1959 Maserati 50/T2/SS
1959 Maserati 50/T2/SS
- Engine: 49.6cc 2-stroke single cylinder
- Transmission: 3 Speed Manual
- Year: 1959
- Frame #: SS2759
- Engine #: SS7376
- Registration: 905 YUK
- Exterior Colour: Silver and blue
- Interior colour and material:
VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY PLEASE.
- The history of this very rare motorcycle is not exactly clear, but we were informed by a former owner (Signor Alessandro Natali of Bologna) that it was sold new in 1959 by Moto Maserati dealer Signor Guido Borri of Modena . Apparently a young Gentleman from a wealthy family in Bologna had acquired it who enjoyed the motorcycle until the late 1960's. In the early 1970's another owner traded the motorcycle to Signor Borri against the purchase of a Maserati 125cc motorcycle.
- Signor Borri sold the Maserati 50 to a Signor Mario Zuffa of Bologna, who in in the late 1970's sold it to a Signor Galliani of Bologna. Signor Galliani was a dealer of bicycles and motorcycles and carried out a restoration of the Maserati.
- After many years of ownership, Signor Galliani sold the Maserati in 1997 to Signor Alessandro Natali of Bologna, the President of the Maserati Motorcycle Historical Register. After nearly four years Signor Natali entered the motorcycle into the Bonhams & Brooks auction at Stafford in England on July 8th 2001. The motorcycle failed to sell and was then entered into the Bonhams & Brooks auction at The Historic Festival at Silverstone on August 25th 2001 where a new owner was found.
- From the warmth of Emilia Romagna in Italy the Maserati joined a huge and prominent car collection in Yorkshire consisting mainly of rare examples of Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Ferrari road and race cars. The Maserati was for static display only and was not operated during it's time in Yorkshire. In July 2003 a red example of a Maserati 50/T2/SS was purchased to keep it company, not that it was bored with its 250F, 4CLT, 6CM and A6GCS Maserati neighbours, to name just a few. The focus of the collection soon changed due to the owner decided to sell the vehicles within his collection that were connected with racing, and we purchased the motorcycle in June 2011. After a few years of enjoyment we sold it in January 2014.
- Factory records stated a 49.635cc engine with 2.82hp at 6,700rpm (max revs 7,300rpm) allowing a top speed of 70-75kph. Weight approximately 49kg. Compression 12.0:1.
- Registered with the DVLA in the UK for road use in January 2012.
- The condition of this wonderful motorcycle is excellent for an older restoration, with just a few minor scratches to report on the top of the right hand suspension fork.
Events this Maserati Motorcycle has been exhibited at:
- Goodwood Road Racing Club Annual Vehicle Display, Goodwood House, West Sussex, August 7th 2011.
- Auto Italia Magazine Italian Car Day, Brooklands, Surrey, May 5th 2012.
A brief history of Maserati motorcycles:
- The sight of a Maserati badge on a classic motorcycle often surprises people, even those most familiar to the exotic Italian marque.
- Wealthy industrialist Adolfo Orsi from Modena purchased the ailing Maserati company from its founding brothers in 1937, and by then Maserati was producing spark plugs and machine tools as well as racing cars. In 1939 Adolfo relocated Maserati to Modena and expanded the company to produce batteries and bulbs too, a diversification that proved very successful during the war years. The car and parts companies were separated in 1947 and Fabbrica Candele e Accumulatori Maserati (FCAM) was formed.
- After business difficulties in 1953 Adolfo decided to divide his remaining companies amongst his siblings, resulting in Adolfo retaining the car manufacturing division and his sister Ida taking control of FCAM.
- Even FIAT cars were financially out of reach for most people after the war so motorcycles and scooters became extremely popular as relatively cheap modes of transport. Many companies diversified or were founded to produce two wheeled motorised transport and Ida Orsi wanted to be involved in this swiftly developing market, so to save money on development costs she purchased an existing company in 1953, Italmoto of Bologna. After relocating Italmoto and the production of its 160cc motorcycle to her own factory in Modena, she simply had the Italmoto badges replaced with Maserati ones and launched the model as the L160/T4. The four-stroke engine produced 7.5hp and had a four-speed gearbox.
- Ida then instructed the design department to come up with a whole new range of motorcycles, the first of which was launched in 1954. The new machine was a 4.8hp 123cc two-stroke (with a three-speed gearbox) known as the L125/T2 which became a successful model for the company.
- At the 1955 Milan Motorcycle Fair Maserati displayed not only their two-stroke 125 and four-stroke 160 machines, but also 175 (175/T4/S) and 250cc (250/T4/GT) motorcycles, both of which had four-stroke engines boasting twin-spark plug ignition, plus four-speed gearboxes. The 125 and 160 were now also available in Turismo Lusso specification.
- In 1956 a range of two-stroke 50cc motorcycles were introduced which featured several different styles of frames suitable for men (50/T2/U and 50/T2/S), women (50/T2/D), and racing (50/T2/SS). All models had a three-speed gearbox and performance for a 50cc was fantastic, especially on the SS whose little 49.6cc engine produced 2.82hp at 6,700rpm (maximum revs being 7,300rpm). A weight of only 49kg resulted in a top speed of 70 to 75kph. Less sporting but a lot more practical however, was the 50/T2/MT which was a three-wheeled pick-up style machine featuring a 2hp engine and three-speed gearbox.
- 1956 also saw the launch of the L/125/TV (Turismo Veloce) which sported a higher state of tune (6hp) than the regular 125 but importantly had a 4-speed gearbox, the gears of which were notoriously fragile due to the factory squeezing a fourth gear within the standard three-speed engine casings.
- Having learnt some lessons with the TV’s transmission, the 125/GT/Super (GTS) was launched in 1957 featuring a 7hp two-stroke engine but with a more robust four-speed gearbox within newly designed engine side covers.
- The L/75/T2 model was also launched in 1957 and was very similar in design to the 50/T2/U, but featured a 74cc 4.5hp two-stroke engine and a three-speed gearbox.
- Unfortunately, after 1957 the company experienced financial struggles and FCAM was finally closed in 1960. The Maserati trident would only then be seen on four wheeled vehicles, back where it all began.
- Despite being sensibly priced in their day Maserati motorcycles sold in very small numbers compared to their competitors resulting in all models being extremely rare, with some being rarer than others. Today, the 125 T2 and Turismo Lusso variants are the most common with the 160 not far behind. The 125 TV and GTS models appear extremely rarely and all 50cc and 75cc models are very rare. It is believed that despite adverts appearing at the time launching the 175 model it never progressed from prototype stage and as far as the 250 is concerned, only about twenty are thought to have ever been made.