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  Maserati 8CL

  Article Image gallery (11) 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 versionMated to a four-speed gearbox, the eight-cylinder engine was installed in Maserati's familiar pressed-steel ladder frame. Suspension was by double wishbones with torsion bar springs at the front and a live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear. Hydraulically actuated drum brakes were fitted on all four corners. The 8CL was clothed in a tightly wrapped single seater body that consisted of aluminium panels mounted on a steel frame. The dry weight of the car was 630 kg.

There was some interest in the 8CL, including from 1939 Indy winner Wilbur Shaw, but ultimately only a single car was built for the 1940 season due to the outbreak of World War II. This car was bought by Argentinean Raoul Riganti, who intended to race the car at Indy as motor racing in North America was not yet suspended. Unfortunately, he crashed his 8CL heavily in practice and could not take the start. Eventually repaired, it was raced with little success in South America after the War.

With peace returned in Europe, Maserati received an order for a second 8CL in 1946 from Scuderia Milan. The car benefited from some updates including a revised carburettor setup, which freed a further 15 bhp. No longer eligible to race in Europe, the new 8CL was immediately shipped to the United States where Luigi Villoresi finished eighth in the Indy 500. Occasionally raced in Libre events in Europe, it later made three more Indy 500 appearances with a 25th as the only noteworthy result.

In 1950, two further eight-cylinder cars were built using an all-new tubular spaceframe chassis. These 8CLTs were not successful and ultimately sold to race in New Zeeland. This was a low profile to the end of an era for Maserati. The brothers had left the company and were now operating under the O.S.C.A. moniker, while Maserati rolled a new generation of six-cylinder engine racing and road cars.

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  Article Image gallery (11) 3035 Specifications