Maserati Birdcage

July 2, 2013
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Maserati Birdcage 75th

Maserati Birdcage 75th

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For many years the name Maserati was synonymous with motor racing. The company was founded to go racing, and some of the most famous cars to bear the Trident were dedicated racers. The Birdcage cars of the early 1960s are among those which have acquired legendary status, even though just 31 genuine examples were built.

When world-famous Italian design house Pininfarina decided to build a concept car to celebrate their 75th anniversary they wanted to base the car on a Maserati, in celebration of the renewed collaboration between the two companies.

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Maserati Birdcage 75th

And so the Maserati Birdcage 75th was created, a truly stunning concept car unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in 2005.

While the car was built using the chassis from the Maserati MC12 supercar, the bodywork was plainly designed to evoke both the form and function of the original Maserati Birdcage – as low as possible for streamlined aerodynamics, flowing sensuously over each fender.

The Maserati Birdcage 75th featured a large, curving, transparent windshield; this was another deliberate echo of the original, where much of the complex lattice of tubes which made up the chassis were visible through a long, low windscreen. Pininfarina chose to keep the mechanicals of the concept car – from the pushrod suspension to the 6-liter V12 engine – on show.

Maserati Birdcage 75th

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For a prototype with such advanced design, it is remarkable that it was fully functional. Pininfarina showed the car around the world following its debut in Geneva, and it put in an appearance at the famous Goodwood hill-climb meeting in Britain, where it was driven up the hill at speed by Pink Floyd drummer, and car collector par excellence, Nick Mason. In his opinion: “I’ve driven a number of real concept cars, and this was streets ahead; I’ve driven some that look fabulous but drive like tea-trolleys, whereas the Maserati Birdcage 75th was a complete car. And it is the most wonderful looking car of all.”

During its world tour, the Maserati Birdcage 75th picked up numerous plaudits; it was named ‘Best Concept’ by the editors of AutoWeek, and was awarded a Special Prize by the International Jury of the ‘L’Automobile piu Bella del Mondo’ awards. And finally, it carried off the elite Louis Vuitton Classic Concept Award.

Maserati Birdcage 75th

So when Maserati commissioned Pininfarina to design the GranTurismo sports coupe, it was hardly surprising that the company turned to the Maserati Birdcage 75th for inspiration. The result is most obvious in the front-end treatment of the car; the low-slung ‘shark mouth’ opening which dominates the front view, and the way the hood flows into the bulges over the front fenders. “It evokes the modern themes explored in the Maserati Birdcage 75th, which was a futuristic extension of the Maserati marque, continuing its great tradition of advanced technology wrapped in sporty elegance,” said Pininfarina Chief Designer Lowie Vermeersch.

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Maserati Birdcage 75th interior

Parking the rare GranTurismo side-by-side with the one of a kind Birdcage 75th the design language is clear.  One is a two-seat mid-engined concept, the other a four-passenger coupe, but the eye is drawn to the same curves of the fenders, the flowing gracefulness of the lines shared between the cars.  Both are pure and uncluttered by unnecessary surface details or the seemingly random streaks, folds, creases and lines that plague so many cars today.  The GranTurismo and Maserati Birdcage 75th share a purity of form that will see them both honored at concours decades from now while other designs will fade like terrible fashion.

The grilles, wheels and flowing fenders are the most obvious cues shared between the two, but spend more time letting your eyes absorb the absolute balance of each car and it becomes clear why Pininfarina has remained the undisputed master of automotive design.  That Pininfarina saves their best work for Maserati is a testament to the allure of the Trident.

“The GranTurismo resembles a person with an intriguing, multifaceted personality,” said Andrea Pininfarina. “It changes constantly before our eyes like an irresistible person during a relationship.” And like the best relationships they may start when a first glance captivates you, but the longer you spend with the person the more they surprise and delight you with details and depth that only are revealed over time.

To order your new Maserati Birdcage 75th rival with a brand new V8 Corvette engine for only US$28,000.

Maserati Birdcage 75th

Maserati Birdcage 75th

 

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