Maserati Tipo Birdcage – The Marvelous Tipo 61 Racing Cars
25. Jul, 2013
Maserati Tipo Birdcage
The Marvelous Tipo 61 Racing Car
The car was built for Briggs Cunningham. Finished on February 27th, 1960 and painted Red. It was sent to Alfred Momo’s shop in Queens, New York where the teams top driver was Walt Hansgen which completed a formidable team. The facilities were without equal anywhere in the world. The Momo crew could build, make, or repair anything that raced. Walt Hansgen, their top driver, was one of the great success stories in American Racing. He began his career in 1951. He joined Cunningham and Momo in 1956 and over the next 4 years won 40 races and twice honored as the SCCA Driver Of The Year. After Momo received the car from the factory it was sent to Sebring. This was a 12 hour race and since the car had almost no testing it had multiple mechanical problems and did not finish. It did, however, post the second fastest lap time at the race. The fastest lap time was posted by another Tipo 61 driven by Stirling Moss. So, the top two lap speeds were by both Maserati Birdcage. After the car was tested properly, Hansgen was very successful in the Tipo 61. First place at Cumberland, Maryland; Bridgehampton , New York; and Montgomery, New York in 1960. He usually had the fastest car in all his races and unless he had a mechanical failure always won.
At the end of each racing season, Momo’s shop rebuilt the car for the next season. On February 11, 1962 August Papst damaged the car on a practice run. It was then sent back to Momo’s shop. After a complete assessment was made it the owner decided not to repair the car. After a year the parts were sent back to England for the car to be rebuilt. As we all know, race cars of this era were wrecked and rebuilt multiple times. In fact, according to Joel E. Finn’s book “Maserati Birdcage” which is the most accurate record of the twenty two Birdcages that were produced, only one number 2455 is in totally original condition.
Many years later a famous Maserati collector with help from original drawings from the factory reconstructed the frame. He also rebuilt a correct Birdcage two litre engine with an original cylinder head, lower crankcase, sump, transaxle, cam covers, and carburetors. The frame and engine were delivered to Steve Hart Racing in 2008, the most knowledgeable of all Birdcage mechanics in the world today. He began restoration from original parts and the rest of the parts were built from original factory drawings or copied from other correct Tipo 60/61 parts. The fuel tank is a new safety cell for obvious reasons. Steve Hart Racing has extensive knowledge of any factory modifications and they were also performed on this car.
The following is a complete list of original parts as verified by Steve Hart:
Cylinder Head Rear Lights
Lower Crankcase and sump Repeater Lights
Cam Covers Rev Counter
Transaxle Tower Ignition Switch/light switch
Front Hubs Indicator Switch
Carburetors Starter Button
The Tipo 61 was completed and the necessary documentation was submitted in March 2010 by Steve Hart Racing to Motor Sports Association United Kingdom, which is the Technical Department for FIA. After inspection by the FIA’s inspector the car was shipped to the U.S. owner in April 2010. Upon final approval from FIA on August 21, 2010 Steve Hart Racing received the official Historic Technical Passport document for this Maserati which was then forwarded to the U.S. owner.
For pricing call Ken Dougherty at (713) 541-2281
Rear View of Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage in Kuwait