Maserati MC12 up for Auction in London

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The racing version of the Ferrari Enzo wasn't a Ferrari at all. It was a Maserati. And now one is up for auction.

In an increasingly competitive automotive industry, every carmaker needs to find its own niche and differentiate itself from the competition. Maserati, however, had a bit of trouble finding its way under different ownership. Dating back to 1914, the Trident marque has bounced from owner to owner over the years until Fiat bought it in the early 90s. But failing to find a place for it under a burgeoning umbrella, Fiat handed over control of Maserati to Ferrari in the late 90s and charged it with rebuilding the brand. Ferrari's response is what you see here.

Ferrari itself never raced the Enzo, but developed it into the MC12 to help re-establish the Maserati brand. It went on to dominate GT1 sportscar, but in order to homologate it for motorsport competition, Maserati also had to build a small run of street-legal versions. And one of them is now up for auction. The Enzo served as an ideal starting point, with a a 6-liter V12 planted in the middle F1-style carbon monocoque chassis. Frank Stephenson (then chief designer for Maserati before moving to McLaren) gave it a longer targa-roofed body. Its 630 horsepower drove it to 60 in a claimed 3.8 seconds and a 205 mph top speed.

25 examples were made for public consumption in 2004 and another 25 in 2005 to keep it in the good graces of the FIA, and most of them were painted in Maserati's signature white and blue livery like this one. With only 2,500 km on the odometer, this example has had only two owners from new, when it sold from the factory for $799,000. Up for auction at RM's upcoming sale in London at the end of the month, this MC12 is expected to fetch between £680,000 and £780,000 (about $1 million to $1,250,000 at today's rates), representing a significant increase over the car's original price. Which only goes to show that supercars at this level only appreciate in value. (Photos by Simon Clay, courtesy of RM Auctions.)

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