By Brandes Elitch
From the archives, October 21, 2014
As we have seen in Part 2, about 156 Vignale Ferrari bodies were built, and after 1954 Vignale gradually stopped producing bodies for Ferrari and instead concentrated on the new Maserati 3500 as Ferrari teamed up with Pinin Farina for a new line of Ferraris.
Vignale would quickly win over the Orsis at Maserati, helping establish the 3500 as a serious contender to the Pinin Farina designed Ferrari 250GT series. And by the time it was over, Vignale produced over 2,400 bodies for Maserati. Despite the loss of Ferrari, Vignale had some very good years to come before his untimely death.
By Pete Vack
Heads Up! Be the first to identify the ultra-rare Vignale in the photo below by make and serial number and win a signed Paul Chenard 8×10 poster!
The Good Years
In some respects, Alfredo Vignale was much like Ferrari. He had humble beginnings and like Ferrari relished in having total control of his growing enterprise. He traveled rarely, and according to his brother, never set foot in Maranello.
By Wallace Alfred Wyss
In the late 1970s, Alejandro de Tomaso came to America to find out what kind of car Americans want. He had been building the Pantera since 1971 (continuing even after 1974 when Ford ceased importing it to the U.S.) and had bought Maserati, yet he wasn’t sure what kind of car Americans really desired.
It was by happenstance he dropped by Dick Guldstrand’s shop and Guldstrand invited me over to talk to Alejandro about what I thought he needed to build. I mentioned the BMW 2002 to the Italian car builder and told him what a great car it was in its time. He left and not long after I heard about the Maserati Bi-turbo. [Read more…] about The Car that Saved Maserati
By Jonathan Sharp
Last winter, VeloceToday correspondent Jonathan Sharp left the British Isles to vacation in Italy and brought back absolutely stunning photo journey through the old Lingotto factory and the new Museo dell’ Automobile in Turin. He has just returned from yet another Italian Interlude, and a visit to the Enzo Ferrari Museum, our first of several features is presented this week. More to follow and CLICK on PHOTOS to ENLARGE! [Read more…] about Maserati at Enzo Ferrari
What was it like to drive a Birdcage in 1961? Below, Karl Ludvigsen graphically describes the feel, the noise, and the technique of driving the Magnificent Front Engined Birdcage. This article, originally published in the April 1961 issue of “Car and Driver”, has been republished here with his express permission. Originally published in VeloceToday on November 4 2009.
By Karl Ludvigsen
When you click home the ignition key on the sketchy dash of a Birdcage, a strong red light burns deep within the broad, thumb-sized starter button. To me that light became a symbol of the vast power lurking with this apparently ramshackle piece of machinery, like glowing coals in the crater of a slumbering volcano.
If you’re not already familiar with the Maserati Tipo 61, better known as the Birdcage, be informed by a glance a the accompanying cutaway or at the Tech Report in SCI, April 1960. Its designer, Ing. Alfieri, broke with all the Italian traditions of chassis design and trimmed to a remarkable minimum, a step made possible bit the increasing significance of short, smooth course American races and the decreasing stature of great sports car classics like the Mille Miglia and Tourist Trophy. Only the Targa Florio remains to separate the Birdcages and Lotus Nineteens from real road going automobiles. [Read more…] about Ludvigsen Tests the Birdcage
By Pete Vack
Maserati 250F In Focus
By Anthony Pritchard
10 x10, 224 pages, 192 color and B&W photos
£60 UK, $95 USD, $105 CAN
Veloce Publishing Limited, UK, 2014
Order from www.veloce.co.uk
Review by Pete Vack
Anthony Pritchard’s name should ring a bell with most Maserati enthusiasts for he authored the first comprehensive history of Maserati, published in 1976. Comparable to the Merritt/Fitzgerald Ferrari in 1968 and the 1964 Hull/Slater Alfa Romeo, Maserati: A History, was a watershed work and most remarkably, still a valuable resource over 38 years later.
Along with Denis Jenkinson’s early work on the history of the 250F chassis numbers, first seen in The Maserati 250F: A Classic Grand Prix Car in 1975, Pritchard was one of the first to list all the 250F chassis numbers, something Ferrari historians were also attempting to do with the Maranello marque. Both Jenkinson and Pritchard, however, were often led astray by the factory’s use and re-use of chassis numbers. As time went by and more research revealed new facts about the cars, the old histories needed updating. Among the most recent to try to correct dated S/N information were David McKinney and Barry Hobkirk (McKinney published with The Maserati 250F in 2003). [Read more…] about Maserati 250F In Focus
This week we feature the first of four visits to the Maserati factory. Next week, Graham Gauld recalls the works in the years 1957, 1958 and 1960, while this week, VeloceToday reader David Hewitt ads his impressions of his time in Europe in 1963, and a visit to Maserati.
