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  Maserati 4CLT
 

  Article Image gallery (79) 1608 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1947 - 1950
Numbers built:29
Predecessor:Maserati 4CL
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 15, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionMaserati returned to racing after the War with the 4CL introduced back in 1939. While the four-cylinder engined machine ran in the 'Voiturette' class before the War, it qualified for Grands Prix from 1946 onwards. The single seater racer combined a traditional steel ladder frame chassis with a very sophisticated engine with a four-valve head. In addition to the existing cars, five more were built in 1946.

The final car produced in 1946 addressed some of the 4CL's weaknesses with the introduction of a steel tubular frame chassis. This would be carried over to the 1947 production models, which accordingly was referred to as the 4CLT for 'Tubulare'. In addition to the lighter and stronger chassis, the 4CLT also boasted redesigned front suspension with coil springs instead of the torsion bars used on the 4CL. The rear-end consisted of a live axle with trailing arms and reversed quarter-elliptic leaf springs.

The 4CL's four cylinder engine was also further developed. It was was constructed from two separate blocks of two cylinders with integral heads. The twin overhead camshafts were driven by gears and actuated four valves per cylinder. Bolted onto the nose of the engine were two supercharger of two different diameters, producing consistent boost throughout the rev-range. In 1947, the engine was good for 220 bhp and as better fuel was once again available, this figure climbed to 280 bhp in 1948.

Clothed in a slippery single seater body, the new Maserati Grand Prix car tipped the scales at just 630 kg. The car was campaigned by both the Maserati works team and numerous customers. Between 1947 and 1950, the Italian manufacturer produced an impressive 29 examples of the 4CLT. Two subtle evolutions were developed, the first introduced in 1948 had a further refined chassis, while the final two cars built in 1950 featured a redesigned and slightly more powerful engine.

Faced with strong competition from Alfa Romeo, Talbot Lago and the quickly emerging Ferrari team, the 4CLT was raced with considerable success by the likes of Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio. The four-cylinder Maserati scored several Grand Prix wins in the late 1940s but in the inaugural Formula 1 season played second fiddle to the Alfa Romeo Alfettas. Maserati did not replace the 4CLT but instead created the brand new A6GCM aimed at the broader Formula 2 market.

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  Article Image gallery (79) 1608 Specifications