The Maserati A6GCS
An Outstanding Italian Sports Car.

I would like to thank Gemma Kent of 'Autocar' magazine for her kind permission to reproduce the  text  of  this excellent  article that  appeared in  the January 1954  issue of  'The Autocar'.

Many enthusiasts will already have seen, at Goodwood, Castle Combe and Snetterton, towards the end of last season, a beautiful new Maserati sports car in the hands of Roy Salvadori. This car, of the latest type, is the property of enthusiast, 44-year-old S. G. Greene, director of Gilbey Engineering company (which manufacture precision components for - amongst other things - car suspension dampers and fuel-injection equipment), and his co-director, Norman Osborne. Although Sydney Greene is himself debarred from active racing by the loss of one arm, he is determined to run a racing team, and eventual plans include the manufacture of a Grand Prix car to carry the colours of this country in international competition. Meanwhile, to build up the organization and gain experience, he has imported the Maserati sports car to be followed by a 2.5-litre Formula 1 GP machine from the same factory. Roy Salvadori will once more drive for the team, and a very full programme of both sports and racing car events is envisaged.

Principal construction details; the tubular chassis frame, on to which
is  welded  the  tubular  body  framing, forms  a very  rigid  structure.

The sports Maserati is a very interesting machine, and is in basic design but little different from the 1953 Formula 2 GP Maserati. The engine, especially, is merely a slightly detuned version of the alcohol-burning racing car, with a reduced compression ratio to allow for the use of normal first grade fuels. Like its racing counterpart, the car is built on a tubular chassis frame, with coil springs and wishbone independent front suspension, and quarter-elliptic leaf springs supporting the live rear axle, which has an interesting location by radius rods.

The engine is a six-cylinder, slightly over-square in bore-stroke ratio (76.5mm X 72mm, giving 1988 cc); the cylinder block and crankcase are cast in light alloy, as is the detachable cylinder head. Dry cast iron liners form the cylinder bores. The steel crankshaft is carried in seven main bearings, and the connecting rods, with H-section stems, are of nickel-chrome steel. The combustion ratio is 8.5 to 1. The combustion chambers are hemispherical, the inclined valves being actuated from the twin overhead camshafts through pivoted finger. Each camshaft is carried in four bearings, and gear driven through a straight-toothed gear train at the front of the engine.

When the spare wheel  (not shown)  is in place above the rear-mounted oil
tank, there is room in the locker for no more than the proverbial toothbrush.

Lubrication is on the dry sump principle, the pressure pump being located inside the crankcase. The scavenge pump, externally mounted, returns the oil to the rear-mounted five-gallon oil tank via an oil radiator positioned low in the nose of the car; both pumps are of convential gear pattern, the normal oil pressure being in the region of 70 lb per sq in.

Two 14 mm sparking plugs per cylinder are used, situated on the longitudal centre line of the engine. These are fired by two seperate coil ignition systems, one Marelli distributor being driven from the rear of the exhaust camshaft, the other by skew gears from an idler gear driven from the crankshaft nose on the right side. Incidentally, the one is timed to fire two degrees in advance of the other, this apparently gives slightly increased power output; no manual advance and retard control is provided, the normal centrifugal automatic operation being used.

Three horizontal double-choke Weber carburettors, type 40DC03, are used giving the effect of one carburettor per cylinder: the fuel feed is by two Fimac electric pumps mounted on the right side of the cockpit. Two swept three-branch exhaust manifolds conduct the gases into the twin two-inch diamter exhaust pipes, each of which incorporates a small expansion box by way of a silencer.

Note  the  three  double - choke  Weber  carburettors,   the  dual  ignition  from  two
distributors, the twin V-belt dynamo drive and the universal jointed steering column.

