Carroll Shelby standing next to a Maserati 450S that he raced in 1957.
|Body style(s)||2-door, convertible|
Their design started in 1954 (thus the internal designation «Tipo 54») led by Alberto Bellentani and Guido Taddeucci. Their intent was to use larger engines than those then used by Maserati.
One was the 3.5-litre to be used in Maserati 350S, the other to be used in the 450S, had a 4.478-litre short-stroke V8 engine with four Weber carburetor 45 IDM (400 bhp (300 kW) at 7200). The tubular chassis and body was designed by Valerio Colotti, and had much interitance from the Maserati 300S, using De Dion (mechanical) and 5-speed ZF gearbox, and a suspension with double wishbones and coil springs.
Chassis #4501 had a 4.2-litre V8, based on the prototype trial at 1956 Mille Miglia and 1956 Swedish Grand Prix, when it was built on a Maserati 300S chassis, the 3.5-litre V6 and had chassis #3501. A clutch failure prevented a very promising start in the 1957 Argentine 1000 km by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio. The car was redesigned to a coupe drawn by Frank Costin of England, constructed by Zagato, and raced once by Stirling Moss resulting in a massive over-heating incident. Later, the car was restored by Medardo Fantuzzi of Maserati (new chassis #4512); later by Faralli & Mazzanti.
Chassis #4503, driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and Jean Behra, won at the 12 Hours of Sebring 1957. It then was crashed by Jean Behra at the 1957 Mille Miglia, repaired, destroyed at the 1957 Venezuela Grand Prix and later rebuilt.
Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson raced chassis #4505 until the brake pedal fell off; at 1000km Nürburgring, driven by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio) the wheel dropped off; so the car was later sold to Temple Buell, who drilled it to 5.7-litre, later to Jim Hall. The final works cars, #4507, was also destroyed at Caracas, in the 1957 Venezuela Grand Prix.
Other cars were sold: Chassis #4502 to Tony Parravano, #4505 to Jim Kimberley and #4506 to John Edgar. Chassis #4509 and #4510 was sold to the US, some having engine expansions to 5.7 and 6.6 Litres and used in SCCA races by Carroll Shelby, Jim Hall, Masten Gregory, Walt Cline and Ebb Rose. Chassis #4512 was originally the #4501 (see above).
Between 1956 and 1962, the 450S had 119 appearances, 31 of these being winning.