Maserati 26M Sport

Maserati 26M Sport

1930 to 1932

Introduced in 1930, the only thing that the 26M family retained from its 26 series predecessor was the number. The 26B had already obtained the maximum possible displacement for the crankcase, necessitating a completely new design for the “M” series. This led Alfieri Maserati to create a new two-and-a-half-litre engine with a particularly long stroke (94 millimetres with a 65 bore), a somewhat unusual feature in Maserati’s production at the time. The new 2495 cc engine was midway between the large V4 / V5 (3961-4906cc) engines and the 1100cc 8-cylinder engine used to power the 26C.

Engine displacement was by via twin gear-driven double overhead camshafts. The crankshaft originally featured five bearings; these were later replaced by roller bearings, with displacement taking place by means of a dry sump lubrication system using scavenger pumps. The chassis, with its channel section side members, ensured a particularly sleek line, thanks to its low ground clearance. Medardo Fantuzzi coachbuilt the Maserati 26M in both Corsa and Sport versions: the latter featured a slightly shorter wheelbase compared to that of the “Corsa”.

In 1931, the year in which several improvements were made to the brakes and engine, Castagna Coachbuilders presented a 26M “Gran Sport” road car with superior finishes; around the same time Ugo Zagato created a finish for the “Sport Tipo 1000 Miglia”, a lightweight spider with aluminium bodywork which, according to Maserati’s official catalogues, could also be powered by a 2-litre engine. A couple of Sport models were coachbuilt as four-seaters in Great Britain and were used in endurance events. The 26M series went out of production in 1932 after producing 13 cars, one of which was a longer wheelbase versioned named ‘T’ (Turismo).

Technical specifications

Model Tipo 26M
Production start 1930
Ignition single-plug, Bosch or Scintilla magneto
Lubrication dual oil pumps (pressure and scavenge)
Transmission 4-speed + reverse
Chassis ladder frame, with two longitudinal steel girders and cross members
Front suspension leaf springs and friction dampers
Rear suspension leaf springs and friction dampers
Brakes drum brakes, mechanical
Steering worm gear
Cooling system centrifugal pump
Length 151.57 in. (3,850 mm)
Width 61.81 in. (1,570 mm)
Height 47.24 in. (1,200 mm)
Wheelbase 108.27 in. (2,750 mm)
Dry weight 1,808 lbs (820 kg)
Tyres front 5.00x18; rear 5.50x18 - 6.50x16; Dunlop
Wheels wire wheels, front 3.00x18, rear 3.25x18
Top speed 143 mph (230 km/h)
Bodywork two-seater racing car
Fuel tank 28.60 Imp. gall. (130 litres)
Years of activity 1930-1932
Engine in-line 8
Bore and stroke 65x94 mm
Total displacement 2,495.4 cc
Compression ratio 5.05.01
Maximum power 185 bhp at 5,600 rpm
Timing gear two valves per cylinder set in a 90°V, twin overhead camshafts
Fuel feed Roots supercharger, a single Weber ASS carburettor mounted ahead of the supercharger