Maserati Notes Tipo 300s Win at Venezuela Grand Prix

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on the Maserati Tipo 300S

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On 6 November 1955 the Maserati Tipo 300S, with Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel, won the Venezuela GP, marking the start of two years of major successes. Maserati notes this victory to underline its strong connection to the world of motor-racing whose viewership is off roughly 40% in a Covid infested world. Nonetheless, Maserati was born on the track with a tradition and history of wins on roads and circuits all over the world.

What happens going forward is anyone’s guess. The new MC20 supercar will mark Maserati’s return to the world of racing.*

The Tipo 300S was created in 1955 as an evolution of the 250S single-seater, and it was the symbol of Maserati in international racing until 1959. In 1954, with the development of the 250S prototype fitted with a 230 horsepower 2.5-litre engine derived from the unit mounted in the 250F racer used in F1, the racing staff began to work increasing the displacement and output. The result was the straight six 3.0-liter unit, more powerful and higher-performing but with fewer mechanical stresses due to the lower compression ratio and a low rpm, despite the higher piston speed.

The rest of the engine’s architecture and details were the same as the straight six 2.5-litre F1 engine –  including two overhead camshafts – were transferred to a sports car. The same mechanicals would eventually be adopted for standard production. From the engineering point of view, the two spark plugs for the twin ignition are visible in the engine’s hemispherical combustion chamber. The front suspension consisted of double wishbones and a helical spring with coaxial telescopic damper.

Finally, the brake drum – light alloy casting with radial fins and holes for heat dispersal. The chassis was also modified to respond to the greater stresses derived from the increased weight, with a trellis of oval and round tubes.

The bodywork by Fantuzzi was smart and now clichéd because it was and is used on so many sports vehicles. The large front air scoop carried the traditional trident framed by aluminum profiles, and the driver’s seat was protected by a small windshield. Finned vents on the sides to prevent air from stagnating in the engine compartment. Twin exhaust pipes ran down the bottom of the left-hand side, ending near the rear wheel. Finally, the tail was bulkier because it concealed the 150-litre fuel tank, the 20 kg side oil reservoir and the spare wheel.

In the mid-1950s as new theories of aerodynamics were being developed, and the bodywork of the 300S underwent a series of styling upgrades during its lifetime to enhance its efficiency. In its debut events in 1955 the 300S immediately was up to the competition, and its successes on track were confirmed by the large number of orders placed by racing teams and gentlemen drivers.

Giulio Alfieri introduced a series of experimental improvements to the car to make it more and more competitive – such as fuel injection – and it was highly successful in Italian and international races, becoming the Brand’s best car in sports category events for two seasons. In 1955 the Tipo 300S won the Venezuela GP with Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel, but 1956 was the year of its greatest triumphs, and when it just missed taking the Sports car world championship. The reliability of its engine and the perfect response of its chassis were said to be the two main features that enabled the Tipo 300S to success.

In 300S cars, in 1956, Stirling Moss and Carlos Menditeguy won the Buenos Aires 1,000 km, and Pietro Taruffi was victorious at the Giro di Sicilia (1st in class up to 3,000 cc) and the Targa Florio (1st in class up to 2,000 cc), Jean Behra at the Bari and Castelfusano Circuit Races, and Franco Bordini at the Five Hours of Messina. In the same year, the car was successful at the 1,000 km at the Nürburgring, with Stirling Moss, Jean Behra, Pietro Taruffi and Harry Schell taking turns at the wheel.

The new, more powerful 450S was introduced in 1957, although the 300S remained in production until 1959. The total number of Tipo 300S cars built from 1955 to 1959 was 27.

*The top-of-the-range is the new MC20 supercar, powered by the Nettuno V6 engine, incorporating F1-derived technologies now made available in the power unit of a standard production car for the first time. Today, the Maserati range is produced at three plants: Ghibli and Quattroporte are built at Grugliasco (Turin) at the Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli Plant (AGAP), and Levante at the Mirafiori Plant in Turin. The new MC20 supercar is produced in Modena, at the historic Viale Ciro Menotti plant.

Bye Bye FCA and PSA. Hello Stellantis

As they move towards the completion of a 50:50 merger in the Combination Agreement announced on 18 December 2019, Peugeot S.A. (“Groupe PSA”) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (“FCA”) (NYSE: FCAU / MTA: FCA) now say the corporate name of the new group will be Stellantis. The Latin verb “stello” meaning “to brighten with stars.” (Mobility Roll of the Die – FCA and PSA Merger, FCA-PSA Merger – Surviving Platforms and Powertrains)

The Stellantis name will be used exclusively at the Group level, as a Corporate brand. The next step in the process will be the unveiling of a logo that with the name will become the corporate brand identity. The names and the logos of the Stellantis Group’s basic brands will remain unchanged. What actually happens to the brands is an entirely different matter.

AutoInformed readers likely realized that such mergers are difficult, and the road – looking backward – is littered with abandoned or failed promises of synergies and sales from such ventures. (FCA + PSA = Massive Job Losses, FCA-PSA Merger – Surviving Platforms and Powertrains)

For enthusiasts as well as workers there are other threats. How about a spin-off FCA’s expensive low-return Alfa Romeo/Maserati operations? Simple math here: It would provide funds for the new FCA-PSA group while improving its utilization rate… (more at AutoInformed.com)

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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