The dynamo is driven from an extension of one of the intermediate timing gear shafts by twin V-belts, and carries the centrifugal water pump on its rear end. The water is circulated simultaneously and in carefully planned proportions to ports on the left hand side of the cylinder block and six ports in the cylinder head above the exhaust valves (the latter arrangement by a somewhat sinuous pipe layout to and up the back of the engine).The water offtake is by a six-branch manifold, also on the upper face of the head, above the inlet valves, and thence to the top of the radiator.

Power is transmitted from the engine through a dry twin-plate clutch to the unit-mounted four-speed gear box. First and second speeds use constant-mesh helical gears, third and top being synchromesh engaged. A neat remote control gear lever, short and straight, lies conveniently to the driver's right hand (the car is, of course, equipped with left-hand driving position). A small diameter propellor-shaft, with simple robust Hooks-type universal joints at each end, leads to the hypoid bevel final drive unit, the casing of which is a light alloy casting with a heavily finned sump. The axle is built up, a flanged tube being bolted to each side of the central casing.

Twin  electric  fuel,  pumps  are  bracketed  in  the  right  side  of  the  cockpit.  The
propellor - shaft  runs  above  the  central  tubular  cruciform  chassis  member; the
practical and effective door lock and reverse rear stop are other noteworthy details.

Basically, the chassis frame consists of two main steel tubes, each of 3in diameter, swept inward at the front and up and over the rear axle. There are two main central cross members, each of 2.375in-diameter tube, and two subsidiary tubular cross members at the rear. The front cross member is a swept fabricated box section, the ends of which are jointed at the top by another 2.375in-diameter tube, and the steering box mounting bracket is incorporated in this on the left side. Two longitudinal tubes welded between this and the first central cross tube carry the engine mountings.

A subsidiary framework of 1in-diameter tubes is welded to this basic structure and forms the basis of the body framing and bulkhead, as well as contributing to the rigidity of the whole frame. The remainder of the body framing (all of the steel tube, welded in position) is of 0.5in diameter.

Front  suspension  is  by double  wishbones  and coil  springs,  an  anti-roll  bar being
linked  to  the  lower  wishbones.  The  front  brakes  are  radically   finned, thin  discs
being riveted to their faces to complete a series of ducts for centrifugal air extraction.

The front suspension is independent, by coil springs and wishbones, the olwer wishbone being appreciably longer than its upper counterpart. An anti-roll bar is fitted , as are Houdaille hydraulic dampers. The wishbones are jointed at their outer ends by a forged king pin post, the pin being held solidly in its boss and the stub axle fork bushed to rotate on its extremities. The steering arms are swept forward, one long and one short track rod coupling them to the forward-facing drop arm on the steering box; this must result in a geometric inconsistency on one side (probably the right), but no ill effects can be felt and the handling qualities of the car are exceptionally good. The steering column incorporates two universal joints, and is topped by a light and beautiful steering wheel cut from solid alloy plate, with a split 15in-diameter wooden rim, formed to provide finger grips on its underside.

Front  suspension  is  by double  wishbones  and coil  springs,  an  anti-roll  bar being
linked  to  the  lower  wishbones.  The  front  brakes  are  radically   finned, thin  discs
being riveted to their faces to complete a series of ducts for centrifugal air extraction.

The rear axle is located by tubular radius rods pivoted above its centre at each end and running forward to frame mountings, and by a cross-braced tubular A-bracket, the legs of which are frame mounted and almost span the front width, while the apex contains a socket surrounding a ball which depends from the centre of the axle casing. Thus the axle is, in effect, swung on a parallelogram, while lateral location is afforded by the triangular stiffness of the A-bracket. A quarter-elliptic leaf spring, bolted to a welded bracket close to each main frame tube, is shackled at the rear to each end of the axle casing. As at the front, an anti-roll bar and Houdaille hydraulic dampers are fitted.

The front ventilated and finned drum brakes.

