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  Maserati 6CM
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1936 - 1939
Numbers built:28
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionMotor Racing has always been divided in different types and classes. In the 1930s Maserati was mainly focussed on building single seater racers. The Grand Prix class was the top class and featured cars from major German and Italian manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo. For the privateers, the Voiturette (French for small car) class was set up, which allowed for cars to compete with a maximum displacement of 1.5 litres. Smaller, specialised manufacturers, like Maserati, were dependent on privateers buying their racers, so their focus was on building a winning Voiturette racer.

With the 4CM (4 cylinders, Corsa Monotipo) of 1932, Maserati had a winning car, but stiff competition from a new ERA left it obsolete. In 1935 no expense was spared on building a sophisticated Grand Prix racer. Named V8RI after its V8 engine and all round independent suspension, it would form the base of the new Voiturette. A similar chassis as the V8RI's was used, but the rear independent rear suspension was replaced by a less complicated and lighter rigid live axle. For the front suspension torsion bars were used, making the new car the first Maserati in this class to feature independent suspension.

Mounted in the tubular chassis was a completely new 1500 cc engine, now consisting of six cylinders, rather than the four used for its predecessor. Carrying on a Maserati tradition, it was aptly named 6CM. A Roots-Type Supercharger was fitted on the engine, which would power various Maseratis for over a decade. Helped by the forced induction, the double overhead camshaft engine produced 155 bhp at its debut in 1936 and up to 175 bhp in 1939. Directly bolted on the engine was a four speed gearbox.

At its debut half way through the 1936 season, the 6CM immediately was the new car to beat. A few months later, at the Milan Motor Show, it was the first Maserati ever to be displayed on a motorshow. In the following seasons, 6CMs, entered both by the works and privateers, stayed on winning form and scored many class victories all over Europe. It was not only a sportive success, but with close to thirty built it was an economical success as well.

Although it proved to be a success, the 6CM today, is completely overshadowed by the 250 F, which is considered by many as one of the finest front-engined single seater racers. With the introduction in 2003 of a new single seater class in the Ferrari/Maserati challenge, the 6CM can take on the 250 F and other classic Ferrari and Maserati single seaters. The featured 6CMs are seen here on the first round of the championship on the Spa Franchorchamps track on the occasion of the 2003 Spa Ferrari days.

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  Article Image gallery (41) Specifications