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  Maserati V8RI

  Article Image gallery (61) Chassis (2) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1935 - 1936
Numbers built:4
Predecessor:Maserati 6C 34
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:September 22, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe arrival of the German Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz teams during the 1934 Grand Prix season raised the bar considerably. In one clean sweep a whole generation of Italian and French Grand Prix was rendered virtually obsolete. One of them was the Maserati 8CM, which was no match for more powerful and independently sprung newcomers. Despite operating at a fraction of the Germans' budgets, the Maserati brothers nevertheless took up the challenge and started developing a new car for 1935.

The main limiting factor of the new for 1934 rules was a maximum dry-weight of 750 kg. The rational behind this was to lower the speeds and make the sport a little safer. The blistering speed of the German cars showed that the first objective was certainly not met and it did not take a genius to figure that a very light car was not any safer. The new rules also increased the costs substantially by encouraging manufacturers to use more exotic materials. Maserati for example had to turn to Isotta Fraschini to cast many of the parts for their new Grand Prix car in a light magnesium alloy called elektron.

In order to catch up, the Maserati brothers recognised that only a clean-sheet design would do. That is most apparent with the engine. Where earlier Maseratis used in-line four, six and eight cylinder engines, the new machine sported a V8. Each block of four cylinders were cast with integral heads to rule out head-gasket failures. Quite in contrast with earlier Maserati designs, each bank only featured a single overhead camshaft, driven from the crankshaft by gears. The most likely reason for this compromise was to keep the weight down. The new engine displaced a formidable 4788 cc and with the help of a Roots-type supercharger produced around 300 bhp.

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  Article Image gallery (61) Chassis (2) Specifications