Among serious Italian car people, the 250S is legendary. More than anything, it's the engine, in this case a 2489-cc, dry-sump, twin-cam four that makes 235 hp. Mercury's stonking 368-cubic-inch V8 made 335 hp that year, so for nerds that's 0.9 hp per cubic inch for the American, and 1.54 hp per cube for the Italian. This was deeply exotic territory.
There were only four cars built as 250Ss by Maserati, with more engines in other applications, and each one is known. Engine 2432-1, for example, went into chassis 2432, which was highly unusual. , the others had 200SI engines upgraded to 250S specs. So while there are other cars built as 250Ss, and other 250S engines, there may be only this one car which combined the chassis and engine from the factory. And believe me, for people who love these things, that's a big deal.
Most of these cars were sold to privateer racers, and chassis 2432 went to the right home, landing at Jim Hall and Carroll Shelby's Texas Hall-Shelby Distributors. The two giants of American road racing both used it in 1958, most likely at Sebring (though, they had two identically prepared Maseratis, and it's not always clear which one was at what race). It followed the pattern of most significant race cars after that, moving from team to team in the Sixties; going into private collections in the Seventies and Eighties; and emerging for historic racing in the Nineties. Admittedly, that precious engine did blow up in 2010 and was subsequently rebuilt using as much of the original as possible. It still seems to be worth somewhere north of $3.3 million.
It's also a contender in our voting for the best engine sound. Watch the video and let us know how it compares to the other cars we're featuring. I admit, I'm a sucker for these high-strung little fours.