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, De Dion tube in front of a 5-speed transaxl made of electron which is a special aluminum alloy. The nickname “Birdcage” 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 highly guarded Italian process. This design was engineered by Giulio Alfieri in 5 different models, the most popular being the Tipo 60 and the Tipo 61.
The Tipo 60 has a 2-liter, four-cylinder engine of 200hp, weighed 570kg, and had a maximum speed of 165 mph. The Maserati “Birdcage” Tipo 60 and 61 sports racing cars were owned and favored by such legendary racers as Stirling Moss, Carroll Shelby, Dan Gurney, Lucky Casner, Alan Connell, Jim Hall, Roger Penske, Walt Hansgen, Briggs Cunningham, Lloyd Katskee, and Dave Causey.
Many of these drivers are quoted as saying very positive things about this car, including:
Sir Stirling Moss: The most famous race car driver of all time. “A fabulous car-light, very nimble, fantastic brakes, super steering, enormous torque, and good power.”
Carroll Shelby: Racing icon and famous builder of Shelby cars. “The best handling car I’ve ever driven. Easy to go fast, to corner, and does not seem to be working hard at top speed.”
Dan Gurney: Race Icon, Team Owner and Designer. “Great balance, the car is perfectly sprung and the brakes are just right for its weight and power. The adhesion to the track is just fabulous.”
Its reputation on the track and amongst the popular drivers of the day makes the Maserati Birdcage one of the most recognizable and popular sports racing cars of its time.
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 Walt 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, Birdcage 2459 was taken to Daytona to compete in the first 3-hour Continental on February 11 with Augie Pabst as the driver.