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  Maserati 4CM 1100

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1932 - 1937
Numbers built:9 (five in 1932, three in 1935 and one in 1937)
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 21, 2008
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn the late 1920s, the Voiturette class for small engined racers was quickly gaining popularity, particularly with privateer racers. This was a great opportunity for a dedicated racing car manufacturer like Maserati and for 1929 they developed a 1100 cc version of the Tipo 26. Compared to the French Salmsons and Amilcars, the straight engined machine was overweight, which could not even be cured by using exotic alloys. After four examples were produced, the Tipo 26C or 8C 1100 was abandoned and Alfieri Maserati started with a clean sheet.

One of the main reasons for the Tipo 26C's obesity was the rather large straight-eight engine. It was replaced with Maserati's first four cylinder engine, which was much better suited to the small displacement. Equipped with twin overhead camshafts and a Roots-Type Supercharger, the new 1088cc 'four' delivered 90 bhp, which was comparable with the heavier Tipo 26 engine. Mated to a four speed gearbox, the engine was fitted in a compact ladder frame chassis to form the 4CTR (four cylinder 'Testa Riportata', or separate cylinder head).

The 4CTR was first launched in 1931 and only one example was produced. The unique machine's biggest moment of glory came in 1932 when it claimed a 1100 cc class win in the Mille Miglia. More importantly it formed the basis for both a new Maserati sports racer and single seater. The former was similar as the 4CTR and was known as the 4CS 1100 (four cylinder sport). Between 1932 and 1936 five examples of the two-seater were produced alongside the slightly larger engined 4CS 1500 of which another six were constructed.

The single seater, dubbed the 4CM 1100 (four cylinder monoposto) was even more successful both in the salesroom and on the track. Compared to the 4CTR and 4CS, the monoposto featured a slightly shorter and slimmer chassis. The Maserati racer initially weighed in at a highly competitive 580 kg, but continuous development brought that down to 470 kg. The engine was also a constant work in progress and power was gradually hiked from 90 bhp to 140 bhp for an engine fitted in a record racer.

Domenico Rossi immediately excelled in the 4CM 1100 and claimed the 1932 Italian 1100 Corsa championship. It was the start of an impressive career, which saw the nimble Maserati clinch numerous class wins throughout Europe. The introduction of the ERA in 1934 upped the competition considerably. This encouraged Maserati to lighten the 4CM even further and by equipping the engine with a fixed head, another 10 bhp could be squeezed out. Giuseppe Furmanik also broke numerous records with the special record racer.

In 1934 a second version of the 4CM was introduced, equipped with a 1496 cc engine. The increased displacement was achieved by modifying both the bore and stroke. The bigger engine also required a larger Supercharger and Weber Carburetor. The 4CM 1500 engine produced 130 or 150 bhp, depending on the use of a fixed head. Although several class wins were scored by the new Maserati, it struggled against the technically more advanced ERAs. Maserati eventually bridged that gap with the all new 6CM, powered by a six cylinder engine.

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  Article Image gallery (7) Specifications