1953 O.S.C.A. TIPO MT4
COACHWORK BY CARROZZERIA FRUA
Chassis No. 1129
Engine No. 1505
Red with blue interior
Engine: four cylinder, twin overhead camshaft, 1,490cc, 115bhp at 6500rpm; Gearbox: 4-speed manual; Suspension: front - independent with A bracket, helicodial springs, telescopic shock absorbers, roll bar, rear - live axle longitudinal leaf springs, telescopic shock absorbers. Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
The history of Maserati is world renowned, but the early post-war years of the Maserati brothers is less familiar, although equally important. The three remarkable brothers Ernesto, Ettore and Bindo, had sold their successful racing car business to wealthy industrialist Adolfo Orsi in 1938, but had been retained on a ten year contract, at the end of which they started a similar business in Bologna as Officine Specializate per la Costruzione di Automobile - Fratelli Maserati SpA, abbreviated to OSCA.
OSCAs quickly gained a reputation as one of the finest smaller displacement sports racing cars. The first Mt4 chassis fitted with the 1,100cc engines were highly successful; OSCAs had won the 1,100cc class in every Mille Miglia from 1950 up to the last race in 1957. There were also numerous other class wins in the 1,100cc category.
Mt4s fitted with larger 1,500cc engines were equally successful. Not only did they dominate the 1,500cc class, but these fantastic little cars were extremely competitive against the larger displacement sports cars. At the 12 hours of Sebring in 1954, Stirling Moss had an outright win in a Cunningham Team Mt4. In his book, Moss sums up the Mt4: I was incredibly impressed by what turned out to be a real little thoroughbred of a car . It was powerful and well-balanced and very nimble...You could drive it as hard as you liked, slinging it sideways was no trouble.
Little early history of this exquisite and rare Mt4 is known; although this information is unsubstantiated, according to various sources this car was delivered new to the USA and Briggs Cunningham and Walt Hansgen have been mentioned as owners. Its US racing history is unknown. In the late 1970's, this OSCA was fully restored by Tom Hart and won The Pebble Beach Cup. The car later passed through the hands of Peter Giddings and Mike Lynch before coming into the hands of Dr. Riddell.
Sadly, in an early outing at Riverside a front wheel collapsed (a known fault with the model) and the car suffered some damage. A gradual yet meticulous restoration was carried out in the late 1980's, the bodywork was carefully restored by Tom Beauchamp. The engine, a later 1,490cc unit with twin plug heads was fully rebuilt by the renowned specialist Phil Reilly. Work included a new crankshaft and corillo rods and the engine produced 115.7 bhp at 6,500rpm on the dyno. The car is fully race prepared for modern vintage racing with a new fuel cell (cleverly disguised), an on board fuel system, modern oil cooler and filter, removable roll bar and new chrome wire wheels.
Since this work was completed, the car has not been raced. The Frua coachwork is extremely rare on an Mt4 and only 6 cars were built this way, as they proved far more expensive than the more common Morelli bodies. Fine details on this exquisite car include rare OSCA and FRUA badging, the original horn button in the steering wheel and Marschal lights. It starts "on the button" and drove beautifully upon a recent test drive by Christie's. This Mt4 is ideal for vintage racing as it is highly competitive in the 1,500cc class or the Mille Miglia style events.