Maserati 6CM

Maserati 6CM
Maserati 6CM

Total Production: 28 1936 - 1939
The Maserati 6CM was introduced in 1936 and produced through 1939 with twenty-eight examples produced. It followed on the heals of the 4CM; the CM representing Corsa Monotipo and the 4 symbolizing the number of cylinders in the engine. The 6CM had six-cylinders and displaced 1500cc. It was mounted on a tubular chassis and with the addition of a Roots-Type supercharger the DOHC engine produced 155 bhp. Within a few years, that number was increased to 175 horsepower. Power was sent to the rear wheels with the help of a four-speed manual gearbox. The vehicle weighed about 650 kgs and had a top speed of about 140 mph. The suspension was comprised of an independent front setup with torsion bars and semi-ecliptics at the rear. The rear was later updated to quarter-ecliptics.

The vehicle was created to race in the Voiturette class, with Voiturette meaning 'small car' in French. Rules stated that the engine was to be a maximum of 1.5 liters and Maserati felt that they could produce a vehicle that was competitive and popular with privateers. They were right. Though it was raced part-way through the 1936, the official debut was at the Milan Motor Show. This was the first Maserati to ever be displayed at a motorshow.

During the following season both the factory and privateers entered the Maserati 6CM's in motorsport competition. With so many examples produced it was one of Maserati's most popular pre-war racers created. The decision to stay in the Voiturette class turned out to be prosperous for the company, since Grand Prix racing was dominated by many German Companies. The Maserati 4CM had done well but with time, the Alfa Romeo's and ERA vehicles were too much for the racer.

Eleven of the Maserati 6CM models were retained by the company. One car went to American and one to Australia. Englishmen Lord Howe, Johnny Wakefield and Reggie Tongue each bought one. Englishman Austin Dobson bought three. These are but a few of the customers.

In 1939 a Maserati 6CM made an appearance at the Indianapolis 500 mile race though it was the smallest vehicle entered. Its performance was impressive and generated another sale for the company; Wilbur Shaw purchased a Maserati 8CTF.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2006Alfieri and Ettore Maserati began constructing their cars in 1926 with the sole intent being racing and competition. The first vehicle was the Tipo 26 and was powered by a supercharged 1.5-liter straight eight engine with dual overhead camshafts. The result was a very dominant vehicle. Driven by Alfieri with Guerrino Bertocchi in the mechanic's seat it capture many victories including a class win at the Targa Florio in its inaugural racing debut.

On the front of the vehicle was the trident, the symbol of Maserati's home city of Bologna. Many of the early cars were in monoposto and two-seater configuration. The company had its own factory racing program but also sent a few vehicles into the capable hands of many competent privateers.

The first purpose-designed Grand Prix Maserati was the 8C-2500 which appeared in 1930. During its first racing season, it was victorious with wins at both monza and Spain where it was driven by Achille Varzi. In 1933, it was succeeded by the 8CM.

The 8CM was powered by a 2992cc supercharged dual-overhead camshaft straight eight engine. During its first season it proved its potential. With Tazio Nuvolari at the wheel, it won the Belgian Grand Prix.

For the 1935 season, Maserati devoted much of its resources to the development of the V8Ri. It was built to high standards and employed engineering ingenuity and powered by the Maserati experience and talents. It was equipped with a large, 4.8-liter supercharged V8 engine and intended to do battle with the fierce German Competition. The small Maserati company soon found it was unable to compete against the state-owned companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union and decided to focus on voiturette competition.

There was much opportunity in the other markets and Maserati targeted the voiurette class. Though they had built only one six-cylinder engine prior to the creation of the 6CM, it was enough to field a suitable contender. The 6CM was powered by a six-cylinder dual overhead camshaft engine which provided the groundwork for the post-war Maserati cars. It had a 65mm bore and 75mm stroke giving it a 1493-cc displacement size. There were five main bearings and a lightweight Elecktron crankcase casting. The Roots supercharger was located at the front of the engine. On the other side of the blower is a Memini carburetor which creates 1.2 x atmospheric pressure and about 15.6 psi of boost. This creates tremendous amounts of air and fuel to the engine. The six-cylinder engine would lead to the A6 series of sports and formula cars and later to the 250F which would go on to become the World Champion. The engine was further developed and provided the power for the 300S and the 3500GT.

The 155-185 horsepower engine was capable of carrying the racers to speeds of over 140 mph. Finned drum brakes kept the car in the drivers control. The vehicle was suspended in place by a conventional live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Maserati-built friction shocks and torsion bars were in the front. The car weighed about 1430-pounds and had a four-speed manual gearbox.

The body was designed by Medardo Fantuzzi which featured a long and low tapered nose which was met by a Maserati grille. The back of the vehicle comes to a point which a long exhaust pipe runs the entire length of the vehicle.

The Maserati 6CM were shown at the 1936 Milan Motor Show. This was the first major auto show event that Maserati was a participant.

The cars were driven with much success by Rene Dreyfus, Count Trossi, Achille Varzi, Piero Dusio, Franco Cortese, Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007

Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.