A truly majestic Maserati will grace Hampton Court Palace for 2023’s Concours of Elegance show: the sensational 1955 A6GCS Frua Spider – appearing on UK soil for the very first time.
The exceptionally rare vehicle, one of just three completed with delightful Frua coachwork, and two that survive, is widely considered to be among the most beautiful and desirable 1950s cars of all. It will star from September 1st-3rd alongside over 70 other privately owned motor cars, drawn from leading collections all over the world. 2023’s event is set to be another jaw dropping automotive celebration, all in the most stunning palace setting.
This wonderful A6GCS Frua Spider was conceived by Gugliemo ‘Mimmo’ Dei, the official Maserati dealer for Rome, who commissioned a small series of exquisitely coachbuilt cars based on the high-performance A6GCS platform. The A6GCS/53 – the ‘CS’ standing for ‘Corsa Sport’ – had originally been developed for the 1953 World Sports Car Championship, and featured motorsport-honed mechanicals. It featured a potent 170bhp in-line six-cylinder engine – initially developed by famed engine builder Columbo for Formula 2 racing – and a similarly race-bred, lightweight tubular chassis by Gilco.
Dei initially commissioned design house Carrozzeria Frua of Turin to build a single spider version; he was intent of combining the A6GCS’s race-car like performance with an elegant open top body. The resulting car was a real work of automotive art, blending impossibly delicate spider styling, delightful handling, and shockingly potent, race-car performance.
Indeed, Dei was so pleased with the results, that he requested two further Frua bodied cars be created, including the car that will be displayed at Hampton Court, chassis number 2110, which was completed in the autumn of 1956. These two cars were even more special; beneath the sensational Frua coachwork lay a specially ordered ultra-high performance dry-sump A6G/54 motor, delivering exceptional power while also revving to some 7,300rpm – remarkable for a road car in the mid-1950s.
After its completion, Chassis 2110 remained in Italy for a time, before being shipped to the United States in the late 1950s where it has remained. In the early 2000s it was subject to a painstaking restoration under the supervision of Maserati aficionado Adolfo Orsi – returning it to concours winning condition, quite literally; when Chassis 2110 re-appeared at Villa d’Este in 2010, it won the Coppa d’Oro, or ‘Best in Show’.
The Frua Spider’s appearance at Hampton Court Palace will be the first time it’s been displayed in the UK, and its first public showing since that triumphant appearance on the shores of Lake Como 13 years ago.
2023’s Le Mans Centenary celebration will complement the display of 70 rare and spectacular Concours Cars at next September’s glamourous event. Outside the main display of vehicles, the Concours of Elegance will assemble around 1,000 further cars in a series of special features and displays.
James Brooks-Ward, Concours of Elegance CEO, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured this exceptional Maserati for our event in September. We set ourselves the task of assembling the world’s rarest, most spectacular motor cars – this Frua Spider fits the bill in some style.
“It’s a real tour de force of sports car design and engineering, with supremely elegant 1950s open-top styling that belies true race-bred performance. It’s a real privilege to show such a special car – one of just two in existence – on UK soil for the very first time.”
Further star cars will be announced in the coming months, along with further exciting categories.
Away from the automotive displays, Concours of Elegance 2023 will again be an occasion of pure luxury, with champagne provided by Charles Heidsieck, picnics by Fortnum & Mason, and a collection of art, jewellery and fashion displays. Presenting Partner A. Lange & Söhne will once again showcase some of its most intricate timepieces.