The A6 Years Part II

'A' for Alfieri and '6' for the number of cylinders.

"... built for road and race, Sports Car and Formula 2".


It was the rivalry with Ferrari which stirred Maserati from its dormant years in the early fifties. Maserati had now left the factory to form OSCA and the Orsi family decided to meet the challenge on all fronts: F1, F2 and 'sports car', with less emphasis on 'gran turismo' production. In 1951, the talents of Alberto Massimino, now promoted technical director in place of Ernesto Maserati, focussed on plans for a new F2. This was now the senior formula as race organisers had decided that their round on the World Championship would be held to Formula 2 regulations. This caused the abandonment of the F1 World Driver's Championship in 1952 and 1953. It seemed obvious to Maserati to start with the basic A6GCS, considering its occasional use for 'sports car', with minor modifications for formula 'Cadet'. And so was born the 'A6GCM' (M for 'monoposto' - single-seater). But alas once again this hybrid achieved little success on the track.

The man who changed their fortunes was Gioacchino Colombo, father of the Grand Prix 'Alfette' and designer of the first 12-cyl Ferrari. Colombo, who replaced Massimino in the months prior to his leaving Maserati to join Bugatti, modernised Maserati's technical department, thereby laying the foundations for the successes of the Fifties and the Sixties.

The first Maserati on which Colombo concentrated his efforts was the 'A6GCM'. The stroke of the 6-cyl engine was shortened to gain more revs; increasing power to a respectable 190bhp. With a little work on the suspension and brakes, Maserati had a winning 'monoposto' by the end of 1952. Colombo's revised 'A6GCM' was an instant success, demonstrating itself to be the only car capable of challenging the dominance of the Ferrari '500 F.2'. But above all it was the inspiration for the 'A6GCS/53', the car that replaced the now ageing 'A6GCS'. The main changes made were to the engine: the cylinder size, the induction system, the gear-driven twin overhead camshafts and the twin ignition system. The engine of the 'A6GCS' was very similar to that of the 'A6GCM' and had a power output of 170bhp, with only one major difference: the adaptation for the use of commercial petrol, in anticipation of a change in motor sport regulations.

The A6GCM


Juan Miguel fangio winning the Italian GP at Monza in the Formula 2 Maserati A6GCM.


A 1951 A6GCM Formula 2.


The A6GCM Formula 2 DOHC engine.

  A6GCM Technical specification
 Engine  Front engined 6-cylinder in line
 Bore and stroke  72.6mm x 80mm (1951-52) - 75mm x 75mm (1952) - 76.2mm x 72mm (1953)
 Cubic capacity  1987 cc (1951-52) - 1988.1 cc (1952) - 1959.5 cc (1953)
 Compression ratio  13.5:1 (1951-52) - 12:1 (1953)
 Distribution  DOHC with 2 valves per cylinder
 Induction system  Normally aspirated with No 3 Weber 38DCO3 (40DCO3) carburettors
 Power output  160bhp @ 6500 rpm (1951-52) - 180bhp @ 7300 rpm (1952)
 197bhp @ 8000 rpm (1953)
 Ignition  Single with Marelli ST25DAS magneto(1951-52)
 Double with Marelli ST25DAS magnetos(1952-53)
 Lubrication  Forced by pressure and scavenger pumps
 Cooling  Water cooled forced by centrifugal pump
 Gearbox and clutch  4-speed and reverse - dry multiplate plate
 Transmission  Rear wheel drive
 Chassis  Tubular structure with longitudinal and cross members
 Front suspension  Independent with coil springs and Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers
 Rear suspension  Rigid axle with longitudinal leaf springs
 and Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers
 Steering  Rack and pinion
 Brakes  Hydraulically operated drum brakes
 Wheels  Wire wheels 4.00 x 15 (1951-52) - 5.00 x 16 (1953)
 Tyres  Pirelli front 5.00 x 15 / 5.50 x 15 (1951-52) - 5.25 x 16 (1953)
 and rear 6.00 x 15 / 6.50 x 15 (1951-52) - 6.50 x 16 (1953)
 Wheelbase  2280mm (1951-52) - 2310mm (1953)
 Wheel track  Front - 1278mm (1951-52) - 1225mm (1953)
 Rear - 1200mm (1951-52) - 1160mm (1953)
 Dry weight  550 - 560 kg (1951-52) - 570 kg (1953)
 Bodywork  Single-seater in aluminium (probably by Medardo Fantuzzi)
 Maximum speed  250 kph / 156 mph


