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Image credits: © Maserati.

1960 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage news, pictures, specifications, and information

Roadster
Chassis Num: 2461
 
Sold for $2,090,000 at 2013 RM Auctions.
In 1957, Maserati withdrew factory sponsorship from motorsports as it was hard to reconcile the expense of competition development with profitability. The costs associated with engineering a brand-new engine, or building expensive V-12 based cars in any quantity was too great. Maserati did, however, continue to develop the two-liter inline four-cylinder unit from the 200S sports racer. The costs with this motor were much lower and allowed them to create a new sports car for privateers.

Giulio Alfieri designed a new chassis which used a lattice frame of small-diameter tubing resulting in a rigid structure with minimal weight. In total, the new frame weighed just 66 pounds. Initially, it was designated the Type 60 but later it was given the nickname, the 'Birdcage.' The Type 60 chassis was given factory bodywork with an engine canted at a 45-degree angle to lower height. These would be one of the last sports racers to feature the traditional front-engine configuration.

Chassis number 2451 was the Prototype Type 60. It made its debut with factory sponsorship at the Coupe Delamare Debauteville on July 12 of 1959 piloted by Stirling Moss. In its first outing, the car took 1st place overall. Soon, Maserati was experimenting with larger versions of the engine, resulting in the three-liter Tipo 61 cars, which began delivery to customers in November of 1959. At least one Tipo 60 example was eventually upgraded to Tipo 61 specification. Between the Type 60 and Type 61, there were 22 examples built.

This example is chassis number 2461 and was the 11th Birdcage example produced. It is believed to be the first Type 61 equipped with the larger 14-inch front brake discs. It was originally owned by Lloyd 'Lucky' Casner. Mr. Casner was an early proponent of the Birdcage, buying the used factory prototype (chassis number 2451) for his new racing team, the Casner Motor Racing Division (abbreviated Camoradi).

Chassis number 2451 was entered at the Nassau Speed Week in early December of 1959 and was driven by Carroll Shelby. Gaston Andrey had an impressive performance at the race with chassis number 2455, convincing Casner to order three more cars, chassis numbers 2458, 2461, and 2464.

2461 was delivered to Casner on March 20th of 1960 and would make its racing debut for the Camoradi team at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Unfortunately, driver Jim Rathmann blew the engine during practice before the race. The motor was replaced in time for the Nurburgring 1000 km on May 22nd of 1960. Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss were given driving duties and they led one of the most dramatic comebacks in racing history after a broken oil pipe prompted a five-minute pit stop during lap 20. This meant the Birdcage was longer in the lead and when it did re-enter the race, it was in 4th place. Gurney was able to regain 30 seconds per lap and took the lead by the time he next pitted. Moss was then able to maintain 1st place after resuming driving duties, giving 2461 its initial major victory.

2461 was one of three Birdcages entered at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans, and one of at least two that were given a longer, modified tail, intended to improve aerodynamics at speed. Unfortunately, all three cars were forced to retire early due to mechanical issues.

One of the final races for 2461 with the Camoradi team was at the Swedish Grand Prix on August 7th of 1960 where Joakim Bonnier drove it to 2nd overall. Soon afterwards, in September, the car was sold to Alan Connell, of Fort Worth, Texas, who was the 1959 champion of SCCA's Modified Sports Car Class. Mr. Connell raced 2461 in no fewer than five different races over the next four months, placing 1st overall at the USAC Consolation Race at Riverside on October 16. He placed 5th overall at the SCCA event at Daytona on November 13th.

Mr. Connell's mechanic, John Miller, installed a Ferrari 250 TR V-12 engine (from Ferrari chassis number 0724TR) into the car at the close of the 1960 season. The hope was to keep the car competitive. For the 1961 season, chassis 2461 earned a 1st overall finish at Mansfield, Louisiana, on September 4th of 1961 and another victory at the Muskogee, Oklahoma, Grand Prix on October 29th.

The car was sold in 1962 to Texan, Richard McGuire, who continued to race the car through 1965, after which it was exhibited for a period of time at the Texas Speed Museum.

By the early 1970s, the car was in the care of the Honorable Patrick Lindsay, of the United Kingdom. Mr. Lindsay gave the car a restoration, installing a replacement Tipo 61 engine rebuilt from a block by Steve Hart with an original cylinder head and ancillaries, including the water pump and oil pump, as well as period-correct Weber carburetors that are stamped sequentially with very low numbers.

