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1959 - 1960 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage

The ’Birdcage’ featured a spaceframe chassis made up of around 200 small aluminum tubes welded together. The unique multi-tubular frame was both lighter and more rigid than the tubular frame constructions used on Maserati’s previous sportscars. Both front and rear suspension are derived from previous sportscars with double wishbones at the front and a DeDion rear axle.

Mounted in the spaceframe, canted at a 45 degree angle, was a big four cylinder engine. Two engines were available, the two litre 200 S derived unit powered the Tipo 60 and the 2.9 litre 250 S derived unit powerd the Tipo 61. The latter was conceived especially for US customers to campaign in the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) series. The 250 S engine was bored out to the maximum the block casting could take and fitted with long stroke pistons. The tall engine was canted to minimize the frontal area of the body. In the lightweight construction the 250 bhp delivered by the big ’four’ was more than sufficient.

On the track the Tipo 61 was not dogged by bad luck as its predecessors were. Especially in the US there was no stopping the ’Maser’ in 1960 and 1961. Gus Audrey piloted his Maserati Birdcage to the class championship in 1960 and Roger Penske did the same in 1961. The easy to drive Birdcage was a very popular car among privateers and in good hands it was unbeatable.




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