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  Maserati 8CL      

  Article Image gallery (23) 3035 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1940
Numbers built:2
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 10, 2017
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn 1937, the Maserati brothers had sold the company they had founded to the Orsi family. One of the conditions of the sale was that they continued to work for the specialist racing car manufacturer for continuity's sake. Working for somebody else did no wonders for the brothers' motivation but their passion for engineering still resulted in some remarkable machines. The best of these was the 4CL voiturette racer, which featured a sophisticated sixteen-valve, four-cylinder engine.

Encouraged by the success of the 4CL, Ernesto Maserati set about creating an eight-cylinder derivative in 1939 to compete in Grand Prix racing. Although it was not quite as straightforward, Maserati merged two of the 4CL's engines to create a three-litre, straight eight engine. This new 8CL was the replacement the 8CTF of 1938, which featured an eight-cylinder engine of the previous generation with just two-valves per cylinder but did win the Indy 500 in 1939.

Mounted on a single crankcase, the 8CL engine featured a pair of cast-iron cylinder blocks with the heads casted integrally. For each cylinder there were two exhaust and two intake valves. These were actuated by a pair of overhead camshafts, which in turn were driven from the crankshaft through gears mounted on the nose of the engine. Showing its close relation to the 4CL engine was the identical bore and stroke of 78 mm, which provided a swept volume of 2,981cc.

The eight-cylinder engine featured a dry-sump oil system and single spark ignition. Two Roots-type superchargers were mounted at the nose of the engine. Each supercharger was fitted with a double barrel Memini carburettor and fed one of the two banks of four cylinders. Each of the sixteen exhaust ports had a separate header pipe, so it was immediately obvious the 8CL had four valves per cylinder. The three-litre engine was rated at 415 bhp at around 6,600 rpm.

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  Article Image gallery (23) 3035 Specifications