Mr. Lindsay frequently raced the Birdcage in various British events, until an accident at Silverstone in 1972 sidelined the car with damage to the chassis and front bodywork. Frank Coltman was commissioned to create a new chassis using as much of the original componentry as possible, including the front and rear de Dion suspension, the supporting frame uprights, the cowl, the steering box, the prop shaft housing, transaxle components, and the brakes. Unassembled, the project was assumed by American collector Dieter Holtersbosch, who properly finished the rebuild, including the bodywork, and restored the original short tail design from its Nurburgring victory.

In 1989, the car was given its FIA Historic Vehicle Identification Form, attesting to the correct specification of all major elements, including the chassis, suspension, engine, and body configuration.

Hartmut Ibing, of Germany purchased chassis number 2461 in 1986. It was treated to another restoration. It was later loaned for display at the Nürburgring's Rennsport Museum for a period, and occasionally, it was raced at historic events.

For the 1995 season, the car was driven by Peter Hannen. When the season came to a close, it had been crowned the winner of the Historic European Championship in Spain.
In 1999, the car was sold to Phillippe Marcq, of Belgium, who continued to race the car over the next few years at events such as the Shell Ferrari-Maserati Historic Challenge at Le Mans, the Ferrari Days at Spa, and the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed.

In 2005, the car was acquired by its current owner. Under new ownership, the car was reconditioned from the ground-up. In August of 2006, the newly restored car made its debut at the Monterey Historic races, receiving the Rolex Award for Presentation and Performance. In July of 2006 it was presented at the Vanderbilt Concours d'Elegance in Newport, Rhode Island where it won First in Class and the Founder's Award. At the event, it was autographed by Dan Gurney and Sir Stirling Moss. Chassis 2461 has run consecutively each year since at the Monterey Historics, with one exception, when it was invited for display there on the occasion of their Dan Gurney tribute.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014
Roadster
Chassis Num: 2458
 
Maserati withdrew from motorsport in 1957 and concentrated almost solely on their road cars, whose sales made it possible to develop an intricate tubular space-frame chassis - nicknamed 'Birdcage' - designed by Giulio Alfieri, for the Tipo 60 and Tipo 61. Maserati built six 2-litier Tipo 60s and then 16 3-liter Tipo 61s between 1959 and 1961. All were sold to private racing teams. The Maserati Tipo 61 was a bold departure from the previous racer, the 450S. Instead of the 4.5-liter V8, the Tipo 60 and 61 were powered by a dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine in a lightweight chassis constructed of a network of many small steel tubes, earning it the nick-name, 'Birdcage' Maserati. The inline four cylinder engine produces 250 horsepower at 7000 RPM. Production ceased in December of 1960.

This example was entered in the 1960 Cuban Grand Prix for Stirling Moss by Camoradi USA (CAsner MOtor RAcing DIvision) owner, the colorful racing driver and personality, Lloyd 'Lucky' Casner. The victory was the only professional victory under the Castro regime. Moss teamed in the Tipo 61 with Dan Gurney to win the 1000 KM of Nurburgring in Germany.

The car proved to be fast, often qualifying first and setting the fastest lap. Despite several mechanical failures at previous races, this car won the non-championship Grand Prix of Cuba in 1960, driven by Stirling Moss. He and Dan Gurney then drove it in the 12 Hours of Sebring. In December, Carroll Shelby drove the car to fifth place in the Grand Prix for Sports Cars, earning him the USAC driving championship in the last race of his career. Since acquiring it in 2001, its current owner has campaigned it regularly in historic races.
The Maserati Tipo 60/61 Birdcage is arguably one of the greatest cars of all time.
The first Tipo 60's were built for the 1960 World Sports Car Championship. Stirling Moss drove the car to victory in its first race. Although it won its first race, it was unable to capture the season championship.

A larger engine, a 2.9-liter four cylinder that produced 50 extra horsepower, was supplied to later cars which were labeled Tipo 61's. Even with great drivers such as Jim Hall, Briggs Cunningham, Carroll Shelby, Roger Penske, and Dan Gurney, and Masten Gregory the vehicle was unable to produce the big wins.
Roadster
Chassis Num: 2459
 
High bid of $1,850,000 at 2011 Mecum. (did not sell)
This was the first modern race car. Lightweight, powerful engine and almost perfect weight distribution on the chassis. It is equipped with a four-cylinder inline engine, dual overhead cams, two Weber carburetors, five-speed transaxle, four wheel disc brakes, 88 inch wheelbase and an overall weight of 1,287 pounds. It was originally delivered to Briggs Cunningham. Carroll Shelby is quoted as stating 'It was the best cornering, fastest car he had ever driven.' Dan Gurney stated 'The car is sprung and brakes are just right for its weight and power.' The car underwent a three year restoration between 2007 and 2010 and was issued an FIA & MSA Class certified Historic Technical Passport in August of 2010.
Roadster
Chassis Num: 2469
Engine Num: 2469
 
This 1961 Maserati Tipo 61 'Birdcage' with chassis number 2469 is a very historically important vehicle, as it gave Maserati an important victory in America when it won the World Sports Car Championship Riverside California race with Bill Krause driving. It was its debut race and beat legendary drivers such as Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss who were driving a pair of Lotus 19s. Other victories followed, such as at Pomona, Santa Barbara, Stockton, and Laguna Seca during the early 1960s.

