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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Very Famous Maserati And A Golden Shifter.

 Photos and Videos by Miguel Caparros
Click Here For The Video                                            
In the 50's the great Formula 1 constructors would derive their two seat Sports Cars directly from the Formula 1 cars. The 300S was based on the 250F that had a very long career from 1954 to 1960. Only 26 250F's were built, most of them were raced by privateers. The 300S began in 1955 and 28 examples were built through 1958.  It is amazing the performance extracted from these cars that had Dual Over Head Camshaft Hemi head and only 3 liters, or 183 cubic inches. Power output varied from 245 to close to 300 horsepower from the 6 cylinder engine.  I had both the good and bad fortune of having a few Maserati's over the years. Maserati marched to a different drummer and like many they had good times and really bad times. I also was exposed to their construction techniques when I owned a Stangelini Formula Junior that was basically a 3/4 scale version of the 250F and it was to date the most successful Formula Jr car of all time. The 300S sports car was not always the fastest but it proved to be reliable enough to win more than its share of races against the Mercedes 300SL and the Ferrari 250 V12 Monza. It was a glorious time when the drivers were fat and the tires were skinny, and there was a direct connection from the factory race cars to the ones that were driven on the street. The 300s also begat a 350S with a monstrous V12 engine and my favorite of all the 450S with a 4.5 liter V8 that had a sound that is unforgettable.

By Miguel Caparros.                                                      Click Here For The Video
By 1970 the Oldsmobile 442 and its other Muscle car cousins had come under fire from the insurance industry due to the popularity of the cars and in my opinion greed. The companies all banded together in the era of the 55 mile per hour national speed limit to make sure that the young and the young at heart would pay through the nose if they bought any thing that did not weigh 4,600 lbs and have 4 doors. Models like the 442, GTO, Z28, Mustang GT, Turino and Road Runner, all fell under scrutiny, if it had a V8 bigger than a 350 they would get hit with a big insurance premium. Very flawed thinking. The Ralley 350 was Oldsmobile's answer to sell a sporty car on keep it out of the high premiums. Ignoring the reality that in less than 3 hours that 350 could be lifted out and a 455 monster be dropped in and there was no way that the average insurance adjuster could tell a high output 455 from a milk jug. Those that would rather keep the engine in the car that it came with, found out that you can get loads of power from any 350. I was very guilty just like most young men that grew up in the 60's and 70's of burning up 30 cents a gallon of Sunoco 260 to blast down the street, stupid laws or insurance companies be dammed. If the insurance companies had truly cared for their customers safety, and even today, taken a pro active role in training drivers and creating a teared licensing system we would have saved many more lives than ridiculous speed limits, driving around with the shop teacher was a total waste of time. Not that I have an opinion on this.

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