Maserati Tipo V4

Before World War 2, Maserati produced almost exclusively racing cars. Only a few exceptions were approved for road use, but most of them also served their owners as race cars on the weekends. On September 15, 1929, the Tipo V4 made its debut at the Autodromo di Monza with Alfieri Maserati at the wheel as the crowning achievement of all previous models. In contrast to previous designs, Maserati wanted to make a statement. Under the bonnet was a four-liter V16 engine with a bench angle of 25 degrees. For this, two Tipo 26B inline eight-cylinder engines were combined in a common crankcase, but with two crankshafts. Each cylinder bank received its own magneto ignition system and its own carburettor with superchargers. The name V4 therefore didn’t come from a four-cylinder V-type engine, but from the V arrangement of the 16 cylinders in combination with four liters of displacement. Depending on the source, this engine produced 280 to 305 hp, which were transmitted to the rear wheels via a manual four-speed gearbox. Maserati quotes a topspeed of 260 kph (161.6 mph).

Only two weeks after Alfieri Maserati finished the debut race in sixth place, there was the ‘Giornata dei record’, a time trial race over ten flying kilometers, for which a 17 kilometer long straight part of the old state highway number 10 northeast of Cremona was closed for the day. Today it is part of a provincial road. Three kilometers in front of the starting line were used for acceleration, three kilometers behind the finish line for the braking zone. The regulations still in force today required that record attempts be made to drive in both directions along the closed-off stretch within an hour. Factory driver Mario Umberto ‘Baconìn’ Borzacchini completed the first part, which led slightly uphill, in 2:25.20 minutes with an average speed of 247.933 kph (154.058 mph). Interestingly, he took a little longer downhill with 2:27.40 minutes and reached an average speed of only 244.233 kph (151.759 mph). This resulted in a total average time of 2:26.60 minutes with an average speed of 246.069 kph (152.900 mph). This was a new world record for the international class C for vehicles between three and five liters capacity.

To celebrate this extraordinary success, the Italian Automobile Club hosted a dinner in Bologna, which was attended not only by the most famous racing drivers from Italy, but also by the city’s top officials and Enzo Ferrari. He took the opportunity to recruit the two rich entrpreneurs Alfredo Caniato and Mario Tadini as financiers for his planned racing team, the Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari and Maserati had therefore already had points of contact long before the Fiat Group merged the two brands under the same management.

Images: Maserati