It was rebuilt by Chuck Sargent after an incident at Continental Divide in 1961.

During the 1962 season, it won Stockton and Dunkirk and came in second at Cumberland.

It was sold to Dick Blair in 1962 who continued its racing pedigree until 1963. It was then totally reconditioned with its last major race believed to be at Mansfield in July of 1963.

In 1968 it was sent to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Hall of Fame Museum. In 1997 it was reconditioned by Bill Spoerle's restoration shop at the Speedway in preparation for its return to Laguna Seca for Carroll Shelby salute at the 1997 Monterey Historics.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2008
The Maserati Tipo 61 was produced from 1959 through 1960. During its production lifespan, only 16 examples were created. The design had been conceived by Giulio Alfieri, Maserati's chief design engineer at the time with the purpose of competing in SCCA competition.
The name 'Birdcage' was given to the Tipo 61 because of their tubular chassis. It featured a spaceframe chassis comprised of around 200 small aluminum tubes welded together. This gave the vehicle rigidity and strength while minimizing weight. The front suspension was wishbones while the rear was a DeDion axle.

Both the Tipo 60 and Tipo 61 were powered by a four cylinder engine, mounted in the front at a 45-degree angle and powering the rear wheels. The Tipo 60 was powered by a two-liter four-cylinder engine. The Tipo 61 used a 250 S, 2.9-liter four cylinder engine. The 250 horsepower Tipo 61 with two Weber 45 DCO3 carburetors was suitable for SCCA competition and with its low weight, was highly competitive. Disc brakes were used on all four corners of the car. A five-speed manual gearbox and rack-and-pinion steering were standard and were partly responsible for the vehicles reputation for being easy to drive.

In 1960 Gus Audrey captured the class championship in SCCA racing. Roge Penske did the same in 1961. In 1960 Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney entered a Tipo 61 Birdcage into the highly competitive Nurburgring 1000 km race. Against other famous and competitive nameplates such as Ferrari, Porsches, and Aston Martins the Birdcage emerged victorious.

A beautiful automobile that was fast, agile, competitive and legendary.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2006
The Maserati Tipo 61 was produced from 1959 through 1960. During its production lifespan, only 16 examples were created. The design had been conceived by Giulio Alfieri, Maserati's chief design engineer at the time with the purpose of competing in SCCA competition.

The name 'Birdcage' was given to the Tipo 61 because of their tubular chassis. It featured a spaceframe chassis comprised of around 200 small aluminum tubes welded together. This gave the vehicle rigidity and strength while minimizing weight. The front suspension was wishbones while the rear was a DeDion axle.

Both the Tipo 60 and Tipo 61 were powered by a four cylinder engine, mounted in the front at a 45-degree angle and powering the rear wheels. The Tipo 60 was powered by a two-liter four-cylinder engine. The Tipo 61 used a 250 S, 2.9-liter four cylinder engine. The 250 horsepower Tipo 61 with two Weber 45 DCO3 carburetors was suitable for SCCA competition and with its low weight, was highly competitive. Disc brakes were used on all four corners of the car. A five-speed manual gearbox and rack-and-pinion steering were standard and were partly responsible for the vehicles reputation for being easy to drive.

In 1960 Gus Audrey captured the class championship in SCCA racing. Roge Penske did the same in 1961. In 1960 Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney entered a Tipo 61 Birdcage into the highly competitive Nurburgring 1000 km race. Against other famous and competitive nameplates such as Ferrari, Porsches, and Aston Martins the Birdcage emerged victorious.

Tipo 63
The Maserati Tipo was given the nickname 'Birdcage' because of its triangulated, tubular chassis construction that resembled a birdcage which could be seen through the vehicle's large front windscreen. The Tipo 60 and 61 cars featured a front-engined design. The first rear-engine design, the Tipo 63, was actually powered by a 2890.3 cc Tipo 61 four-cylinder engine inclined at a 58-degree angle. Introduced near the close of 1961 the Maserati Tipo 61 had been designed by Giulio Alfieri to accommodate a 3-liter V8 engine. Many components were borrowed from the prior birdcage models such as the five-speed transaxle and front suspension. In the rear, however, was an independent suspension with coil springs.

