in which its restored engine capacity is cited as now being 1980cc.

The Italian Maserati brothers – Alfieri, Ernesto, Bindo and later Ettore – built their small but hyper-active manufacturing company between the World Wars, exploiting early experience gained with Isotta-Fraschini and Diatto. Their business was born as Officine Alfieri Maserati SpA in 1926 and grew slowly in pokey premises at the Ponte Vecchio, Bologna. The brothers were more racing car enthusiasts than aggressively ambitious businessmen, but they attracted a like-minded and moneyed clientele which permitted the business to grow and to diversify, most notably manufacturing high-quality spark plugs in addition to cars and engines.

They produced what became a long line of Grand Prix, sports and Vetturetta (contemporary Formula 2) cars in near penny numbers. Dynamic Alfieri and energetic kid brother Ernesto were both good drivers but in 1932 the former would die prematurely – aged only 44 – allegedly after botched abdominal surgery.

By then Maserati was well established. Its foundation as a racing marque had been its initial Tipo 26 model similar to chassis No ’35’ offered here (their production numbering system having commenced with No ’11’). In original form the relevant Maserati build-sheet records that it was equipped with 'Freni Maserati’ cable operated front brakes (not the Perrot rod-type featured today)

Hugely experienced and respected Maserati specialist Peter Shaw has examined the car in recent weeks, and his report is available for inspection. Despite the inevitable anomalies created by the passage of time, accident damage and repair, plus progressive modification, then restoration, it is considered that the chassis side rails and engine are substantially the originals. While the gearbox includes modified Fiat components we believe its casing to be a new casting. Perhaps most tellingly Peter Shaw’s report emphasises that the engine as photographed „in bits in Argentina is certainly original”. He continues „the crankcase has the correct Trident stamp above the No ’35’ on the driver’s-side rear crankcase leg. In the same font the No ’35’ is stamped on the gearbox side and the rear dumb-iron”. The bodywork is modern-era, plainly fashioned with reference to the surviving original Maserati Tipo 26 preserved in the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile, Turin. The rolling chassis was delivered to renowned Maserati restorer Sean Danaher Restoration Ltd by Corrado Cupellini in 2000 for restoration (images on file) and Sean Danaher has confirmed his belief that the chassis side-rails are of period-correct Maserati type.

These straight-8 supercharged Maseratis are both remarkably versatile and very attractive to organisers of all manner of Historic, classic and Vintage car events worldwide. They are also, crucially, „good fun”! With its long ownership by the extraordinary Juan Augusto Malcolm, and its exotic racing history in the cradle of South American motor racing which produced the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio and José Froilan Gonzalez, we very much commend it to the market.

Bonhams would like to thank Sean Danaher, Simon Moore, Doug Nye and Peter Shaw for their assistance in researching this description.

Please note that further period documents concerning this car have recently come to light in Argentina and could be purchased by the successful bidder.