- 1934 Maserati 4CS
- Chassis number 1520, ex-Hans Ruesch
- Fitted in period with six-cylinder engine
- Eligible for the Mille Miglia
This Maserati 4CS boasts a fascinating history that has been painstakingly researched by the various owners who have each played a part in completing its restoration.
It was originally built as a 1100cc 4CS, stamped with the chassis number 1518, and was raced in various Italian events during 1933. It made its debut on 21 May at the Parma-Poggio di Berceto hillclimb, where Bepe Tuffanelli won his class and was second overall.
The Maserati also won its class at the Coppa Principessadi Piedmonte in Naples, and was even entered on the Mille Miglia. Sadly, Tuffanelli and co-driver Guerino Bertocchi – who became a marque stalwart – failed to finish the classic road race. Although there is no record of the works entered chassis numbers for the 1934 Mille Miglia, some sources do believe that it is indeed chassis number 1518 that was remarkably driven to 5th overall by Taruffi.
Later in 1934, the 4CS returned to the factory to be upgraded to the latest 1500cc specification, including hydraulic brakes, and while there it was renumbered 1520. Its chassis build sheet, which is contained within the car’s paperwork, states ‘replacing 1518’.
It was subsequently sold to Swiss driver Ulrich Maag, who was sadly killed in a road accident shortly afterwards. The Maserati then passed to Maag’s friend Hans Ruesch (see the period photos in our gallery above), who would go on to race various Maseratis and Alfa Romeos at the highest level during the 1930s. Ruesch competed in 1520 through 1934 and 1935, his outings including the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring, the Grand Prix de Dieppe and the Prix de Berne.
For 1936, Ruesch took 1520 back to the Maserati factory, where a six-cylinder 6CM engine was installed. Independent front suspension was fitted, as was a new offset single-seater body. He raced the car in this form during 1936 at venues such as Monaco, Chimay, the Nürburgring, Albi and Pescara.
Ruesch then sold the Maserati and it was subsequently raced by various Swiss drivers – including Georges Filipinetti – before the war. In 1940, it was acquired by Zurich-based Max Christen, who fitted a replacement body and raced it in the immediate post-war period before deciding to build himself a new car. Once he’d constructed that car’s chassis, he installed the 6CM engine from 1520 and christened it the ‘Maserati-Suiza’.
Christen then dismantled 1520. Its remaining mechanical components were set aside, but the chassis and body were broken up.
All of those surviving components – plus the Maserati-Suiza – were later acquired by a Swiss enthusiast by the name of Stembler. He sold the Maserati-Suiza to the Schlumpf family, and the components from 1520 to Hans Matti in a deal that also included one of the two 6CM engines (number 1530) that Ruesch had purchased for the car during the 1930s.
Those parts were then sold to Peter Smith in Australia, who began the process of researching the history of 1520 and bringing it back to life – something that was carried through to completion by a succession of later custodians.
Its next owner had a new chassis constructed by the famous Brooklands-based Thomson & Taylor company using the original factory drawings and another 4CS chassis for reference. Engine number 1530 was rebuilt around a new crankcase – the original that had been severely damaged by a broken con-rod is included in the sale as well as the original right-hand cam-box – and a new gearbox was built – the original gearbox casing accompanies the car.
The Maserati was sold as an unfinished project by Christies in 2004, and the next owner finished it over the course of the next few years. A new body was built by MPH Motor Panels, and between 2007 and 2009 a lot of work was carried out by noted marque specialist Sean Danaher of Trident Engineering. As a testament to the work carried out by those respected specialists, the car was entered, and indeed finished, the 2015 edition of the Mille Miglia.
Described by the secretary of the Maserati Club as being ‘as accurate a restoration of 1520 as could be achieved’, it was completed using genuine Maserati parts and later reproduction components that were built from original factory blueprints.
Now being offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub, this Maserati 4CS comes with the above-mentioned spares, a Historic Technical Passport and a FIVA identity card. Its history file includes all of the research into its history, plus letters from Count Giovanni Lurani and Hans Ruesch.
It is eligible for VSCC meetings as well as blue-riband events all over the world, and it took part in the 2015 Mille Miglia – more than 70 years after it had first raced there in the hands of Tuffanelli and Bertocchi.
During the early 1930s, Maserati was a manufacturer of pure-bred competition cars and its four-cylinder 4CM and 4CS models were initially created for the 1100cc class of international motorsport.
While the 4CM was a single-seater, the 4CS was the two-seater sports version – and it was in the latter form that the model first appeared as a prototype at the 1931 Mille Miglia. Both the four-cylinder engine and the chassis design were based upon the basic architecture of the bigger 8C.
The twin-overhead-camshaft engine featured a Roots supercharger and dry-sump lubrication, and produced about 90bhp – which would be increased to 115bhp in its ultimate 1500cc form.
A 4CS won the 1100cc class on the 1934 Mille Miglia in the hands of Piero Taruffi and Guerino Bertocchi. Maserati repeated that success in 1935, and the following year two 4CS entries won the 1100cc class and the 1500cc class.
The Bologna-based company produced cars in tiny numbers during the 1930s and it’s thought that only 11 examples of the 4CS were built, plus 19 of the single-seater 4CM. The 4CS is therefore a rare road-racer from a fascinating period in Maserati history.