Private Sales

1957 Maserati 200SI by Fantuzzi

Originally Owned and Raced by Jim Kimberly

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United States Flag | Culver City, California

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Chassis No.
2412
  • First owned and raced by the legendary American privateer and SCCA champion “Gentleman” Jim Kimberly
  • Approximately the 12th of 28 200/250-spec chassis built
  • One of just a handful of examples that retain a correct 2-liter engine
  • Offered from fourteen years of fastidious care by its current custodian
  • Ideal for driving enjoyment at major vintage racing and touring events such as the Colorado Grand, Tour Auto, and the Mille Miglia Storica
  • Documented with factory build sheet copy, period photos, prior bill of sale, and service/restoration invoices dating to 1993
  • A beautifully presented example of Modena’s celebrated racing spyder

GENTLEMAN JIM

The story of this fascinating Maserati begins with its equally fascinating first owner: James H. Kimberly, known in SCCA circles of the day as “Gentleman Jim.” The grandson of one of the four founders of the Kimberley-Clark Corporation, the family company produced Kleenex and a variety of other paper products, and remains a publicly traded powerhouse to this day.

As such, it is no surprise that Kimberly came from great wealth, but his family instilled in him a strong work ethic, resulting in his summers spent shoveling coal at a paper plant in Canada. In the colder months of the year, Jim enjoyed racing ice boats on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago, and he served his country in World War II in the US Navy. In addition to racing ice boats, Jim also raced airplanes and enjoyed sport fishing and sailing.

Considering his other hobbies, it would only make sense that Jim developed an interest in sports cars, an interest strengthened by his friendship with Harley Earl, with whom he attended the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His first sports car was a Jaguar XK120 and not just any XK120, but the first car delivered to the United States, a result of his friendships with Bill Lyons and Lofty England. Driving the car back from New York, he stopped by the races at Watkins Glen, where he witnessed Zora Arkus-Duntov at speed in his Allard, before returning to the Midwest, where fellow Chicago natives, including TV personality and Ferrari owner Dave Garroway, persuaded him to enter the races at Palm Beach in 1950.

Needless to say, he caught the bug.

Once he had a taste for racing, it was only natural that some Italian machinery would find its way into the Kimberly stable. With time, Jim’s performance and results would continue to improve, leading him to become president of the SCCA, as well as the 1954 SCCA C-Modified class champion with his 4.5-liter Ferrari.

This 200SI, chassis number 2412, would arrive with Kimberly in 1957, having been completed in February of 1957. Imported to the United States by the well-known Chicago-based dealer Harry Woodnorth, Kimberly had the Maserati repainted in his signature shade of Kimberly Red, a color he had formulated with the help of his friend Harley Earl, and a color which was seen on most of the Ferraris and Maseratis that he raced. Paired with sensuous open coachwork by Medardo Fantuzzi, there is no doubt that this Kimberly Red Maserati would have been one of the most breathtaking machines on track at any race.

Stemming from the FIA’s new Appendix C regulations introduced in 1957 that mandated a full-width windscreen, two functioning doors, and provision for a spare wheel, Maserati christened this new car the 200SI (with the suffix standing for Sport Internazionale). Later cars featured the twin-plug, four-cylinder, but with slightly enlarged engines to 2.5-liters of displacement and were renamed as the 250S, after which many of the original 2-liter cars were privately upgraded to 250S-specification. However, chassis number 2412 is one of only a handful of cars not to be upgraded

Kimberly’s 200SI debuted in competition at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 1957, with Ted Boynton, Kimberly, and famed journalist/racing driver Denise McCluggage sharing driving duties. Unfortunately, 2412 was forced to retire because of a gearbox failure after 58 laps. Regardless of the result, you can be sure that Gentleman Jim would have made sure that both he and his entourage would have enjoyed their weekend at the races. His Kimberly racing team members wore tailored driving suits to match the Kimberly red of his cars, waiters were attired in matching red jackets, and racing trailers were appropriately liveried and immaculately presented. Aside from all the glitz and glamour, Kimberly was known to his closest confidantes as an extraordinarily generous man who gave freely to charity and supported the less fortunate—a true gentleman both on and off the track.

The Maserati made three additional starts in 1957, all at Elkhart Lake, and during the last of these races Kimberly was joined by the accomplished Jack McAfee. During 1958, chassis number 2412 started seven events, including the Grand Prix of Cuba in February and the 12 Hours of Sebring a month later. Yet, despite Kimberly’s best efforts, the 200SI struggled to finish these races due to various mechanical issues. Driver Jay Middleton actually experienced the most success during this time, finishing 9th in class at Elkhart Lake in June 1958 and 3rd overall at the same track a month later.

In May 1958, Kimberly consigned the Maserati back to Harry Woodnorth to sell for him and ensure the car found its next caretaker. While exact ownership history during the 1960s is currently unknown, by the early 1970s, the car was owned by William Baker of Illinois. In December 1976, the 200SI was sold to Dr. Elliot Siegel of Chicago, and he went on to retain possession until November 1993, accounting for 17 years of dedicated single-owner care.

Acquired at that time by Jay Jessup of Charlottesville, Virginia, the Maserati was immediately inspected by Mike DePudja of Denver, Colorado, for the purpose of an extensive restoration, which was documented with photos and invoices now available on file. This work included replacing the original body panels with reproduction coachwork in proper aluminum alloy, as the owner intended to use the SI in vintage events but was keen to preserve the Fantuzzi body. Upon completion of the refurbishment, Mr. Jessup enjoyed the car in the 2000 Monterey Historic Races. Importantly, the 200SI’s original Fantuzzi body panels remain alongside the car today and will be included in the sale.

In January 2005, the Maserati was acquired by Dr. Wolf Zweifler of Germany, and as demonstrated by further invoices, he retained Tommaso Gelmini’s GPS Classic in Soragna, Italy, to maintain the car and prepare it for event use, including the 2005 Mille Miglia Storica. A year later, following a documented inspection by marque expert Steve Hart, the 200SI was sold to enthusiast Nick Colonna, who entered the car in a host of events through early 2009, including the Shell Maserati Historic Challenge, the Cavallino Classic, and the Monterey Historics. During his ownership, the car was carefully maintained by Bert Skidmore’s Intrepid Motorsports of Reno, Nevada.

Acquired by the consignor in October 2009, the Maserati has continued to enjoy fastidious care over the last 14 years, including an engine rebuild by Mike DePudja from 2013 to 2014. The 200SI has not been used in any vintage racing events since the engine rebuild, suggesting that the car is well-positioned for a fresh chapter in its competition career.

By the end of production in 1957, approximately just 28 examples of all the 200 and 250-spec chassis were built, and these cars remain prized by collectors for their high-revving, torque-happy performance and voluptuous coachwork cues. Chassis number 2412 remains eligible for major events, including the Mille Miglia Storica, the California Mille, the Colorado Grand, and the Monterey Historics, and it is equally suitable for presentation at high-level concours d’elegance and marque gatherings.

These unique racing spyders represent a golden age in the evolution of the Trident, when boutique hand-built production resulted in some of the most striking European sports-racers ever conceived. This particular 200SI promises its future caretaker the considerable thrill of blasting through twisting vintage circuits, or the rapture of admiring its beguiling curves, and the added bonus of being delivered new to one of the most colorful personalities in the history of American motorsport.