that Maserati in the last pic, http://aussieexotics.com/forum/events/cannonball-run-1994-2598.msg61429.html#msg61429
is that the car from the 94 Cannonball?
if so, can anyone tell me anything about it, i've always been curious about it, but have never been able to find anything out about what it actually is.
Maserati Barchetta Stradale
By the early nineties, Maserati's uninspriring Biturbo-based line-up was in desperate need of something new and exciting. A stillborn prototype known as the Chubasco had been displayed towards the end of 1990, but due to its complex specification, never made production. Instead, Maserati came up with a highly specialised racing car known as the Barchetta that incorporated state of the art components with little regard to cost. The plan was for 25 Corsa variants to be followed by a series of road-going Stradale's, however, a mere 15 were eventually built in total.
They were assembled at the De Tomaso plant (also in Modena), Alessandro De Tomaso having taken ownership of Maserati back in 1975. Designed for a one-make championship known as the Grantrofeo Monomarca that ran for just two seasons in 1992 and '93, Maserati wanted to appeal to amateur ‘gentleman' drivers much like Ferrari's 348 Challenge Trophy and the Porsche Supercup. The Barchetta Corsa used a steel tube backbone chassis as seen on the 1990 Chubasco prototype announced a year earlier. Alessandro De Tomaso was a famous supporter of the spine chassis and had used it for his Vallelunga and Mangusta models back in the 1960's. For this latest application, there was a longitudinal beam made from a mixture of light alloy and composite materials, magnesium having been used for the front and rear bulkheads. At the front, the spine was coupled to a light alloy subframe from which the suspension could hang. The engine meanwhile was rigidly mounted to the central beam via another light alloy subframe to which the rear suspension was also attached. Rocker arms were used with pushrods at the front and pullrods at the back, the wide-angle double wishbone suspension featuring inboard coil over shocks. The ride height was adjustable whilst braking came courtesy of non-servo assisted dual circuit brakes with an adjustable balance bar, ventilated discs and four piston calipers. Lightweight 18-inch Marchesini wheels were 8 and 10.5 inches wide at the front / back.
A hot version of the second generation Ghibli's twin turbocharged 90º V6 was installed, this mid-longitudinally mounted engine featuring four overhead camshafts and four valve cylinder heads. Displacement was a diminutive 1996cc thanks to a bore and stroke of 82 x 63mm respectively. Equipped with electronic fuel injection, two water-cooled IHI turbochargers and a compression ratio of 7.6:1, output was 315bhp at 7200rpm with 275lb ft of torque at 4250rpm. A ZF six-speed gearbox used straight cut gears and offered a multitude of alternative ratios.
This mouth-watering combination was then clothed with a gorgeous Barchetta body fabricated from an aluminium honeycomb, fibreglass and carbon composite. Consisting of three main panels (plus the flimsy doors), the front and rear mouldings were completely detachable. For racing, a huge adjustable rear spoiler and roll-over hoop were fitted. Inside, the cockpit was kitted out exactly like you would expect, no luxury trim, sound insulation or carpet. Recaro seats with distinctive tartan tops and centres were installed, each being trimmed in fire-proof cloth and equipped with Sabelt harnesses. A suede-rimmed three-spoke Momo steering wheel fronted a lightweight instrument binnacle that did without a speedometer. Weighing in at just 775kg, the Barchetta Corsa was an explosive performer and probably the fastest one-make racer of its time. A top speed approaching 190mph was originally quoted but something around the low 170's was probably more accurate, 0-60 requiring just 4.4 seconds. The Barchetta was launched on December 14th 1991 and for the forthcoming season, a six round championship known as the Grantrofeo Monomarca Barchetta Maserati was organised. All six events were held on Italian soil and despite fairly small grids, these little cars provided entertaining and reliable racing. In 1993, a ten-race championship was run with eight rounds in Italy and two in Holland. 15 Barchetta's were sold, mostly to Maserati dealers who enlisted guest drivers although some also went to privateers. A Stradale version was completed in 1992 (and is covered separately in Part 2) but with disappointing sales figures for the Corsa, Maserati decided not to organise a championship for 1994.
By the end of 1992, Maserati were actively promoting a road-going Stradale version of the Barchetta. However, after the prototype was destroyed (chassis LAC), only two further examples were completed by the factory, both of which featured subtly different detailing. Little was changed in the Barchetta's transition to a road car, the official brochure revealing the same twin turbocharged two-litre V6, albeit with the redline reduced from 7200 to 6250rpm. Consequently, output was rated at 306bhp as opposed to 315bhp. Other alterations included new ‘Frog-Eye Headlights', extra spot lamps, indicators and enlarged door mirrors whilst the rollover bar and adjustable rear wing were ditched. Officially, weight was increased from 775 to 905kg. After the aforementioned prototype was destroyed (chassis LAC), a Corsa (chassis LLH) was fitted by the factory with a ‘Frog-Eye' Stradale front end. This otherwise race-spec car (rollover bar, rear wing etc.) was subsequently lent to the Australian Maserati concessionaire for use in the 1994 Northern Territory Cannonball Run.
Comprising a return trip from Darwin to Ayers Rock, chassis LLH won outright and handed the Barchetta its only multi-marque period race win. The other factory built Stradale was chassis LAE, a road car from new. Equipped with many unique details, among them 'Covered Headlights', special door mirrors and wheels, this car languished at the factory for many years before going into the collection of Modena-based industrialist, Umberto Panini. Several other Corsa's have since been modified to make them street legal, some of which adopt the bare minimum changes required by law whilst others opt for LAE-style front bodywork with covered headlights (as seen on chassis LAD depicted in the final three photographs). That wasn't quite the end of the story though as the Barchetta lived on in the form of the De Tomaso Guara for another ten years…