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1954 OSCA MT4 by Morelli - SOLD

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1954 OSCA MT4 by Morelli

SOLD for €1.125m plus commission.

Chassis No.1147

Engine No.1503

Documents: US Title

To be offered on Friday, 9 June 2023. For details on how to bid please follow the link below.

€1,300,000 - €1,500,000 EUR $1,400,000 - $1,600,000 USD

£1,100,000 - £1,300,000 GBP CHF1,450,000 - CHF1,650,000

  • One of approximately 19 examples fitted with the 1,491 cc twin-cam 2AD engine; and one of 72 total examples built
  • One of two examples campaigned by the factory at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Desirably retains matching-numbers engine 
  • Fitted with an all-synchromesh ZF gearbox for improved performance
  • Benefits from 1990s restoration supplemented by more recent engine and gearbox rebuilds by Italian car specialists
  • Documented with 1954 Le Mans paperwork, owners’ research and correspondence, and restoration invoices and photos
  • Meticulously maintained during 28 years of current ownership
  • Exquisitely presented, historically significant example of the Maserati brothers’ dominant 1950s sports-racer

Addendum: Please note this lot has entered the EU on a temporary import bond, which must be cancelled either by exporting the lot outside of the EU on an approved Bill of Lading with supporting customs documentation or by paying the applicable VAT and import duties to have the lot remain in the EU.

Veuillez noter que ce lot a été introduit dans l'UE avec un cautionnement d'importation temporaire, qui devra être soldé par réexportation hors de l'UE avec un connaissement (bon de chargement) accompagné de ses documents douaniers, ou par paiement de la TVA et des droits de douane applicables s'il doit demeurer dans l'UE.

In 1947, after completing their 10-year contractual consultancy with the famed company they had sold to the Orsi family, the Maserati brothers founded the Officine Specializzate Costruzioni Automobili, or OSCA, which specialised in competition sports cars. The lightweight MT4 model was powered by a proprietary aluminium inline four-cylinder engine that was eventually capped with a twin-cam head, formulating a potent adversary for Porsche’s 550 Spyder in the sub-1,500 cc racing class. The MT4 earned the admiration of legendary drivers such as Briggs Cunningham, Jim Kimberly, and Stirling Moss, who drove one example to an impressive overall victory at the 1954 12 Hours of Sebring.

According to the combined data of Luigi Orsini’s authoritative marque history; an OSCA owner’s register; Carnet de Pesage records from the Le Mans organisers; and deep research by the consignor (including conversations with family historian and OSCA recordkeeper Alfieri Maserati), chassis number 1147 is one of two examples that were factory-campaigned at Le Mans in 1954. The MT4 was equipped with vented front brakes, quick-jack mounts, and a riveted 100-litre competition fuel tank.

Over 12 and 13 June 1954, the OSCA was entered by the factory, wearing race number 43 and piloted by Lance Macklin and Pierre Leygonie at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After establishing a commanding 15-lap advantage over the leading Porsche, the MT4 suffered an accident during the 23rd hour, although Macklin managed to limp to the end for an unofficial 3rd-in-class finish. Unfortunately, the spider was disqualified for a rule violation, as Macklin had benefitted from spectator assistance in returning the car to the road.

After returning to Morelli for coachwork repairs, chassis number 1147 was exported to the American marque distributor Edgar Fronteras, through whom the car had been previously purchased by the well-known OSCA enthusiast, James Simpson Jr of Illinois. Simpson is believed to have campaigned the spider in SCCA events through the mid-1950s, earning class wins at the sports car race at Lockbourne AFB in August 1954 and at the Orange Empire Sports Car Race at March AFB three months later.

Following Simpson’s passing in the early-1960s, the MT4 was sold without its engine or gearbox to George Sterner of Pennsylvania, and he in turn sold the car in 1972 to Frank Stark. Mr. Stark was able to acquire the original engine from the respected OSCA authority Peter Wessel, but he ultimately lacked the resources to complete a restoration. So, after 17 years of ownership, Stark sold the spider in August 1989 to California resident Scott Borman, who conducted a comprehensive four-year refurbishment.

Acquired by the consignor in February 1995, the OSCA was treated to successive bouts of mechanical restoration, with Leydon Restorations performing a full engine rebuild in 1998. In 2006 Nino Epifani rebuilt the all-synchromesh ZF transmission that is currently fitted, which notably possesses a set of gears that ideally matches the engine’s powerband. This configuration has repeatedly outperformed the stock set-up, making the MT4 a fierce competitor that is a thrill to drive. Finally, in 2012 Gary Cove’s Werke Classic Coach in Charlton, Massachusetts, refinished the coachwork in rosso, while Jonathan Chase’s Skin and Bones in nearby Marlborough reupholstered the interior in blue leather.

The consignor has consistently maintained the OSCA to the greatest possible extent, resulting in successful outings at the 2010 Mille Miglia Storica and during vintage competition in VSCCA events. Accompanied by a rollbar and an unfinished passenger-area tonneau cover, the MT4 is reportedly prepared to immediately resume vintage racing activities, and it is eligible for a host of major events, including the Mille Miglia Storica and the Le Mans Classic. Bidders should note that selected spare parts for this car can be shipped at the buyer’s expense from the Boston area, Massachusetts. Please contact an RM Sotheby's Car Specialist to find out more.

It is important to note that this special OSCA desirably retains its matching-numbers engine, and it is documented with 1954 Le Mans paperwork, owners’ research and correspondence, and restoration invoices and photos (comprising three binders of hundreds of before-and-during photos; and one binder of invoices). The genius of the Maserati brothers is evident in the MT4’s expertly maintained twin-cam racing engine, its advanced-specification chassis, and the breathtaking spider coachwork by Morelli. Collectors interested in acquiring an historically significant cornerstone of the Maserati brothers’ legend need look no further than this exquisite MT4 spider, which boasts bona fide Le Mans racing heritage.



To be offered on Friday, 9 June 2023. For details on how to bid please follow the link below.


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1954 OSCA MT4 by Morelli