Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rebuilt Vintage Race Cars: Can They Maintain Their Originality?



RM Auctions is set to sell Maserati Birdcage Tipo 61-2461 in Monterey, California August 2013.  
Maserati Birdcage Tipo 61-2461 was delivered to Sebring for the race in March 1960.  The engine blew up on a practice run and never got into the race.  Documents show this to be a standard Birdcage body.  After it was rebuilt at the factory Moss and Gurney raced at Nurburgring with success in 1960. Maserati Birdcage Tipo 61-2461 now reappears in September 1960 back in the U.S. when Casner, owner of Camoradi Team, sold the car to Alan Connell.  However, the car now has a long tail body and a Ferrari V12 engine installed, which required a lot of body and chassis modifications before being raced around the U.S.

In 1962 Connell resold the Ferrari engine "hybrid" to Dr. Richard McGuire of Ft. Worth, Texas.  He raced the car for three years and sold it without the Ferrari engine to the Texas Speed Museum.  It then went to England and was rebuilt again only to then wreck in a vintage race accident. What was left of Maserati Tipo 61-2461 was dismantled and the body scrapped. A few parts ended up back in the U.S. and were sold to Dieter Holterbosch in New York. The chassis was manufactured with a new body replicating the original short tail body Birdcage.

Later Maserati Birdcage Tipo 61-2461 was sent back to England another time where a fresh block, crankcase and transaxle were made to fit the new chassis body.
In 2003, the Maserati Birdcage was offered for sale by Christie's in Monterey, California and attached was the description: "NEW CHASSIS, NEW BODY, NEW ENGINE, NEW GEARBOX, AND NEW INSTRUMENTS."

This car was re manufactured three times but performs like the original. The question to consider is how much is left of the original car and can it still be claimed as the Maserati Tipo 61-2461?

For those interested in the August auction I would recommend doing your homework but also take into consider your own definition of original!