Maserati Barchetta
"... getting under the skin of THB CNULAC"

BARCHETTA: A Chapter from History by Ermanno Cozza

Guido Barbieri in the A6GCS - Sassi-Superga Hill Climb 1947The terms used to describe the various types of bodystyles that have "adorned" automobiles over time has never been precise and, as a result, has generated some confusion. The same term has been applied, through the years, to various types of body design. Things have been further complicated by the use of universally accepted terms borrowed from a variety of languages (first French, then English and Italian) that have created a linguistic potpourri. The term Barchetta has suffered a similar fate.

This word came into vogue after the war to describe a sporty, fast car with rather Spartan accouterments and a body covering both frame and wheels. It was with the barchettas that the road races resumed in Italy in 1946: on 29 September of that year, a Barchetta driven by its owner, Guido Barbieri, debuted in the "Coppa Mercanti".

A6GCS 'monofaro' Sport 2-litre 1947The car was the result of profuse ideas and technical content from Ernesto Maserati and hard work and know-how from designer Massimino, starting practically from scratch. The engine was an updated version of the 6CM of 1939: with three carburettors and single camshaft timing system, this naturally aspirated 1.5-litre powerplant cranked out 90 bhp at 5000 rpm. The innovative tubular frame had independent front suspensions and a rigid rear axle with cantilevered half-leaf springs. The two-seater body was handsomely profiled and offered a truly low drag coefficient. Thanks to its light weight (750 kg), the car was extremely pleasurable to drive, enabling even non-professional drivers to reach 150 kph.

The debut in Milan was followed by other victories: Mantova, Voghera ... on this occasion it was driven by Gigi Villoresi, who was owner of the engine. When the the A6GCS appeared, with a completely different bodystyle designed by Medardo Fantuzzi, the original Barchetta was momentarily set aside.

On the A6GCS, the engine displacement was raised to 2 litres and the power leaped to 120 bhp. This model collected numerous victories, especially in hillclimbing.

The need to provide better protection for both crew and car, and particularly to improve the aerodynamics, led to the design of the Barchetta 1946.

Other constructors followed Maserati's example, and racing in the sportscar category soon captivated not only the public but also the private "gentlemen drivers". This led to participation in international competition, where Maserati was able to grow and develop experience.

1954 Maserati A6GCS/53In 1953 the Sport 2000 A6GCS/53 came along, fathered by Gioacchino Colombo, who reproduced the image of the earlier version and equipped it with a 6-cylinder dohc engine that turned out 170 bhp at 7500 rpm. The frame and suspensions were improvements of the former design. Despite its particularly accentuated lines, the car preserved a characteristic lightness of form.

The medium-displacement sports cars of the '50s were a mandatory apprenticeship for drivers aspiring to Fl, and Maserati can boast of having nurtured many promising young contenders such as Mantovani, Musso, Giletti, Salvadori, Scarlatti, ....

While the sports-car formula was becoming more important in international professional terms, the barchettas continued to race, to the satisfaction of the private drivers who participated in the events with great competitive enthusiasm.

- Excerpt from Il Tridente March 1992


When Alessandro DeTomaso launched the Biturbo back in 1981, Maserati established a traditional get-together to coincide with the birth date of the "Officine Alfieri Maserati Automobili": 14 December 1914.

The purpose of this meeting was to offer the press, friends, Maserati Club members and concessionaires an advance look at Maserati's programmes for the coming year and the near future.

In keeping with this commitment, in the past the company presented models already in production, models about to go into production and prototypes for mechanical or bodywork studies which, regardless of their end use, served to refine technological and aesthetic research or just to pursue experimentation to understand to what extent theories are applicable to reality.

Barchetta CorsaBack then, the objective was to put Maserati back on the road and breathe new vitality and credibility into an historic marque with a glorious past: a source of company pride but certainly not enough.

Today we may say that Maserati is once again appealing to prestige car enthusiasts with products worthy of its name and tradition, with models such as the GranSprort, Coupé, Spyder, Quattroporte and the stunningly beautiful MC12.

So in 1992, to feel truly reborn, it returned to the track with the MASERATI Barchetta, a 2-litre race car rated at over 310 bhp and weighing only 775lb. A track car posessing a level of driveability that offered speed enthusiasts a pure form of pleasure that was competitive without becoming confrontational.


I am indebted to Herr Herzog and Herr Steinecke for their exciting photographic contribution to this page.



  • The Barchetta's supporting structure is a longitudinal beam of aluminium honeycomb, carbon fibre and fibreglass
        composites that gives the vehicle extraordinary torsional and flexural rigidity.

  • In the front, the beam is tight-anchored to a light-alloy subframe which carries the front suspension pickups.

  • The engine is rigidly mounted to the beam by means of a light-alloy subframe, which also includes the pickups for
        the rear suspension. The transaxle group is flanged to the rear of the engine.

  • The suspension design follows the typical Fl pattern: independent wishbones with rocker-arms and pushrods in the
        front and pullrods in the rear.

  • This suspension system is designed to derive the benefits of progressive springing rate according to ride height.

  • The roadholding of this racing car is enhanced by its ability to exploit optimal wheel and spring/damper travel
        ratios through the rocker-arm suspensions.

  • Another important feature is that static ride height can be adjusted by varying strut length, without touching springs
        or bushings.

  • The rubber fuel cell, with anti-slosh, anti-deflagration foam, is located inside the beam, i.e. in the protected portion
        of the car.

  • The Barchetta is built to conform to CSAI standards and is equipped with all the safety devices prescribed in annex
        J to the FIA regulations.


  • This is surely the most innovative part of the car, filled with advanced features, including the technological content,
        the carefully selected materials and the construction system.

  • For the first time, composite materials and carbon are used to mould a body divided into three segments:

  • Central cockpit section, permanently and securely anchored to the support structure using aircraft technology;

  • Front and rear hoods, totally independent and removable;

  • Doors, secured and reinforced by one-piece crossmembers joining the two side sections.

  • Body type 2-seater barchetta-style sports racer
    Production years From 1991 to 1992
    Engine Rear-mid engined V6 cylinder at 90°
    Bore and stroke 82 mm X 63 mm
    Engine capacity 1996 cc
    Compression ratio 7.8:1
    Maximum power 315 bhp @ 7200 rpm
    Distribution Four overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder
    Induction system Weber electronic injection, two water-cooled IHI turbochargers
    with permanent overboost and two air-to-air intercoolers
    Ignition Weber electronic ignition
    Cooling system Water-cooled, centrifugal pump
    Transmission Rear wheel drive
    Differential Limited slip type
    Gearbox ZF six-speed transaxle
    Front suspension Wide angle double wishbones all round, with inboard coil over shock absorbers
    Rear suspension Wide angle double wishbones all round, with inboard coil over shock absorbers
    Brakes Dual circuit non-servo brakes with balance bar - four-pot calipers clamping vented discs
    Length 4050 mm
    Width 1965 mm
    Heigth 845 mm
    Wheelbase 2600 mm
    Wheel tracks Front 1610 mm    Rear 1580 mm
    Tyres Front:- 245/40 ZR x 18    Rear:- 285/35 ZR x 18
    Dry weight 775 kg
    Maximum speed Over 300 kph (186 mph)

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