Italians Do It Better: Looking Back At Maserati’s Famous Racing Birdcage
Pro driver Marino Franchitti puts a beautiful vintage Maserati through its paces.
The Tipo 61 is one of the most interesting and beautiful cars to ever come from Italy. It’s been quite a while since this car was built, but it’s important to remember that in its day, this Maserati was one of the most advanced racing prototypes in history. Today, it’s a racing icon.
At the time, it was the absolute epitome of form following function. This was pure minimalism in motorsport in the early 1960s. And it really worked. This specific car is owned by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. We’re thrilled he and driver Marino Franchitti worked with Petrolicious to produce this awesome video.
The so-called “Birdcage” was given its name thanks to the hundreds of little tubes that make up its frame. In order to make a really stiff, lightweight car, engineers built a triangulated cage around the driver using varying lengths and diameters of metal tubing. Without the bodywork on the car, it looks like, you guessed it, a birdcage.
The design works, and even today, the car is quite stiff and light. But while they were seriously competitive, they were similarly unreliable. Just 16 of the 2.5-liter Tipo 60s and 3.0-liter Tipo 61s were built. What’s more, they only raced from 1959 to 1961.
It’s quite interesting to hear Franchitti praise the car for its lightweight construction, nimble steering, and stellar (for the era) braking system. As a modern driver, he’s driven almost everything. So, getting his perspective on the historic white and blue Camoradi racer is a delight. This Maserati is equal parts art, history, and a ripping good time behind the wheel.