One of Britain’s most famous race car drivers, with a record of 40% wins, had a mishap with this beautiful 1956 Maserati 350S– now revitalized as a 450S. Sterling Moss crashed into a tree and nearly went over a ravine when the brakes failed in the 1956 Mille Miglia race. Fortunately he and his co-driver escaped injury but the car was another story.

Naturally, Maserati jumped in and repaired this beauty and went on to use the chassis as their test car for their new 5.7 liter V8 race car, the 450S. So once again Moss was on the track in the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000 kilometer but it suffered transmission problems. Later that year the car was crashed again in the Mille Miglia by driver Jean Behra.

For the next eight years the car sat around the workshop and was eventually sold without an engine. Then another fifteen years past and in the 80s was restored with a correct V8 engine. Now, fast forward thirty years, the restored 450S reappeared in the 1987 Mille Miglia. I cannot say how it did but it did not crash again that I know, thankfully. This particular example (prototype) has spent the rest of its life pampered and admired in an air controlled environment where no Moss would grow.

Of the eleven cars built, including this one—the test car, the other cars were successful in racing and were winners at Sebring and the Swedish Grand Prix in 1957. This particular 1956 Maserati 450S has a very interesting provenance as I think you will agree.

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