Fast enough, fierce enough, fabulous enough but never first. The Maserati Tipo 151 never got to the finish line first. But when little boys dream of race cars, isn’t this what’s floating by?
Even we adults doodle this car in adult meetings, eh?
The Tipo 151 had a tough act to follow: the iconic Maserati Birdcage. It was built differently, a return to more traditional concepts using a frame comprising a trellis of both round and oval large tubes.
The car’s racing career was star-crossed. At the 1962 Le Mans, the car had no trouble vaulting into the lead. It’s believed to be the first car ever to crack the 300 kph (186 mph) barrier along the Mulsanne Straight. Like its predecessor, the car lacked investment and a shortcoming of luck, that prevented it from converting its speed into winner’s laurels.
For the 1962 Le Mans, won by Ferrari and Phil Hill, only three 151s were built. One for Maserati, two for Briggs Cunningham. All had to retire during the race. The two Cunningham versions were banished to the states, for ignominious conclusions. Leaving 002 in France to campaign again in 1963 Le Mans, but with the same resulting shortfall.
In 2007 the Tipo 151 was sold to an eager computer mogul Barrie Baxter who reassembled parts, including a crashed engine, to its 1964 specification. He showed it off gloriously at the Goodwood Revival a few weeks ago September 11 – 13.
Here is a slow-motion compilation from the Revival:
Below we offer some special posters of Maserati from the era.