Eldorado Maserati and “The Race of two Worlds”

Moss with a "stirling" fan!

In 1958 a motor race christened;”The Race of Two Worlds” took place on the banked circuit in Monza Italy.  The “Race of Two Worlds” was a challenge between  American drivers (with their powerful Indianapolis type cars) against their counterparts from the world of Formula 1.  Without knowing the technical details or the rules, it just stikes me as a somewhat unfair competition given the massive power of the Indianapolis type cars like the huge Offenhauser against the less powerful Ferraris Maseratis, etc.  Maserati (who had withdrawn from Formula 1 some time earlier for financial reasons) believed they could build a car for the event if they could get a sponsor to help with the funding.  An Italian ice cream manufacturer called Eldorado came up with the money and the white “Masser” ran with the “Eldorado” branding all over.  They put a V8 4.5 litre engine into one of their 250 chassis and entered it for Stirling Moss.  Because all the corners on the Monza banked circuit (essentially an oval) were left handers, the engine was offset by approx four inces to the left of centre (in true Indy style).  The suspension and gear box was also modified (and beefed-up) and overall the car was much bigger / longer than the normal 250 on which it was based.  Unfortunately the car lacked pace (compared with the leading American cars) and Moss struggled to keep in touch with the front of the field.  In one of the heats Moss was very lucky to escape injury when the steering collapsed at 170mph and he ended up crashing heavily into the retaining barrier at the top of the banking.   The Americans dominated the race and and while there was great interest and support for this unique annual clash it was, however, disbanded due to safety concerns.   I’ve posed this little 1/43rd scale vignette from Denizen with the Eldorado Maserati – I’ve painted Moss wearing his traditional white sleeveless top on which he wears the BRDC crest.   The young autograph hunter (obviously in awe of his idol) is dressed in typical 50’s style (for a young boy) short throusers and sleeveless fairisle jumper – ah those were the days!

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