Review by Pete Vack
Walter Bäumer’s second edition of his fascinating Maserati 300S poses a bit of a problem, one that we’ve never before experienced. After a careful review of both the first and second edition of the Maserati 300S, one can only come to the conclusion that one must buy both editions. Huh? Does this make sense? Well, yes.
Volume 1 of the new second edition is really a different book altogether. While the text appears to be similar to the first edition, it is significantly updated. But more importantly, it is packed with roughly 400 + completely new photos that do not appear in the first edition. Nor do the 390 great historical photos from the first edition appear in the second! They simply disappear. Therefore, if you have not purchased the first edition, you should do so now while it is still available and purchase the two volume second edition as well. If, on the other hand, you have already purchased the first edition, great, but you’ll want the new photos offered in the second edition as well. Got that? (Read review of the first edition)
All the photos in all three volumes are significant, important, professional and enlarged to the maximum degree possible via a large format (295 x 302mm). The second edition also includes a separate volume consisting of historical photos of the four factory race cars, chassis 3054, 3055, 3056/3077 and 3059. We also note that a number of photos from the first edition are reused in this special volume, but to good effect. The layout is well done, and the photo reproduction is first class.
Chapters chronicle the development of the 300s, racing in the US, and a chapter on each of the 25 300 S sports cars tracking the history and current status of each. The 300S is the fendered equivalent of the 250F Grand Prix car, and both can be considered the finest examples of 1950s Italian racecraft. So the subject is worthy.
Bäumer would be the first to recount how difficult it is to try to track the history of each and every one of the 300 S Maseratis. It is not easy, nor is there much profit in it, and often the attempt to get the record straight is met with hostility (or worse) from current owners. The higher the auction prices, the higher the stakes. And instead of definitives, there are many probables, maybes, and like the winner of the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix, still real mysteries surrounded by lawsuits. In fact, as a sign of the times, the legal language in the front of the book states that “This book is intended for entertainment purposes only and should not be used for valuation purposes,” a caveat that does not appear in the first edition.
We note that other Maserati historians have found errors in the text of the second edition. Most, however, are minor, though admittedly could have been corrected before publication.(For example, the Tourist Trophy was held in Northern Ireland, not England.) But this should not deter one from purchasing…and treasuring, Bäumer’s book.
We spoke of the photos. Let’s show our readers but a few of the almost 500 photos in the second edition.
For Volume 2, Bäumer focuses on the four factory cars. Although a few other 300S were used occasionally as factory cars, 3054, 55, 56 and 3059 all were owned by Maserati S.p.A. and all four were driven by factory team drivers. Here are a few samples:
Two volumes in dust jacket with hard cover and slipcase
ISBN: 979-1-85443-29 7-1
Page Size: 295mm x 302mm
Page Count: Vol. 1: 452 pages, Vol. 2: 112 pages
Images: 492 mostly black and white contemporary photographs
Leatherbound edition in solander box available
First edition published in 2008 also available
Our Price: $270.00
Shipping Costs: FREE SHIPPING TO USA AND UK. Shipping to all other countries will be charged one flat rate for first item, additional books in the same order are shipped for no additional s/h charge.