Tag Archives: Maserati

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The Family Silver

 

2015 JB General

The Special Correspondent and I were invited to a book launch yesterday evening. Not just any old book launch but the premier of Nigel Trow’s masterpiece “Maserati The Family Silver”.

2015 JB General

This encyclopedic work in two volumes is likely to be the last word in telling the story of the charismatic Maserati brand through lives of the men who have guided the Modenese icon for over a century.

2015 JB General

Fourteen years have passed since the author commenced work on this history and the expression ‘labour of love’ is the only possible verdict.

2015 JB General

Motor Sport legend and multiple World Champion, John Surtees CBE, was present, celebrating the anniversary of his victory in the 1966 Mexican Grand Prix driving a Cooper T81 powered by a V12 Maserati engine. It would prove to be the penultimate Grand Prix victory for Maserati bringing down the curtain on the company’s international racing story till 2004.

2015 JB General

The event was held appropriately at Maranello Maserati in Egham and those who were lucky enough to be invited were generously looked after, also enjoying the fabulous collection of Maseratis and Ferraris, old and new, on display.

A review of the book will follow in due course, plenty of reading in the meantime.

PS those of you who cannot wait to see my leaden prose can get the book HERE and make their own judgements. The book is not cheap neither are the cars but true value cannot be measured in money alone.

John Brooks, November 2016.

A Very Classic Car Show

To Birmingham’s NEC with The Special Correspondent for the 2012 Footman James Classic Car Show. The Show has expanded this year to fill even more halls and the extra space is very welcome.

Of course it being the NEC there are always a few issues………….the lighting in the exhibition halls remains sub-standard and arguably in breach of Health & Safety legislation, and the level of grumpiness shown by those unfortunate to travel to Birmingham by car was at an all time high. Tales of 45 minutes to get parked at the facility were common, not excusable at such a venue. On the other side of the ledger, those of us arriving by train were greeted by an enthusiastic bunch of staff, who cheerfully steered us all the way to the other side of the site. One could not fault that welcome, so credit where credit is due, more to the point the staff were still there and still cheerful we came to leave.

Once inside the Show there was a bewildering array of automobile heritage, the quality of the content certainly matches any other event of its kind, anywhere. There were so many jewels to see, such as the Aston Martin Atom, a prototype built in 1939. This was the only example of the marque that David Brown drove before acquiring the company in 1947, all of the glories that followed can be traced back to this advanced car and the impression it made on DB.

While in the fullness of time out Special Correspondent will produce one of his Rare and Interesting pieces I propose to have a quick look at what was on offer that caught my eye. A car that represented a significant step in the German Auto industry was to be found on the Audi stand. The work of Paul Jaray back in the ’20s inspired Ferdinand Porsche when designing the Wanderer Type 8.

Porsche would develop the aerodynamically efficient shape when producing one of his masterpieces, the Volkswagen. Jaray’s Ugly Duckling turned into a swan.

The Coventry Transport Museum’s collection provided another pioneering vehicle, the Ferguson R4 Prototype. Harry Ferguson designed a four wheel drive system back in the early ’50s, it featured independent suspension and Dunlop disk brakes and Maxaret anti locking device, all very advanced for the time.

The backbone of the Classic Car Show is the support provided by the car clubs. Stand after stand featured great cars backed up by real enthusiasm and deep knowledge of those manning the exhibition. Questions, no matter how basic, were generally answered with patience and good humour. So while virtually all the stands had something to interest there were some that I preferred to others. A tad Orwellian I suppose, all exhibits are equal but some are more equal than others…….Bugatti for instance had several fine cars, all promoting the scene at Prescott…………….from the early days to the present.

The Maserati stand also had a nice bunch of cars, I have always been a fan of the Trident, even more so since visiting the factory a few years back.

Strange, but Ferrari does not appeal to me in the same way, though who could resist this Dino?

This gorgeous Continental was the pride of the Bentley/Rolls Royce stand.

One strange trend that was more common than might have been expected was adorn a “barn find” with some straw…………..what this achieved was anyone’s guess.

And of course the trend was taken to the next level with a string of onions draped on a Citroën Traction Avant……………..no stereotypes here then, no none at all……………..what next we hesitate to enquire?

There were a few competition cars at the Show, mainly sportscars such as the Jaguar XJ220 that won its class at Le Mans in 1993 but was subsequently disqualified, a casualty in the long running conflict between TWR boss, Tom Walkinshaw, and Alain Bertaut of the ACO.

No such problems afflicted the Aston Martin DBR9 in 2007, with a convincing GT1 class win.

