Book Review: ‘Red-Hot Rivals'

Book Review: ‘Red-Hot Rivals' We’ve become accustomed to the two great Modenese manufacturers living in harmony as different divisions of the same industrial group. However, in the two decades from 1947 to 1967 an intense rivalry between Ferrari and Maserati considerably enlivened Grand Prix and sports car racing.

Karl Ludvigsen, one of the world’s most authoritative and respected motoring historians, tells this story in his new book, ‘Red-Hot Rivals Ferrari vs. Maserati - Epic clashes for supremacy’.

Quoting legendary journalist and team manager Romolo Tavoni, Ludvigsen can confirm that: “At the height of the rivalry [in Modena, in the 1950s], it was generally known that if you worked for Ferrari you would never be employed by Maserati and vice versa.” Enough said.

The chapters are split to match eras of racing when each company fielded equivalent cars. So the book opens with Ferrari’s supercharged 125 F1 meeting the iconic Maserati 4CLT/48 on the road circuits of early post-War Europe. At the same time, both companies were making two-seaters (the cars that provided pasta on the table for the owners and workers), so 166 SC joins battle with the Maserati A6 GCS. And so on, until '66 and '67 and the final years of Maserati in Formula 1, powering Coopers driven by Jochen Rindt, Pedro Rodriguez and John Surtees.

In fact the Englishman, Il Grande John, drove for both teams in 1966, winning Grands Prix for both manufacturers after his epic falling-out at Le Mans that year with Ferrari team manager Eugenio Dragoni. Surtees had won the World Championship for Ferrari in 1964, and by winning at Spa (Ferrari) and Mexico (Cooper-Maserati) in 1996 he became only the second man (after Fangio, in 1954, who else?) to win championship Grands Prix for two different teams in a single season.

It’s a great book and full of gems like these. 250 TR and ‘Birdcage’ Tipo 61, 335 S and 450 S, Tipo 151 and 275 P – they’re all there, together with the famous ‘Monzanapolis’ specials of ’57 and ’58. There’s some surprises too: Ferrari only just beat Maserati (by one point) in Formula 1 in 1966, and for much of the fifties Maserati was held sway both in Grands Prix and small-capacity sports cars.

The book (Hardback, 280 x 230mm, 336 pages, 425 b&w illustrations, ISBN:9781844254125) is available by mail order from Haynes HERE at £30.00 plus carriage.

Text - Steve Wakefield
Photos - Karl Ludvigsen

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