Alfieri modified the suspension and the four-cylinder engine was replaced with a 2989 12-cylidner engine from the 250F T2. The engine was so large that it intruded into the cockpit. The Tipo 63 Birdcage's were constructed for Cunningham, Serenissima, and Camoradi teams and driven by famous drivers such as Bruce McLaren, Walt Hansgen, Stirling Moss, Masten Gregory, and others. On the track the vehicles were met with disappointing results. They are best remembered for its fourth place finish at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race driven by team Cunningham.

Many of the disappointing finishes were caused by mechanical issues such as a carburetor problem that cause Dick Thompson and Bill Kimberley to finish 9th at the Road America 500 in 1961. Scarfiotti and Vaccarella failed to finish at Nurburgring due to bad weather - water had entered the carburettors. A Tipo 61 finished the race in first place. In 1961 four Tipo 63 models were entered into the Le Mans race were three failed to finish. The fourth had been crashed during during practice by Walt Hansgen after the suspension collapsed. It was rebuilt for the Le Mans race where it was driven by Pabst and Thompson and achieved a fourth-place finish.

In total only seven Tipo 63's, two Tipo 64's, and one Tipo 65 were constructed between late 1960 and early 1965.

The Tipo 64 was introduced in 1962, also a rear-engine design. The frame was comprised of very small tubes also of a birdcage structure. The rear suspension was changed in favor of a de Dion suspension. Journalists dubbed the car a Supercage.

There were two Tipo 63's given the number 63.002, both were constructed for Briggs Cunningham, one was a SWB the other a LWB. This may have been done to avoid import duties imposed by the United States. All of the Maserati Tipo 63 models are accounted for and exist today.

The Tipo 63 has been featured in a film and even made an appearance in Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas. The Maserati Tipo 63 was a very quick car able to achieve speeds of 180 mph but it suffered from handling issues. Another issue was the lack of serious development work mainly because of financial constraints meaning the Tipo 63 never achieved its true potential.

Tipo 64
Constructed from two type 63's which had been returned to the factory in 1961 in preparation for the 1962 season. The Type 64 involved total revision of the frame in search of better weight distribution and weight reduction. The engine moved forward, which shifted the cockpit further forward, front suspension was improved and a totally new rear end designed which incorporated the use of a De Dion axle - abandoning the independent suspension of the Type 63. Also changed was the positioning of the rear exhausts which were now very low megaphone type, as opposed to the higher placed exhaust on the Type 63.

There were only ever two Maserati Tipo 64's constructed and both were built from Type 63's which had been returned to the factory in 1961 for the 1962 season. To reduce weight and even out distribution even further the frame was revised and the engine was moved forward. These caused the cockpit to move forward as well. The suspension of the Tipo 63 was abandoned in favor of a De Dion axle setup.

Journalists dubbed the car a Supercage. There were two Tipo 63's given the number 63.002, both were constructed for Briggs Cunningham, one was a SWB the other a LWB. This may have been done to avoid import duties imposed by the United States. All of the Maserati Tipo 63 models are accounted for and exist today. The Tipo 63 has been featured in a film and even made an appearance in Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas. The Maserati Tipo 63 was a very quick car able to achieve speeds of 180 mph but it suffered from handling issues. Another issue was the lack of serious development work mainly because of financial constraints meaning the Tipo 63 never achieved its true potential.

Tipo 65
The Maserati Tipo 65 was powered by a 5-liter V8 engine that produced around 430 horsepower and rested in a 'Supercage' frame. It was completed in time for LeMans and arrived at the track just five days prior to the race. The testing session was valuable to the team, as it provided information about the cars abilities and potential weaknesses.

The car qualified in 21st position and was piloted by F1 drvier Jo Siffert. Within a short amount of time, the car had been brought into eighth place. Sadly, it was not to last, as the car spun and punctured the radiator. The car limped back to the pits but its time on the track was over. Due to regulations, cars were allowed to refill fluids only after 25 laps were completed. As a result, the team was forced to withdraw from the race.

After the race, the car was repaired but it would not return to the track. It was later sold to a Swiss collector who made a few modifications, most noticeably to the front. It was then sold to Jo Siffert. Siffert died during a tragic accident during the early 1970s and the car was sold to an individual from England. While in his care it was actively campaigned in historic competition. It then purchased by Peter Kaus and became part of the Rosso Bianco Museum. In the mid-2000s it was sold at auction.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2008
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Maserati Tipo 60 Birdcage

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