ENGINES: OFFICINE SPECIALIZATE COSTRUZIONE AUTOMOBILI

Name: Officine Specializate Costruzione Automobili

After the death of Alfieri Maserati in 1932 the famous Bolognese car company was run by 49-year-old Bindo, 38-year-old Ettore and 34-year-old Ernesto. They were very successful but the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union Grand Prix teams meant that the success became increasingly difficult to achieve and that led to financial trouble. In 1937 the brothers agreed a deal with the Orsi Family, which ran a steel and machine tool empire headquartered in Modena, for them to take over the company. The brothers were retained as engineers on 10 year contracts. This arrangement worked successfully in the late 1930s but during the war the Orsis decided to move the factory to Modena and Alberto Massimino was brought in as chief engineer. When the war ended the Maserati Brothers departed and set up OSCA in San Lazzaro di Savena, in the suburbs of Bologna. Initially the brothers built small sportscars but in 1950 some of these were converted for Formula 2. In 1951 they built a new 4.5-liter V12 engine which was raced in old Maserati chassis by Prince Bira. The car won its first race at Goodwood in March that year, against low-key opposition but achieved little thereafter. At the Italian GP in September OSCA entered two works cars for Franco Rol but the car was a long way off the pace of the Alfa Romeos and Ferraris.

The car reappeared at the Valentino GP in Turin as the start of 1952 in the hands of Rol but it was off the pace again and with the adoption of Formula 2 regulations for the World Championship the Maserati Brothers ran one of its old F2 cars for Frenchman Elie Bayol and designed a new 2-liter straight six engine. This appeared in August and Bayol showed it had promise with sixth place at Modena in September. In 1953 he was joined by another OSCA customer Louis Chiron who finished second at Syracuse. The pair then finished fourth and sixth at Pau. In July Bayol won the Circuit du Lac at Aix-les-Bains beating the Gordini team. The change in the regulations for the World Championship in 1954 rendered the cars obsolete and it was not until a new 1.5-liter F2 began in 1957 that OSCA reappeared in single-seater racing with a new four cylinder engine. The company enjoyed some success in 1960 with victory in the Italian Formula Junior series but in 1962 the aging Maserati brothers sold the company the MV Agusta motorcycle company.

Print