The Big Man

Maserati, Monza, Hans Tanner, Temple Buell, klemcoll

It is an early open practice day a few days before official practice for the 1958 Italian Grand prix, scheduled for September 7th. The rather hefty gentleman overseeing activities in the background is Masten Gregory’s American sponsor Temple Buell. The man looking back at the camera in a light blue shirt and wearing sunglasses is the well known Ferrari expert, the American Hans Tanner. Tanner, a Modena resident, was always looking to be helpful, especially if there might be money in it. No doubt Buell filled his requirements.

That group is standing around a dark blue Maserati, Masten Gregory, Monza, klemcollMaserati 250F which would be driven by Gregory in the Grand Prix. Here is Gregory, wearing the helmet, with the car and some of his mechanics, including Maserati’s great racing manager Guerino Bertocchi who wears his usual head gear.

The red Maserati 250F in the foreground is another Buell car. It is still wearing the number 28 which it carried during the prior Grand Prix on the streets of Porto in Portugal on August 28th. It was an ex-works car recently bought by Buell. At Porto it had been driven by Carroll Shelby who had brake trouble late in the race when in sixth position and then spun off just before the end which left him a non-finisher.

Temple Buell came from a wealthy family in Denver where is father was a successful architect. Buell found that Gregory, initially an up and coming sports car driver, was someone with whom he could exercise both his wealth and passion for racing. His money came from his mother who was a cousin of the mother of the famous sportsman/racer the Marquis Alfonso de Portago it is said.

Temple Buell, Masten Gregory, klemcollHere are Buell and Gregory at an SCCA race at Thompson in Connecticut in 1956. Buell also supported other drivers, including Carroll Shelby, but Gregory was generally in the number one position. In 1957 Gregory drove a Buell-owned Maserati 450S, its motor enlarged to 5.7 liters, as if 4.5 was not enough for the “bazooka” as Fangio called it. At Caracas for the season-ending manufacturers championship sports car race, Gregory fortunately had had it fitted with a rollbar inside the headrest which was a good choice as it went upside down on one of the course’s expressway cloverleafs.

Photos by Peter Coltrin ©The Klemantaski Collection –

All our best for the holiday season and the New Year.




  1. · · Reply

    This would be the last hurrah for Maserati with help from Temple Buell who certainly had the means to do so,

    Later in life I wrote in memory of Masten for Road & Track when he died suddenly late 1985.

    I spoke to his wife Lou in Texas and she told me how much they enjoyed their travels with Temple, who was evidently also a good companion.

    I like to think of Masten making his debut in Monaco by finish 3rd on his first GP outing, I joked with him about last seeing him spinning off the course in his red C type Jaguar at March Field,

    obviously coming a long way since 1953.

    His reaction was,,

    ,,” Oh Lord,you saw me do that .? “

    Jim sitz


  2. Jim Sitz encouraged me to make a comment. When I was a photographer, in Days of Yore, I never went to the European races nor fraternizing in the SoCal pits, I shot pictures and came home. Just a shy lad with no stories to tell. As always, I enjoyed your wonderfully nostalgic images. My only comment on them would be I did see one 250F race at U.S. GP Riverside, Bob Drake driver. Another comment might be, did Mr. Coltrin have any close-ups of the legs behind Mr Buell? Respectively, Allen R Kuhn


  3. Klemantaski Collectioin · · Reply

    I do not understand the “legs” question.


    1. The Pixels eat my answer. I will send again. In the first color picture of “The Big Man” article when you look at the rotund gentleman to the left, Mr. Buell, just in back of him are a pair of well-turned feminine legs. White short shorts and black top with, unfortunately, head and shoulders not visible. If you can’t find it now, we must be looking at a different picture. Historically yours, Allen R Kuhn


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