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Maserati Birdcage the marvellous Tipo 60 and 61 sports racing cars
Maserati Birdcage the marvellous Tipo 60 and 61 sports racing cars / Joel E. Finn / Osprey
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The sports racing Tipo 60 and 61 Maseratis featured a chassis design which led to a host of nicknames including soda straw and spaghetti tube but the one which stuck was ‘birdcage’.
There isn’t anything more appropriate for this multitude of small bore tubes welded together to smother the engine and transmission. Fortunately, the cars as well as their unusual name are worth remembering, even celebrating. 1958 saw the Maserati factory inModena, Italy without enough money to continue motor racing. Old habits die hard.
Management decided that they could build a sports racing car which they themselves would sell, but not race. In months this unusual yet outstanding front-engined lightweight was ready.
Clothed in its tight-fitting suit of rolled and beaten alloy it was either downright ugly or supremely beautiful to behold – there were no half measures. From then on these cars enjoyed some fabulous success against the world’s best – Ferrari, Aston Martin and Jaguar – but this was interspersed by some dramatic tragedy too in no small measure. By 1962 the car was obsolete – it had risen, conquered and died in less than four years – yet it is remembered, and not just in Historic Racing circles where it can still win.
Joel Finn’s account is the fullest and most exciting history, jam packed with anecdote, contemporary driver impressions and technical asides.
Each car is traced from construction to time of publication. As someone who has lived with these cars for many years Joel is of the opinion that they were the finest front engined sports racing car ever constructed.