1957 Maserati 450S Costin-Zagato

This one-of Maserati Coupe was developed for Le Mans and it was the only Maserati 450S fitted with a Coupe body. After a poor performance at Le Mans, it was enlarged and used as a road-going supercar.

The first 450S engine was installed in 350S chassis 3501 and renumbered to 4501. At its racing debut in Buenos Aires, Grand Prix drivers Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio failed to finish with transaxle problems. This result was balanced out at Sebring, where 4501 raced to victory ahead of the Ferrari 315S and Jaguar D-Type.

The next appearance of 4501 was at Le Mans where a completely new body was fixed on the car. With encouragement of Stirling Moss, Maserati had Frank Costin, an English aerodynamic consultant, design a low drag body for the 450. In just a couple days, Zagato manufactured Costin’s body, and the result was somewhat unflattering.

Performance of the low drag coupe at Le Mans was disappointing. The car was actually slower than the roadsters and the design caused engine overheating. Despite these setbacks, the car was driven by Moss and Fangio, holding second place until the transaxle went. After Le mans, 4501 was left for scrap with many newer cars ready to contest the series.

In the 1957 season, the Maserati 450 S reigned as the fastest car on the track, leaving all other contenders behind in the capable hands of skilled drivers. Despite being a dominant force, the 450 S faced tough competition in the form of its own mechanical issues, ultimately preventing Maserati from winning the World Championship title that year.

Source: Supercars.net