While trying to identify the cars in Hewitt’s photos, we stumbled across two rare and interesting cars once owned by John Simone, head of Maserati-France. But before we get that, David’s photos of the Nurburgring are equally fascinating and all in color!
Photos courtesy David Hewitt unless otherwise noted.
Text by Pete Vack and David Hewitt
David Hewitt’s father was an Air Force pilot stationed in Europe from 1960 to 1964. Hewitt was only 15 when his family lived in France for the first year and Germany for the remaining years. Hewitt recalls those years: [Read more…] about A Visit to the Maserati Factory, 1963
The Trident’s Car for Kings
By Wallace Wyss
I think there’s a thing with rulers, heads of state, kings or captains of industry.
They don’t like to see the same car they are driving coming the other way.
It is, I think, to protect their reputation. If they have a one-off car, they don’t have to worry about someone saying ”Wasn’t that your such-and-such parked outside Fifi’s Massage last night?” Sort of like a Dior gown for a woman.
Anyway that’s my reasoning why there are so many variations on the coachwork of hand-built exotics. [Read more…] about Maserati 5000GT
Maseratis at Retromobile, 2014
Captions and Photo by Alessandro Gerelli
Retromobile 2014 was a huge success with more than 90,000 visitors in five days. A major factor contributing to this success was the very high level of the cars that could be seen, both in the exhibition itself and in the auctions that are held during the opening.
Italian cars have attracted the attention of everybody, but this year the presence of Maserati was of particular interest. [Read more…] about Maseratis in Paris
By Wallace Wyss
[We’ll have a review of the latest book by Marc Sonnery next week]
Marc Sonnery, age 48, half French and half Swedish, is a fit and well-groomed author who is ready to travel the globe in his quest to write about his favorite marque, Maserati. His name was seen in CAVALLINO for ten years, where he wrote about Ferraris, but in the 1990’s he began researching Maseratis and now spends most of his waking hours researching the history of various models. So it is that he recently authored a book on the Maserati models built when Citroen owned Maserati as well as the Citroën SM. I met with him during Sonnery’s California publicity swing and had an opportunity to do a short interview.
[Read more…] about Interview with Marc Sonnery
By Pete Vack and Kurt Hasler
All photos copyright Stephan Traber
September 9th, 1934: Benoit Falchetto, perhaps a better driver than many realized, came home first in the Grand Prix de L’UMF held on the famous banked circuit of Montlhéry, fifteen miles outside of Paris. He was driving Maserati 8CM 3015, the subject of our recent book review. On Apri 20-22, Maserati 3015 in the hands of owner Kurt Hasler, returned again to the famous French banked circuit to participate in the Montlhéry Vintage Revival.
[Read more…] about Maserati at Montlhéry
Story by Pete Vack
Photos of Selected 8CM Maseratis by Hugues Vanhoolandt
Ernesto, Bindo and Ettore were only half of a remarkable set of six sons born to Rudolfo and Carolina Maserati in Voghera, a small town outside of Piacenza. A seventh son, named Alfieri, was also born but died shortly after birth. The remaining six were all gifted, intelligent and industrious.
Mario Maserati was born in 1890, but unlike his brothers, was never interested in automobiles, and eventually became a painter. Carlo, born in 1881, was fascinated by the new internal combustion engine, and set the stage for his younger brothers. As a young man, Carlo worked for both Fiat and Isotta Fraschini. Carlo died when only thirty, but his interest in things mechanical had passed on to Alfieri, (who was given the same name as the baby who had died earlier). Bindo was born in 1883, Ettore came along in 1894 and Ernesto in 1898.
Alfieri, Ernesto and Ettore established the Societa Anonima Officine Alfieri Maserati in 1914, and although the initial intent was to prepare Isotta Fraschinis for racing, the timing dictated that they make spark plugs for the war effort. After the hostilities, the brothers returned to the modification of Isottas, which eventually led to the manufacture of a car of their own design and construction. By 1926, the first Maserati, the Tipo 26, was ready for the track. Alfieri, the mainstay and inspiration, died in 1932, and Bindo stepped in to assist his brothers in running the business.
Pre War Racing Cars
The Tipo 26 was followed by a series of cars with a variety of cylinders and displacements. The 8C 1100, 1500, 2500, and 3000 were similar cars with different displacements. The 4CM (4 cylinders, Monoposto), was built in small numbers with 1100, 1500, and 2500 cc. The Tipo V4 was a four liter 16 cylinder and the Tipo V-5 was a supercharged V-16, of 5 liters. A six cylinder engine, (6CM) was used in 1934. Four V-8 cars were built for the 1935 season.
[Read more…] about Selected Maserati 8CMs