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Maserati 450S by Chris Lawrence
The name Chris Lawrence is synonymous with some of the most sought-after recreations of the 250 GTO; the 250 SWB and the California Spider, and the output of his workshop is comparable to that of the carrozzerias of Giovanni Giordangeno and Mario Allegretti. Indeed it was to Chris Lawrence that Swiss entrepreneur William Favre turned to complete an exclusive run of 250 GTOs when Allegretti could no longer work on the project. Lawrence also built nine Maserati 450s Recreations, before his untimely death in 2006.
Therefore we are very proud to offer, on behalf of his family, Chris Lawrence’s very own personal 450s and the last of the nine cars built.
The Maserati 450s was hugely competitive car is its day. It led the field by two minutes during its competition debut in the Buenos Aries 1000kms, driven by Moss and Fangio, until its gear linkage broke. In the 1957 Mille Miglia a 450s was the fastest car in the event but retired early due to a broken brake pedal while at Nurburgring Moss was enjoying a thirty second lead when he was overtaken by his rear wheel when a half-shaft broke. Sadly the 450s never realised its full potential, dogged as it was by often minor technical problems. But it was also an extremely demanding car to drive and not for nothing was it dubbed 'the widow maker'.
Mindful of its reputation, Chris Lawrence put a great deal of research into ways the car's handling could be improved without losing the visceral qualities of the original. By strengthening the chassis, improving steering and suspension and by adding disc brakes he produced a real 'driver's car'. Little wonder collectors are keen to acquire the cars that restorers have built for themselves, and in the case of this car, Chris Lawrence certainly kept the best till last. Unlike its predecessors this car has a dry sump engine with twin plug head and the authentic transaxle gearbox. Only one other of his cars was built to this exacting standard.
Built towards the ends of the 1990s these higher spec 450s cost over £150,000 at the time. The ladder chassis was built using a jig from an original Maserati 450s chassis, no. 4510, while the all aluminium body was likewise reproduced using bucks from no. 4510. Lawrence even replicated the correct oval section tubing for the chassis.
The donor engine is a V8 Ghibli series 1 which was rebuilt by Terry Hoyle using many uprated parts including pistons, cams and large carbs etc. While the earlier 450s were fitted with a racing style Getrag gearbox and a modified Salisbury back axle, this car has a 5-Speed ZF gearbox and transaxle as were fitted in period to 60s GT40s and Detomasos.
Having covered just 5,000 miles from new this example in in superb condition, throughout. The subject of several magazine features; the last of the line, and Chris Lawrence’s very own car, this is ultimate 450s to acquire in this the centenary year of marque.
Chassis: 16 and 18 gauge round and oval steel tube.
Engine: Maserati Ghibli 4.7-Litre V8 increased to 4.9 lires. All aluminimum, 90 degree quad-cam V8 with four twin-coke, downdraught Weber 45 DCNF carburettor. Dry sumped. 350 bhp@6,000 rpm
Transmission: Rear Mounted 5-Speed 25 ZF manual transaxle.
Brakes: All-disc system. Ventilated, cross-drilled fronts, solid inboard rears with twin master cylinders and balance bar. Non-servo.
Suspension: Double round tube, rose jointed wishbones, cast aluminium uprights, adjustable coil spring damper units, anti-roll bar. Fully adjustable.