The latest look back at old classified advertisements features a 1958 Maserati 250F offered for sale in the October 1962 issue of Road & Track for $3,650.
The Maserati 250F was a racing car made by Maserati used in 2.5 litre Formula One racing between January 1954 and November 1960. The 250F principally used the SSG 220 hp (@ 7400 rpm) 2.5-litre Maserati A6 straight-six, ribbed 13.4″ drum brakes, wishbone independent front suspension and a De Dion tube axle. Gioacchino Colombo, Vittorio Bellentani and Alberto Massimino built the 250F and the tubular work was by Valerio Colotti. Twenty-six examples were made.
In total, the 250F competed in 46 Formula One championship races with 277 entries, leading to eight wins. Success was not limited to World Championship events with 250F drivers winning many non-championship races around the world.
The most famous Maserati 250F victory came at the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio at the 1957 German Grand Prix.
Going into the race at the Nürburgring, Juan Manuel Fangio needed to extend his lead by six points to claim the F1 Driver’s Championship with two races to spare.
From pole position Fangio dropped to third behind the Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins but managed to get past both by the end of the third lap. Fangio had started with half-full tanks since he expected that he would need new tires halfway through the race. Fangio pitted on lap 13 with a 30-second lead, but a disastrous stop left him back in third place, 50 seconds behind Collins and Hawthorn.
Fangio came into his own, setting one fastest lap after another, culminating in a record-breaking time on lap 20 that was an incredible eleven seconds faster than the best the Ferraris could do. On the penultimate lap Fangio got back past both Collins and Hawthorn, and held on to take the win by just over three seconds.
With the victory, Fangio claimed his fifth Formula One title and his performance is often regarded as the greatest drive in Formula One history.
This particular 250F is reportedly that very same “Ex-Fangio Nurburgring” Maserati. The seller said, “all parts factory original including new bearings, seals, rings, wiring, etc.” and that “no expense spared to insure tolerance perfection.”
While a Maserati 250F with such a reported provenance would be extremely well received in today’s marketplace, in 1962 you could buy it for less than the price of a new Corvette.
Estimating market value of a Maserati 250F is normally difficult since not many publically change hands. However, RM Auctions recently offered the 1956 Monaco Grand Prix-winning Maserati 250F at their Ferrari Leggenda e Passione auction in Italy. While it did not sell, it was bid to $2,041,000 versus a $2,300,000 – $2,900,000 estimate. We would estimate that this Maserati 250F – the most famous of all – would be worth approximately $3,000,000 in today’s market.
If you bought the Maserati 250F for $3,650 in 1962, then your investment would have returned at least 15% over 46 years.