Remembering the Maserati 250F Racer
When it comes to finding a Maserati model that’s perfect for even the most intense racers out there, few can measure up to the roar of Maserati’s classic 250F F1 racer. Equipped with an amazingly powerful straight-six, 2.5-liter engine capable of pumping out an astounding 220 horsepower, this gone-but-not-forgotten classic is remembered far and wide as one of the most impressive – and most capable – concept racers ever designed.
While the 250F is certainly not a model you’ll find among the excellent pre-owned Maseratis for sale at the Maserati dealership nearest you, that doesn’t mean you won’t find traces of it. That’s because this impressive design, especially its straight-six engine setup, has influenced the design and construction of current Maserati models, including today’s stunning Quattroporte line.
Featuring a slim, low body distinctly characterized by a tubular construction, this naturally aspirated racer broke records and won Formula One Championship Grands Prix eight times, always piloted by some of the most well-known and highly respected drivers of the day. Famous racers like Juan Manuel Fangio took championships in the late ’50s in the cockpit of a 250F, and famed Formula One competitor Stirling Moss owned his own example of this classic vehicle, behind the wheel of which he won the 1956 Monaco and Italian Grands Prix. Moss would later describe the 250F as “probably… the nicest Formula One front end car to drive.”
That might just be because of its whole array of race-ready features, from the ribbed drum brakes and wishbone independent front suspension to its De Dion tube axle, all of which helped give the 250F excellent handling on the road to take on tight corners and extensive courses. Originally a four-speed only model, the 250F received a notable upgrade in 1956 with the addition of a five-speed gearbox and Dunlop disc brakes, further improving its capabilities on the track for the remainder of its lifespan.
Although the 250F saw another update in 1956 – called the T2, backed by a 315 horsepower V12 engine on a stiffer, slimmer body – the original style still reigned supreme for the next four years, culminating in 277 individual driver entries into Formula One championship races by 1960. Of these, 46 entries would race in the championships, bringing Maserati eight victories thanks to its classic 250F line.
Despite this model’s fame and widely-celebrated feats of excellence, Maserati only ever produced 26 individual 250Fs between 1954 and 1960. This is partially due to the model being outclassed by then-emerging rear-engine vehicles, as well as the end of 2.5-liter formula racing in 1960, which would end up disqualifying the 250F from further racing.
Now revered as a collector’s item, the 250F lives on in the personal collections and museums of racing and Formula One fanatics worldwide – most famously, by historic racer Maria Teresa de Filippis, who entered the Monaco Grand Prix in 1958 as the first woman Formula One driver, racing in a 250F. Although she failed to qualify by a tantalising 5.8 seconds, Filippis would set a precedent for future female drivers in the fast-paced sport – and help solidify the 250F as a racing classic.
While none of us are likely to run into one of these venerable racers in our regular vehicle searches, it’s always worth looking back at amazing models like the 250F as testament to the power and prestige of the Maserati brand. If you’re ready to get in on this legacy of automotive excellence, look no further than your local Maserati dealer – where destiny might just be calling you.