From time to time, pure desperation is the catalyst for remarkable achievement. Such was the case with Maserati in the late 1950's, when increasing financial pressures and restrictive petrol regulations forced the company to abandon Formula One racing after six successful seasons. Despite these difficulties, Maserati decided to develop a sports-racing car available to privateers, thus keeping the firm's name alive on the world's racing circuits.
The factory's parts bins were scoured, and the two litre four cylinder engine of the Maserati 150S became the basis for the new powerplant. A spaceframe constructed of over two hundred tiny steel tubes supported the engine and suspension, earning the new car it's nickname, the 'Birdcage'. This incredible feat of engineering weighed just eighty pounds. The 'Tipo 60' made its debut at Rouen in 1959 at the hands of Stirling Moss, and won, right out of the gate. Work immediately began on the 2.8 litre development of the car which was labeled the 'Tipo 61'.
Enter American race team owner 'Lucky' Casner, who purchased three of the Tipo 61's for his CAsner MOtor RAcing DIvision (Camoradi). His ultimate goal was victory at LeMans, but he sent two of the Maseratis to compete prior to the 24 hour race to the 1000 km run at the Nurburgring in Germany. Team members Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney achieved an incredible win in the rainy, fog-shrouded race, despite a broken oil line. Sadly, Casner's dreams were shattered when all three of his Tipo 61's retired from that year's LeMans competition, all due to mechanical failure.
Constructed from a Make Up Company 1:12 scale kit (long out of production), renowned American model builder Dennis Koleber has created a marvelous reproduction of Tipo 61 chassis #2461, which was triumphant at the Nurburgring. Its large scale allows the oh-so-delicate frame members to be represented most convincingly, while the 'open' dashboard reveals very intricate wiring, dual coils, drilled pedal assemblies, etc. A three piece woodgrain steering wheel graces the cockpit, and the dash features iconic Maserati blue-faced instruments with chrome bezels. The engine cover vents are augmented with hexagonal mesh, and the front clamshell is secured with precise locking handles, drilled with decreasing size lightening holes. Incredible! The hand-laced wire wheels are works of art, featuring disc brakes all 'round and lovely gold-painted calipers. The four-into-two-into-one side exhaust is realistically heat blued, and the headlights are bezeled and etched. Cap it all off with flawless paint and decal work, and you have one impressive model!
Our Birdcage is supplied with a custom acrylic case and black lucite base, and quite significantly, two etched metal plaques, hand autographed by Sir Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney, the most successful pilots of chassis #2461. This model is an outstanding example of the model maker's art, and is absolutely unique. It provides the discerning collector an opportunity to own a magnificent embodiment of one of Maserati's most glorious chapters.