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V4 Sport Zagato Spider
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  Article Image gallery (31) 4002 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1932
Numbers built:1
Designed by:Zagato
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 09, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIntroduced in 1926, the Maserati Tipo 26 was available with a choice of relatively small displacement eight-cylinder engines, which complied with the contemporary Grand Prix regulations. When these were abandoned by the late 1920s for what was effectively a free formula or Fomula Libre, Maserati needed an engine that was substantially bigger than the existing Tipo 26 derivatives to remain competitive.

Working on a shoestring budget, as always, the Maserati brothers found a solution that would allow them to use as much of the existing design as possible by simply stacking two straight-eight engines on a common crankcase at a 22.5° angle. Of course, in reality, it was not quite as simple as it looked on paper but this was the avenue pursued by Maserati. The new engine/car was dubbed the Tipo V4 in reference to the V16 engine and four-litre displacement.

In order for the two engines to be fitted side-by-side with a central intake the head on the right side bank was reversed. This row of cylinders also ran in the opposite direction to allow for the two separate crankshafts to be connected through a single gear on the output shaft that was connected to the gearbox. Gears at the front of the V16 engine were used to drive the twin overhead camshafts.

Each bank of cylinders featured its own Roots-type supercharger mounted in front of the engine. In order for the the engine to run properly, Edoardo Weber himself spent two weeks to devise two meticulously tuned updraft carburettors for the V16. Once completely sorted, the new Maserati engine produced 280 bhp, which was almost twice as much as the most potent Tipo 26 straight eight. The gearbox featured four forward gears only.

The new V16 was mounted in a slightly widened steel ladder frame. Suspension was by a rigid axle at the front and a live rear axle, while semi-elliptic leaf springs and friction dampers were used on all four corners. The large drum brakes fitted were operated by cables. Built for Grand Prix racing, the car was clothed in a straightforward aluminium competition body. It was easily distinguishable by the dual exhausts and the offset crank handle.

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  Article Image gallery (31) 4002 Specifications