The Maserati Tipo 60/61 ‘Birdcage’ is a light and powerful sports racer produced in 1959-1960 that exhibits superb aerodynamics. It has a great power to weight ratio, with a perfect 50/50 weight distribution front-to back, independent front suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, and De Dion tube in front of a 5-speed transaxle made of electron, which is a special aluminium alloy.
The nickname ‘Bircage’ is due to the intricate. Tubular frame and chassis made up of approximately 200 small diameter, chrome-molybdenum steel tubes of varying lengths and thicknesses welded together with a unique and high guarded Italian process. This design was engineered by Giulio Alfieri in five different models, the most popular being the Tipo 60 and the Tipo 61.
Maserati Tipo 61 Chassis 2459 was built for Briggs Cunningham and prepared for racing by Alfred Momo, 2459 was primarily driven by two-time SCCA driver of the year Walk Hansgen, with Dr. Dick Thompson and Augie Pabst also driving. Under Hansgen, Thompson and Pabst, Birdcage 2459 achieved four wins and one finish each for second, third and fourth place in 1960 and 1961.
In 1962, it was taken to Daytona to compete in the first 3-hour Continental on February 11 with Augie Pabst as the driver. After 2 years of success, Maserati Tipo 61-2459 had an accident during a practice run for this event. Pabst walked away from the accident with cuts and bruises, and a few broken ribs, while the damaged 2459 was taken back to Momo’s shop in New York. Momo decided not to restore the car and instead dismantled it and sent it to England for potential use on Maserati Tipo 60 and 61 Bircages.
In 2007 in Modena the home of the Maserati factory an Italian collector began to undertake the process of painstakingly collecting as many original parts for 2459. A team of professional welders built a chassis using the same secret welding process and small diameter chrome-molybdenum steel tubes that were unique to the production of the Birdcages in the 1960’s.
The original parts collected for 2459 were mostly engine parts, and included and original cylinder head, lower crankcase and sump, cam covers and transaxle tower (differential case), which included the cast numbers for the original birdcage parts used to verify the parts as originals. Frank Tralli of Modena Italy rebuilt the engine using these parts, and manufactured parts according to original drawings. The completed chassis and engine were the shipped to Maserati restoration experts at Steve Hart Racing, during this time, Steve Hart added additional original Birdcage parts including rear lights, repeater lights, rev counter, ignition switch, starter button, indicator switch and front hubs, all verified with a letter from Steve Hart Racing. In 2010 the car was submitted to the MSA, and gained its Historic Technical Passport/FIA class: TSRC4 documents, allowing it to be raced in many different venues throughout the World.
Richard Crump, known author and historian has supplied a letter, in which he states ‘If you were a buyer of a Birdcage in the 1960’s, then this car, 2459, finished by Steve Hart Racing in the UK is what it would be like. When you drive this fabulous car the message is clear. Light Steering, fabulous brakes, big torque with useable power, and it sticks like glue to the tarmac. If you are a driver or a collector you will not easily tire of using such a Maserati, and when it comes to a stop you will just wish you could do it all again.’
To be sold with a large amount of documentation, photographs, full build invoices from Steve Hart Racing and invoices for the original parts used directly from Momo. This car offers the same wonderful experience one would have racing in the 1960’s and is said by the owners to be one of the most correct and well documented of all Birdcages.