Aug 25 2010

The Maserati V8RI Vanderbilt Cup Racer at the Saratoga Automobile Museum

Four racing cars were built by Maserati of Modena in 1935 to compete with the German racers. Designed by Ernesto Maserati, the Maserati V8RI had a supercharged V8 engine and an independent suspension. Last Saturday, I spotted one of four Maseratis on display in the "Racing in New York" exhibit at the Saratoga Automobile Museum.


The "Poison Lil" (chassis #4504) is on loan to the Saratoga Automobile Museum from Barbara Weaver and Valerie Clark. Barbara Weaver is the widow of George Weaver who owned and raced the car in the 1940s and 1950s.


The museum's description of "Poison Lil" notes "this remarkable Maserati has had an amazingly long career competing, first internationally in the Grand Prix circuit, the the Vanderbilt Cup Races of 1936-1937, the Indianapolis 500 of 1938-1939 and Watkins Glen from 1948 to 1955." Driving "Poision Lil", George Weaver won the 1949 and 1951 Seneca Cup Races at Watkins Glen.


For the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the #29 Maserati qualified 13th. During the race, the car spun out on lap 9 and later was disqualified for a push start.


The racer returned for the 1937 Vanderbilt Cup Race and was driven by the reigning American champion Mauri Rose. The #1 Maserati was running sixth after 85 laps before dropping out with a universal-joint failure with only five laps remaining. The racer finished 15th.

For more information on the Maserati V8RIs:

-Technical Specifications

-Maserati V8RI (chassis #4503).

-V8RI History

-George Weaver's Racing Record


Aug 29 2010 Robert E. Richer 1:17 PM

Nice to see the Poison Lil info.  And let’s not forget that George Weaver also owned the original Thompson Raceway in Thompson, CT.  It was always a thrill whenever George brought out that magnificent beast and fired it up.

Apr 08 2017 Randy Heim 12:07 PM

Always wanted to see Poison Lil.A lot of history in that car.I have a nice photo from Dayton Speedway of Rex Mays driving the car.I got the photo from John"shorty"Miller who was a AAA flagman for years.When I bought the photo he told me where it was taken and about the car.It is autographed “Thanks to Dayton area Firestone dealers,Rex Mays"I will try and send the photo to your website when I get a chance.

Leave a Comment