A Brief Background: O.S.C.A. 1600 GT

Between the world wars, the Modena-based Maserati brothers gained a first class reputation as suppliers of racing cars to the privateer. 1938 saw the sale of their eponymous company to Industrialist Adolfo Orsi. To their discontent, Orsi’s son Omer, was pressing for the construction of road cars. Towards the end of 1947, their service contract completed, the three surviving brothers went off to form O.S.C.A. (English translation: Special Organisation for the Construction of Automobiles) in nearby Bologna. No more than 30 cars a year were built consisting of mainly small engined sports racing cars. There was an outright victory at the 1954 Sebring 24hrs and numerous class wins at Le Mans and in the Mille Miglia.

In a reversal of the policy that led them to leave Maserati, the brothers began building GT cars using a tuned 1,598cc version of the Fiat – O.S.C.A. engine which gave 140bhp. The chassis was pure Fiat besides the addition of disc brakes on all four wheels. Each car was built to individual requirements and bodies came from Zagato, Fissore, Boneschi Touring and Morelli. Following the 1500S, OSCA decided to offer a road car and the natural engine choice was a 1,600-cc version of the engine developed for Fiat. Subsequently, Zagato was contracted to design the coachwork and two versions were built: a normal roof design, as well as one of the prettiest cars of the era, the so-called double bubble coupes. These cars, with their thoroughbred racing engines and nimble chassis, were among the best-looking road/race cars of their time. The 1600 GT was bodied by five different coachbuilders, with the most attractive and numerous being that of Zagato. With four-wheel disc brakes, fully independent suspension, a strong and light ladder tube frame, and a smooth and flexible engine, it provided everything that was required for success in racing and on the road.

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