The ex-Luigi Chinetti, Rodriguez brothers 1959 Le Mans car
1959 OSCA TIPO S 750 SPORTS RACING TWO SEATER
COACHWORK BY MORELLI
Registration No. Not Registered
Chassis No. 766
Engine No. 764
Italian racing red with black leather seats and trim.
Engine; Four cylinders in-line; twin overhead camshafts; twin Weber carburettors producing 76bhp at 7,700 rpm. Gearbox, four-speed manual; Suspension, independent front double wishbones and coil-springs, rear live axle with coil-springs and radius arm location; Brakes, four-wheel hydraulic drums. Left-hand drive.
Following the transfer of their Maserati business to the Orsi family, which freed them from contract in 1948, the brothers Ernesto, Bindo and Ettore Maserati returned to the world of motor racing in their own right and produced a succession of small-engined sports-racing cars and single-seaters, which became almost unbeatable in Continental events of the 1950s. Starting with tuned versions of Fiat standard units they quickly developed engines of their own, similar in essence to the earlier designs which originally bore their family name. The new OSCA company began manufacturing their own engines, mostly four-cylinder designs with light-alloy twin-overhead camshaft units of 750cc, 1100cc and 1500cc versions, which various formulae suited the immediate post-war road-racing categories. In fact the catalogue of successes in so many events is far too numerous to mention, but they swept the board in the more luminous events such as Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and Sebring long-distance endurance events, and races and hill-climbs of all denominations.
Following unlimited successes in Europe their fame spread and cars were distributed around the world, and they were especially sought after in the United States too, where racing in these classes was growing apace. Having seen what could be achieved at the very top level of international long-distance racing when the 1958 Le Mans coveted prize for the Index of Performance was won by a 750cc OSCA driven by de Tomaso and Davis, who actually finished 10th in the General Classification, covering some 2,100 miles in the process. Subsequently, the New York Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti purchased one of these machines for his NART racing team, and it was entered for the 1959 event to be driven by the promising duo from Mexico, the brothers Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez. Pedro had driven a Ferrari in the 1958 race, but his brother was considered too young to race, so was substituted by Jose Behra. However for the 1959 event they were declared bona fide runners in the 750 category where, unfortunately after a promising start, the car retired with mechanical problems, after five hours racing.
Thereafter, the Rodriguez brothers reverted to driving Ferraris and other marques and this car appears to have been side-lined, and subsequently the history of the car seems undistinguished and in any event by 1960 would have become less competitive thereafter. It resurfaced in the late 1970s and had various owners in the United States, before being reimported into Switzerland initially, thence to Italy. Since Italian ownership it has undergone a thorough restoration, it retains all the original body panels and chassis entity, but has been fitted with an original-type replacement engine of the same series sequence, which has been completely rebuilt. It is now presented resplendent in Italian racing scarlet, black leather upholstered racing bucket-seats, polished aluminium brightwork and alloy wheels to complete the ensemble.