Maserati Tipo 151/3 Drogo 1964
The Maserati Tipo 151 marked a return to more traditional concepts of car design and used a frame comprising a trellis of both round and oval large tubes, an independent front suspension and a De Dion axle which had many similarities to that used on the Type 64 completed a month or so before. The engine was derived from the 450S with a reduced displacement of just under 4.0 Litres. Giulio Alfieri designed the body shape and refined it using a wind tunnel at Milan University. The body was reminiscent of the Frank Costin designed Zagato bodied 450S, but with an accentuated Kamm tail. The mandatory doors opened halfway up the side due to the longitudinal tubes of the frame and the lateral fuel tanks. At Le Mans in 1962 the Johnny Simone car was in the Maserati France colours of red body with a tri-stripe whilst the Cunningham team cars had a white body with two blue stripes. At race end the Cunningham cars went back to the US.
A Maserati Tipo 151/3
The Maserati France car was sent to the factory for revision for the 1963 Le Mans event. Improvements included a new engine, the standard production 4941 cc motor derived from the 5000GT but with single ignition and Lucas indirect injection, but now producing 430 bhp (321 kW) and now renumbered as 151/2.
The Maserati France team car again came back to the factory in preparation for 1964 when there was a massive change to the frame, the mechanicals and the body. Now designated 151/3 and jokingly called the 'racing van' for its unique new body design by Piero Drogo, the engine was unchanged in size but the frame was modified to mount the engine lower in the chassis - also to increase the wheelbase and track width.
For 1965 there was again work on the frame and the body and the displacement of the engine was increased to 5046.8 cc - this version (151/4) is called the Tipo 154 by some. Then driver "Lucky" Casner was killed during practice prior to the race. The engine went on to power the Tipo 65 less than 2 months later.
Other info (Goodwood.com):
The story begins at Le Mans in 1962. Three 151s had been built: One for Maserati France and two for Briggs Cunningham. The cars were all extremely fast, but by the Sunday afternoon all had been parked up. In the wake of this the two Cunningham cars went to the States and there they stayed; one of them converted to a road car and apparently fitted with an American V8 before being rebuilt, while the other crashed heavily, burned and was destroyed. The Maserati France number 002 car returned to Le Mans in 1963. Again, it showed tremendous speed before retiring.
At the end of 1963 the car was fitted with a new 37 inch tall Drogo-designed body (built by Allegretti) and had its chassis lengthened. These modifications, along with the fitting of a 4941cc motor allowed the car to hit a measured 300kph (186.4mph) at Le Mans in 1964. After five hours of racing though the car stopped …
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