The cast aluminium brake back plates each boast four integral air scoops, two facing forward and two rearward. The light alloy drums are pierced for cooling, but whereas the rear drums are are circumferentially ribbed, those at the front have transverse ribs, a dished aluminium plate being riveted to the outside of each drum. This tends to extract air from the holes in the drum face, and, in fact, the rear air ducts are blanked off and not in use. Lockheed hydraulic opration is used for the brakes, the hand brake (on the rear wheels only) being cable operated.

Splined centre-lock hubs are in conjunction with wire wheels; the normal tyre size is 6.00 - 16in, although tyres of 6.50in section can be used at the rear to obtain a higher gear. Five alternative axle ratios are available (4.22, 4.445, 4.74, 5.00, and 5.25 to 1), but the alternative tyre size provides in effect, a means of splitting these gaps. Pirelli Corsa (racing) tyres are at present in use.

Fuel is carried in a single large tank immediately behind the seats: this has a capacity of 27.5 gallons, and is internally baffled to minimise surge. A large quick-action filler cap protrudes through the body behind the passenger. Behind the fuel tank comes that of the oil and what little locker space remains is occupied by the spare wheel. The battery, at one time carried in the locker, is now mounted athwart the right side main chassis tube just behind the engine, the main leads thus being kept short.

The simple but functional dashboard.

The body is panelled in light alloy of approximately 14 swg and has beautiful and flowing lines with a minimum of unecessary decoration. Two bucket seats are fitted directly on to the chassis frame. All the controls are well placed and well spaced; a central throttle pedal is used, as on most Italian racing cars (simultaneous heel-and-toe operation of throttle and brake is more easily accomplished with this layout). The instruments are kept to a minimum, being confined to a rev counter, oil pressure gauge, and oil and water thermometers. A one-piece full width Perspex windscreen spans the scuttle; incidentally, the lid of the engine compartment, which lifts off completely, is secured by four quick-action catches. The two tiny doors are locked by the simplest type of hook and peg fastener which, however, cannot come undone accidentally.

Altogether this Maserati sports car is a most desirable property, the sight - let alone sound - of which will make any enthusiast's mouth water. With a power of 165 bhp (at 6750 rpm) on a compression ratio of 8.5:1, allied to a dry weight of 13.5 cwt, its performance is a match for that of almost any sports car regardless of size or origin.

The beautifully proportioned A6GCS/53 with coachwork by Medardo Fantuzzi.

  A6GCS serie II Technical specification
 Engine  Front engined 6-cylinder in line
 Bore and stroke  76.5mm x 72mm
 Cubic capacity  1985.6 cc
 Compression ratio  8.75:1
 Distribution  DOHC with 2 valves per cylinder
 Induction system  Normally aspirated with No 3 Weber 40DCO3 carburettors
 Power output  170bhp @ 7300 rpm
 Ignition  Double with Marelli ST65DTEM distributors(1952-53)
 Lubrication  Forced by pressure and scavenger pumps
 Cooling  Water cooled forced by centrifugal pump and oil cooler
 Gearbox and clutch  4-speed and reverse - dry twin-plate plate
 Transmission  Rear wheel drive
 Chassis  Tubular structure with longitudinal and cross members
 Front suspension  Independent with coil springs and Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar
 Rear suspension  Rigid axle with longitudinal leaf springs
 and Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar
 Steering  Rack and pinion
 Brakes  Hydraulically operated drum brakes
  (diameter front 328x60 mm and rear 290x50 mm)
 Wheels  Wire wheels 4.50 x 16
 Tyres  Pirelli front 6.00 x 16
 Wheelbase  2310mm
 Wheel track  Front - 1335mm / Rear - 1220mm
 Dry weight  740 kg
 Bodywork  Two-seater barchetta, berlinetta and spider
 Overall dimensions  Length - 3840 mm / Width - 1530 mm / Height - 860 mm
 Maximum speed  235 kph / 147 mph

The sales brochure for the A6GCS/53 advertised as the 'SPORT 2000'.
This is a scan of the facsimile from the contents of the
'Archivio Maserati'

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