Less successful was this TVR, first retirement in the 1962 race.

Shows such as this always throw up a few oddities, who could resist a chance to sit in a truck used by the Great Train Robbers?

Try explaining Del Boy to an American, eh Rodders?

And this optional extra for all aspiring Bond villains would prove very tempting on the M25 morning commute.

Candidate for the worst colour scheme on display………this Lea Francis Lynx, representing the end of the line for the marque.

The 2012 Footman James Classic Car Show was another resounding success and if you have even a sniff of petrol in your veins you should seriously consider making the trip in 2013, I will be there certainly.

Here is a gallery of images, please excuse the weird colour in some shots, them pesky lights again.

John Brooks, November 2012

 

 

 

Imola Investigata

The Imola circuit, the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, is best known for the Formula 1 races that have been held in the past, particularly the San Marino Grands Prix, world championship events named after the local republic which gave Italy the chance to have two grands prix each season on her soil. But Imola is not a stranger to sports car races, the very first four-wheeled race held there being for cars with two seats.

In fact the first three Imola Grands Prix were for sports cars. It was in June 1954 that Imola hosted a race for two-litre sports racers. This was at the time when there was intense rivalry between Maserati and Ferrari, be it in the world of Formula 1 or even in the 2000 c.c. sports category. In the latter Maserati had been gaining the upper hand with its attractive A6GCS 2000, having already succeeded in the Giro di Sicilia, the 6-Hours of Bari, at Naples and in the Targa Florio. But Ferrari had hit back in the all-important Mille Miglia when one of its new Mondial models came second overall in the hands of Vittorio, the oldest of the racing Marzotto brothers, beaten only by Ascari’s D24 Lancia. The Mondial was Ferrari’s contender for the hotly contested two-litre class and was based on the Type 500 Formula 2 double championship winning Grand Prix four-cylinder car of 1952/53.

The Ferrari factory sent two Mondials to Imola for that first car race, both having Scaglietti bodies based on some ideas of Dino Ferrari with unusually small front grilles. That competent and versatile Italian Umberto Maglioli drove one to victory and Robert Manzon took fastest lap in the other before retiring; Luigi Musso could only manage third for Maserati that day.

Forza

 

 

Cesare Perdisa took revenge for Maserati in the following year while in 1956 the chief race at Imola was for sports cars up to 1500 c.c. This resulted in a win for Eugenio Castellotti in an OSCA despite strong competition from three Team Lotus Elevens.

We jump ahead some sixteen years and find the beautiful Ferrari 312P sports racer winning a non-championship race at Imola – Merzario obliged with team-mate Ickx in second place.

By 1974 Ferrari had abandoned sports car racing officially to devote all its racing energies to the world of Formula One and Maserati, suffering changes of ownership, had long since ceased to be a force in sports car racing. Into this breach stepped temporarily the V12 Matras and for the first time we find the French blue displacing Italian red with the Matra MS670C winning in the hands of Pescarolo and Larrousse.

Imola went on to hold further World Sports Car rounds and Italian honour was upheld with Brambilla’s win in 1977 with the Alfa Romeo T33SC/12 and Fabi and Heyer’s success in the Lancia LC2/83 six years later. But we had to wait until 2004 before the old protagonists set to again on this circuit.

The context was the FIA GT Championship and it was at Imola that Maserati gave its new MC12 its racing début. Although the new cars from Modena were not yet eligible for points, they nevertheless finished on the road in second and third positions leading home three Ferrari 550 Maranellos – it was quite like former times! Yet to be fair to Ferrari their cars scooped enough points (technically 2nd, 3rd and 4th) to give the BMS Scuderia Italia squad the GT Teams title.

Trident Returns

 

 

And so to 2011 and the Bleu France invades again, Peugeot fending off Audi. No more of the big Maseratis but the red of Maranello is happily at Imola once more in the GT section and the pace-setting 458 Italia winning the Pro GT category. And there were works blessed Lotuses there again.

Red Line Moment

 

 

 

 

 

There's a Red House over yonder......

 

 

David Blumlein, August 2011

 

Last Charge

Thundering Herd

Another chapter closes, the FIA GT Championship ran between 1997 and 2009. I was at Hockenheim to witness the birth of this Brave New World back in the last century, so I thought that a visit to Zolder to pay respects to the final round was appropriate.

The duel was between Maserati and Corvette with the Italian SuperCar coming out on top.

Next stop would the FIA GT1 World Championship, same result though.

John Brooks, January 2011