Sep 01 2010

Maseratis in Action at the 1939 to 1948 Indy 500 Races

George Jasberg has provided this information as a follow-up to the August 25th post on the Maserati V8RI currently on display at the Saratorga Automobile Museum:

I saw the Ex-Weaver V8R1, the only pre-war "Maser" to compete in the early SCCA road races at Watkins Glen for the Seneca Cup, a Formula Libre race which always opened the day's racing there; and once (in '52) on the original Bridgehampton course, south of Montaulk Highway... It was awesome to the nth. degree! It may also have run in the vintage and antique exhibitions during the mid-day intermissions at "The Bridge", 1949-'51.

A later, purpose-built 3-liter supercharged Maserati won the Indy 500 in 1939 and 1940, driven by Wilbur Shaw, who crashed the car in '41 while leading.

That car returned and was driven by Ted Horn to 3rd. place in '46 and '47, 4th in '48. In those three races it ws the fastest car on the track, but also the thirstiest since it was supercharged and burning methanol while the 4.5 liter "Blue Crown Special" Offenhausers were not and ran on gasoline, making less pit stops... Horn never won the 500 but was never worse than 4th. in 10 consecutive starts!

Two similar Masers also ran at 1940 Indy 500 Race. One was that of Raoul Riganti of Argentina, he was out after only 60 miles. That car appeared at Lime Rock in 2004. On that day the car was in the Argentine national colors (with no advertising permitted) and bore it's '40 Indy number, 29. Here are my photos:




Take care, keep the Beast on its' favorite diet and take it for frequent runs!

George Jasberg

Howard Kroplick Note: Maseratis in action: The tragic 1939 Indy 500 Race won by Wilbur Shaw (incorrectly identifed as Mauri Rose in the second film segment) and the 1941 Indy 500 Race won by Mauri Rose. Warning: This film includes a horrific fatal accident during the 1939 race.

George, great job! Thanks for your contribution to!!

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