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Peter Giddings Racing

1952 OSCA MT4 2AD, Chassis no. 1129, engine no. 1311

O.S.C.A. (Officine Specializate Costruzione Automobili—Fratelli Maserati S.p.A.) was an Italian manufacturer of racing and sports cars established in San Lazzaro di Savena, Bologna, by Ernesto and Bindo Maserati after the Maserati brand was sold to the Orsi family in 1948. OSCA was active from 1949 until it closed down in 1967. Its name is usually abbreviated to OSCA or Osca.

O.S.C.A.'s first car was the MT4, for Maserati Tipo 4 cilindri. The 1092 cc engine (71 bhp at 6000 rpm) had a FIAT-derived block with an alloy head. The bodywork was built as a two-seater Barchetta. The MT4 first raced in 1948 at the Grand Prix of Naples, where it was driven to a win by Luigi Villoresi. The engine was modified to 1342 cc (with 89 bhp at 5500 rpm) in 1949.

In 1950, a new DOHC head (MT4-2AD) raised power (to a maximum of 100 bhp) at 6300 rpm), and in 1953 the engine was enlarged to 1491 cc (108 bhp at 6,200 rpm).

This OSCA, chassis number 1129, one of six Frua-bodied spyders constructed, was delivered in June 1953 to Briggs Cunningham at Costa Mesa, California (confirmed by Alfieri Maserati from his personal family archives). In 1954, the car was sold to Walt Hansgen. Subsequent owners were Dick Gent, Otto Linton, Walter R. Hoover, Bob Klay, and Phil Stevens. About 1970-71, Stanley Nowak (author of "The Most Successful Maserati - the OSCA MT4") acquired the car. In 1972 the car was sold to Jack Farnsworth, then to Joel Finn, then to Robert Gellis. Tim Hart bought the car and had it restored by Steven Griswold in 1978/79 prior to its appearance in Pebble Beach in 1979 where it won the Pebble Beach Cup for 'Best Presentation and Performance at the Monterey Historic Races'.

Peter Giddings purchased the car in 1980. Peter sold the car to Michael Lynch of Carmel, California; author, journalist, and automotive historian. Richard Riddell of Laguna Beach, California acquired the car in February 1982. He then had the engine replaced by engine #1505, a 1491 cc engine from chassis No. 1146 that was prepared for racing by Phil Reilly. This was a straight swap, engine no. 1311 went into chassis no. 1146.

OSCA chassis no. 1311 with engine no. 1505 was sold at the Pebble Beach Auction in August 1998 to Roger Earl and Tony Pickering of England. It has subsequently completed more than six sessions of the Mille Miglia, several times at the Le Mans Legends race, and many other European venues.


Type: Double overhead-cam inline-four, cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder head
Displacement: 1,491cc
Bore x stroke: 78mm x 78mm
Compression ratio: 9.0:1
Horsepower @ rpm: 116 @ 6,500 (from dyno testing)
Valvetrain: Chain-driven dual-overhead cams, Maserati-type finger followers
Main bearings: 5
Induction system: Dual sidedraft Weber 40 DC03 carburetors; electric Fiat fuel pump
Electrical system: 12-volt, Marelli coil and distributor, twin spark plugs per cylinder
Exhaust system: Single

Type ZF four-speed manual, single dry-disc Fiat clutch
Ratios 1st: 3.63:1
2nd: 2.06:1
3rd: 1.30:1
4th: 1.00:1
Reverse: 4.71:1

Type: OSCA 11-inch
Ratio: 3.80:1

Type: OSCA, manual, finned drums
Front: 11-inch expanding drum
Rear: 11-inch expanding drum

Construction: Aluminum body by Frua on tubular-steel ladder frame
Body style: Two-door, two-seat Barchetta roadster
Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive

Type: OSCA worm and sector
Turns, lock-to-lock: 3
Turning circle: 28 feet

Front Unequal-length A-arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar, Maserati double-acting hydraulic shocks
Rear Live axle, quarter-elliptic leaf springs, control arms, Maserati double-acting hydraulic shocks

Wheelbase: 86.6 inches
Overall length: 154 inches
Overall width: 54 inches
Overall height: 41.5 inches
Front track: 47.6 inches
Rear track: 45.25 inches
Weight: about 1,600 pounds

Crankcase: 7 quarts
Cooling system: 12 quarts
Fuel tank: 20 gallons

0-60 mph: 7.7 seconds
Standing 1/4 mile: 16 seconds
Top speed: 130 mph



OSCA MT4 2AD, s/n 1129, outside Peter's shop.


OSCA MT4 2AD, s/n 1129, rear view.

Twin Plug Engine

An OSCA 1491 cc Twin-Plug Engine