1937 Maserati 4CM Monoposto

1937 Maserati 4CM Monoposto

Delivered new in 1937 to Count Giovanni Lurani Cernuschi, better known in motor racing circles as ‘Johnny’ Lurani, one of the founder members of Scuderia Ambrosiana together with Luigi Villoresi and Franco Cortese, chassis number ‘1128’ is one of the very last Tipo 4CMs made. Manufactured in February 24th 1937 and supplied in 1,100cc specification, ‘1128’ came with a spare cylinder block, pistons, connecting rods and supercharger enabling it to be converted to 1,500cc when required. Lurani was very successful with this car throughout the 1937 and 1938 seasons, winning the 1,100cc category at Turin, Milan, Genoa, Naples and Palermo, and taking the Italian National Championship. (A full list of this car’s race results can be found in the Adolfo Orsi archive).

‘1128’ was one of four Maseratis taken to South Africa in the winter of 1937/38 by Scuderia Ambrosiana. At Cape Town, the last stop on the itinerary, Lurani shared the 4CM with Villoresi, who took over the drive when in 6th place and had worked the unfancied 1½-litre car up to a fighting 3rd place at the finish. On its return the 4CM was rebuilt in Italy in preparation for the forthcoming season. Lurani ran the car in 1,500cc form at the Tripoli Grand Prix, where he set fastest lap and finished third, and in the Targa Florio where he retired, before converting it back to 1,100cc, for handicap reasons, for the London Grand Prix in June. Held at the Crystal Palace circuit, this event would prove to be a fateful one for the Count, who overturned his 4CM in practice, breaking a hip. The car was only superficially damaged but Lurani’s injury was severe enough to end his monoposto racing career. ‘I acted as a cushion for the car when it landed,’ he was quoted as saying. With his single-seater career now over, Lurani advertised the 4CM in The Motor with an asking price of £795. The car was advertised as in 1,500cc form, with spares to convert the engine to 1,100cc, and guaranteed to exceed 140mph.

While Lurani was convalescing, the car was repaired and raced by W G ‘Bill’ Everitt and Achile Varzi before being sold via BRDC secretary, Desmond Scannell to ex-racing motorcyclist and Isle of Man TT winner, C J P ‘Charlie’ Dodson. Dodson raced the car at the 1939 British Empire Trophy race at Donington Park and once more that same year at the Nuffield Trophy race, running with the leaders on both occasions only to retire.

Descriptions & Pictures by conceptcarz & bonhams

Production Start 1937
Country of origin Italy