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  Maserati 250F T2 'V12'      

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1957
Numbers built:2 or 3
Designed by:Giulio Alfieri and Medardo Fantuzzi for Maserati
Predecessor:Maserati 250F T2 'Lightweight'
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 26, 2013
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWith victories in the first two Grands Prix of the 1954 season in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio, the all new Maserati 250F's career got off to a great start. Unfortunately, the elegant Italian machine was then forced to play second fiddle against the mighty Mercedes-Benz W196 and subsequently the Lancia D50 both with Fangio at the wheel. These eight cylinder engined machines simply produced more power than Maserati's straight six. The 250F's straightforward design did make it a popular choice with privateers and while Fangio dominated Formula 1 in the W196 and D50, Maserati produced around two dozen examples in three years.

Maserati did not take the defeats lying down and gradually developed every aspect of the 250F's design. Much of this work focused on the shape of the body, reflecting an ever growing emphasis on reducing drag. During the 1954 season an all-enveloping 'streamliner' body was used on high speed tracks and for 1955 the definitive 'long nose' was introduced by in-house designer/coach-builder Medardo Fantuzzi. Chief engineer Giulio Alfieri also spent a considerable amount of time devising a fuel injection system for the twin-cam straight six. Another experiment was the off-set installation of the engine in the chassis, which allowed the prop-shaft to run alongside the driver. This in turn allowed the seat to be mounted considerably lower.

Another two victories in 1956 showed that progress indeed was made but with the return of Fangio to the Maserati ranks in 1957, more even drastic improvements were needed. An all-new multi-tubular space-frame chassis was laid down. It followed the same lines but was considerably lighter and stronger than the much more conventional original. The double wishbone front and DeDion axle rear suspension were carried over. Despite the advent of the more efficient disc brakes, Alfieri stuck to drums. These were, however, of a fresh design with improved stopping power and cooling characteristics. The latest version of the straight six engine was carried over but, surprisingly, it was not mounted off-set in the new 'Tipo 2' or 'T2' chassis.

In addition to the new lightweight chassis, Alfieri also devised a new engine in 1956. Very much a clean-sheet design, this was a sophisticated V12 engine with twin overhead camshafts. These were driven by a series of gears from the front of the engine. The 60º cylinder angle in combination with the twin-cam layout left little room between the banks, so Alfieri had to fit the Weber carburettors between the camshafts. As was common on Maserati engines of the day, a twin spark ignition system was fitted. The 24 plugs were fed by two massive magnetos driven by the gears at the front of the engine and 24 individual coils. An engineering work of art, the 2.5 litre V12 produced 320 bhp at a startling 12,000 rpm. That was a whole 50 bhp more than the straight six.

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  Article Image gallery (27) 2531 Specifications User Comments (1)