2 and 3. THE MASERAT1 3-LITRE AND 1,100 c. c. MODELS
T0 the average follower of motor racing the name ” Maserati ” generally suggests a machine with phenomenal acceleration and speed, varying reliability and one extremely difficult to drive. The brothers Maserati have always been prepared to build a car to suit the customer’s taste from the car which held the world’s road speed record to the 16 cylinder machine which ought to have won the Monza G.P. in 1932. The factory which is situated at Bologna is quite a modest establishment, and only the final erection and tuning is carried out there. A good many of the parts, such as the back axle and gearbox are made for Maserati by the firm of
Isotta-Fraschi n I The Societe AlfaRomeo, which of course is their principal rival, possesses magnificent research laboritories where all the material for the racing cars may be tried before use, but the enterprise of the Maserati engineers has overcome this disability by trial and error and sheer hard work, and the cars from Bologna have many times proved successful against strong AlfaRomeo and Bugatti opposition.
The three litre single-seater cars first appeared at the 1933 Tunis G.P. when Zehender finished third on one of them. Sir Henry Birkin was third in the Tripoli Grand Prix driving a three litre car with a twoseater body, and might have won the race but for the delay caused by bad pit arrangements. Sommer and Zeliender were not very successful at Monaco, and the cars appeared to be too light for their power and consequently difficult to hold on corners. In spite of this, Campari proved their qual
ity by winning the French Grand Prix on his two-seater and Nuvolari celebrated his transfer from the Seuderia Ferrari to the Bologna factory by winning the Belgian Grand Prix on his new mount. During the practise period incidently the chassis was found to flex excessively, and some additional bracing was put in at the Imperia factory. Nuvolari also eollected first place in the Coppa Ciano and the Nice Grand Prix. The Coppa Acerbo promised to be interesting, for it marked the re-appearfince of the Monoposto Alfas driven by Borzacchini and Fagioli. I3orzacchini retired in the first lap and Nuvolari. Taruffi and Campari on Maseratis had a terrific struggle till the latter retired. .Nuvolari looked like being a certain winner, but stopped on account of backaxle trouble. While he was at the pits both Pagioli and Taruffi swept by. He was able to continue and succeeded in
repassing Taruffi, but Fagioli’s lead was sufficient to bring the Alfa-Romeo into first place. The back axle trouble was not surprising in view of the strenuous season of racing which the Maseratis had undergone.
The decision of the Alfa-Romeo factory not to sell the single-seater cars to foreign drivers has sent a flood of orders to Bologna. Lord Howe has ordered one, and Whitney Straight a team of four, which are having Wilson self-changing gear-boxes fitted to them. Birkin’s twoseater car which has the same type of engine as that used in the single-seaters has been bought by Noel Rees, and after some strengthening of the chassis will be driven by the Hon. Brian Lewis during the 1934 season.
Nuvolari of course heads the list of foreign drivers who will he driving IVIaseratis, and Etancelin, Moll and Sommer have also ordered them for next season. The 1,100 c.c. Maseratis are similar in appearance to the larger cars of the same factory, and are amazingly light, their weight complete being only 10i cwts. In spite of this the English M.G. Mag
nettes, which weigh about 19 cwt., have shown themselves superior in the 1,000 mile race and the 1,100 c.c. class in the Coppa Acerbo, which Whitney Straight won • by k-second. Barbieri won the 1,100 c.c. class of the Coppa Ciano, driving the small Maserati and was second to Straight in the
oppa Acerb°. The engine of the three-litre car is a straight-eight with cylinders 69mm. by 100 mm,, giving a capacity of 2,992 c.c. It has a detachable head which carries the valves, two per
cylinder, set at approximately 900 to one another. The two overhead camshafts are driven by gears at the front end of the engine, and the cams bear direct onto thimbles on the end of the valve stems.
The sparking plugs are carried in the centre of the head.
The supercharger, which is of the twovane Roots type, is driven off the front end of the crank-shaft, and draws its mixture from a Weber carburetter. The fuel tank holds 35 gallons. The cornpression ratio is 6.5 and the blower pressure 11 lbs. One magneto is fitted, driven from the front-end pinions. The solid crank-shaft has its throws arranged in two sets of 4, with the two sections at right angles. The centre bearing is a roller bearing, with a plain one in the centre of each four, and ball bearings at the extremities of the shaft. The oil
is fed into the hollow shaft through the plain bearings, and white metal used for the big-ends. The horse-power is nominally 210 at 5,500 r.p.m., but there will be an increase
of 15 to 20 h.p. in the coming season’s cars.
The gear-box is bolted up in unit with the engine, and the drive is transmitted through a multiple-plate clutch. The four-speed gear-box is controlled by a central lever, which comes up between the driver’s legs, and the clutch and brake pedals are arranged on either side of the steering column. The final drive is enclosed in a torque tube. The springs are normal half-elliptics with Hartford shockabsorbers, while hydraulic operation for the four-wheel brakes is a unique feature on modern racing cars. The brake drums are 151 inches in diameter. Another outstanding point is that the chassis is constructed of elektron bronze. The car complete weighs 15 cwts., with
a wheelbase of 8ft. 5iins. and a track of 4ft. 5 ins. It is interesting to notice that though the Maserati is 5 inches shorter with 21 inches less track, the monoposto Alfa-Romeo weighs one hundredweight less. (The weight of the Alfa Romeo was incorrectly given in. last month’s article of this series as 15 cwt.) The all-out speed is about 150 m.p.h., and the price is 100,000 lire or £1,610. The small Maserati has a four-cylinder
engine with bore and stroke of 65 and 82 nun., with a capacity of 1,074 c.c. The engine lay-out is similar to that of the large engine but it only has three bearings. The blower pressure is 17 lbs., and the compression 5i to 1. The horse-power is 95 at 5,700 r.p.m. and the maximum speed about 110 m.p.h. The clutch, the gearbox, the elektron chassis and the hydraulic brakes figure also on the smaller model, and the brake-drums are 13 inches in diameter, or almost as big as the 18 inch wheels.
The wheel-base is 7ft. 10iins., and the track 3ft. 1 lins., while as has been said, the weight of the complete car has been brought down to 10f cwts. In Italy the 1,100 c.c. Maserati costs 55,000 lire, which is £887. Reflecting on the performance of the two Maserati models, it seems that there should be a lively struggle between the 3 litre and the Alfa Romeo, especially if those owned by the Scuderia Ferrari and bored out to 3 litres can be made to withstand the extra power developed. The Magnette has so far proved itself a
match for, if not superior to, the 1,100 c.c. Maserati, and if some reduction in weight could be achieved in the former without affecting the road-holding, there should be at least one class in which Great Britain need not fear Continental opposition.
Miscellany, November 2003
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