One of the most iconic cars in Maserati’s history has also been voted the world’s greatest racing car ever by British magazine Octane. This car is the Maserati 250F and it was a Formula One car, which debuted in the 1954 season and used by customer teams until 1960. The name 250F refers to the specs that were instated for F1 in 1954 – a maximum engine capacity of 2.5 litres hence the 250 number, and F refers to Formula One naturally. Those rules also stipulated 750cc supercharged engines but Maserati decided to take the normally aspirated route.
It was built on a simple multi-tubular ladder-like frame which carries the suspension, body panels and engine. The rear used a De Dion axle while the front was of a double wishbone design. Maserati engineers paid their full attention to the engine that powered the car, a 2.5 litre inline-6 with twin spark dual spark ignition and 3 Weber 45 DCO3 Caburattors. It produced 270 horsepower at 8,000rpm. For those that complain about cars coming with rear drum brakes these days, this F1 car used drum brakes all-round!
The 1950s Formula One world were dominated by road-car teams like Maserati together with Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz. The Maserati 250F competed in a total of 46 F1 championships with 277 entries and won 8 times. Its performance in its first two races exceeded Maserati’s expectations where it was driven by Juan-Manuel Fangio to victory before he unfortunately left to the newly-formed Mercedes-Benz team.
VIDEO: Fangio driving the 250F Maserati in Modena, Italy in the 1950s
Thanks to the beauty of the internet you can even check out Fangio driving the 250F from its on-board cam today, recorded all the way back in the 1950s!
“It steered beautifully, and inclined towards stable oversteer which one could exploit by balancing it against power and steering in long sustained drifts through corners. It rode well on the normal type of relatively smooth-surfaced course, although its small coil springs and leaf spring rear-end would use up available suspension movement over the bumps at the Ring,” said a young Stirling Moss who drove it as a private racer.