Maserati Birdcage Concept: A Tribute to Italian Ingenuity
In 1959, Maserati designers were trying to figure out a way to build a featherweight frame with the strongest possible durability. The solution they came up with was to weld 200 chro-moly steel tubes into an intricate framework that observers dubbed “the birdcage.”
The approach proved to be as successful as it was unconventional. The vehicle Maserati developed from it, the Tipo 61, was a remarkable competitor in contests across Europe for years.
The Birdcage Concept Car
As both a tribute to the original Birdcage and a way of commemorating Pininfarina’s 75th anniversary, Maserati unveiled the concept vehicle at the 2005 Geneva Auto Show. The six-month marathon design process resulted in one of the most unique and aerodynamic cars ever built. The exterior, crafted from carbon fiber, with a perplex windshield that extends almost the full length of the vehicle. It hangs exceptionally low to give the driver an uncompromised view of his surroundings.
The Birdcage is powered by the same V12 used in the Maserati MC12 GT1 race car. Instead of a traditional instrument panel, it uses a heads-up display (HUD) projected onto a clear panel. In lieu of doors, entry is gained by a rising canopy that occupies most of the vehicle’s front section.
An interesting note: since the Birdcage lacks climate control, and since the one-piece windshield excels at trapping heat, riding in can be a sweltering experience. Of course, a little heat is a small price to pay for driving something so incredibly cool.