Following his usual approach, Colombo, having worked on the engine, set about improving the performance of the 'A6GCS' by scrutinising every other component. For the body he opted for the 'Barchetta' shape, which offered aerodynamic advantages. The body remained largely unchanged during its entire production; the only difference was to the front grille which was eventually adorned with the Trident. Colombo was quite happy to retain the better characteristics of the 'GCS' and transferred to the 'GCS/53' all the experiences he had gained in the designing of the 'GCM'. He made alterations to the suspension geometry and finally improved brake cooling.

The setting up of a World Championship for sports cars in 1953 gave the 'A6GCS/53' project a tremendous boost. From its first appearances, its debut was at the Tour of Sicily 1953, the 'A6GCS/53' revealed extraordinary speed and handling qualities. On circuits around the world they were often to be seen leading opposition powered by engines of a greater capacity. Many drivers achieved success, nationally and internationally, in the 'A6GCS/53' and of these two in particular stood out, Sergio Mantovani and Luigi Musso who in 2-litre Maseratis won Italian Championships in 1953 and 1954, before moving on to Formula 1. Other drivers and owner/drivers who cannot go unmentioned are Emmanuel De Graffenried, Emilio Giletti, Felice Bonetto, Alfonso De Portago, Cesare Perdisa, Benoit Musy and Maria Teresa De Filippis (now President of the Registro Maserati).

All the 'A6GCS/53s' were fitted with bodies by Medardo Fantuzzi and in some cases by Celestino Fiandri. The only exceptions being three Berlinettas with coachwork by Pinin Farina and two spiders, one by Frua and the other by Vignale. In two years (from May 1953 to April 1955), total production was 52 cars. An exceptional number for that period when one realises that this was primarily a competition model.

The A6GCS/53


The A6GCS/53 Barchetta with coachwork by Medardo Fantuzzi.


The A6GCS/53 Barchetta with coachwork by Medardo Fantuzzi.


The A6GCS/53 Berlinetta with coachwork by Pinin Farina.

  A6GCS/53 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 multiplate 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


In 1954, following the success of the A6GCS/53, Maserati produced a Touring version, the 'A6G/54'. Presented at the Paris Motor Show, it was fitted with the 6 cylinders 2-litre twin overhead camshaft engine of the 'sports car' but this time no effort was made to detune the engine. This did not escape the notice of certain customers who raced them in the GT category. Sixty units of the 'A6G/54' were produced with coachwork by Frua, AIlemano and as shown below by Zagato.

The A6G/54


The last of the road A6s, the A6G/54 with coachwork by Zagato.

  A6G/54 Technical specification
 Engine  Front engined 6-cylinder in line
 Bore and stroke  76.5mm x 72mm
 Cubic capacity  1985.6 cc
 Compression ratio  8:1
 Distribution  DOHC with 2 valves per cylinder
 Induction system  Normally aspirated with No 3 Weber 40DCO3 carburettors
 Power output  150bhp @ 6000 rpm
 Ignition  Double with Marelli ST111DTEM distributors(1952-53)
 Lubrication  Forced by pressure pump
 Cooling  Water cooled forced by centrifugal pump and oil cooler
 Gearbox and clutch  4-speed and reverse - single dry 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  2550mm
 Wheel track  Front - 1360mm / Rear - 1220mm
 Dry weight  840 kg
 Bodywork  Two-seater barchetta, berlinetta and spider
 Overall dimensions  Length - 3840 mm / Width - 1530 mm / Height - 860 mm
 Maximum speed  195 - 210 kph / 147 mph


When at the end of 1953 the international motor racing body raised the permitted engine capacity to a maximum of 2500 cc, the remaining 2-litres cars, single-seater and 'sports car', were officially withdrawn, but many continued to race under private ownership for some years. 1954 saw the arrival of the 250F (F for Formula 1) and the 250S (S for sports car), but that's another story.

   
   

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