OSCA was set up in December 1947 by the Maserati brothers Ettore, Ernesto and Bindo (Alfieri sadly passed away in 1932) after they had sold their original company (Maserati) to the Orsi family in 1937 (they remained there for 10 years as consultants). Their aim was to produce small capacity competition cars which they did with considerable success, the first car being an open sports car with cycle-wings, the MT4. With further developments an MT4-2AD (twin-cam) won the 1100cc class in the 1950 Mille Miglia as well as numerous other victories.
They also dabbled in Formula One, with normally-aspirated 4.5-litre cars in 1951 and 1952 but with less success. In 1952 they developed a new 1987cc monoposto to meet the revised GP regs which achieved some podium finishes in 1953.
Some cars also made it to the USA where their greatest success was overall victory in the 1954 Sebring 12 hours, the drivers including Stirling Moss ! The car was an MT4 1450.
In the mid-1950s OSCA concentrated on the 1500 class, using a new 1490cc engine, although they also produced the 750S with a 70bhp 750cc twin-cam engine, which scored a class victory at Le Mans in 1958, driven by De Tomaso !
Road cars started to emerge from the factory in 1960, 128 examples of the 1600GT being built until 1963. Bodies were supplied by Touring, Zagato, Fissore, Boneschi and Morelli whilst power came from a twin-cam 1600 four-cylinder unit.
They also worked with Fiat for a time, modifying Fiat 600s, and their engines were used in production Fiats from the late 1950's. The company became part of MV Agusta around 1963 and finally ceased to trade in 1966.
MT4 & TN Types
Emerging in the spring of 1948, the first Osca was called the MT4 for Maserati tipo 4. It was a small open sports car powered by a 1092cc four-cylinder engine which had a compression ratio of 11.5:1 and produced 72bhp @ 6,000rpm. It started winning at Naples that summer driven by Villoresi. The following year the same engine had is capacity increased to 1342cc, the power going up to 90bhp @ 5,500rpm. These cars were a 'siluro' design (ie with exposed wheels covered by bicycle type mudguards).
1950 saw both the above engines getting a new cylinder-head with two camshafts, the car becoming known as the MT4-2AD (or TwinCam). The power outputs went up to 92bhp @ 6,600rpm and 100bhp @ 6,300rpm respectively. The car got a new bodywork with integrated wheelarches, which gradually changed with time. These cars were built from 1950 until 1956, and a small number also received coupé bodies from various carrozzeria including Frua, Michelotti and Vignale.
The capacity was again increased in 1953 when a 1453cc version, with 110bhp @ 6,200rpm, was also produced. The ultimate MT4 had to be the 1491cc version built in small numbers from 1954 to 1957. This utilised twin plugs as well as twin camshafts and produced 120bhp @ 6,300rpm. Externally the cars were basically the same as the smaller engined variants, almost all MT4 cars sharing the same 2200mm wheelbase (only the early sohc cars had a 100mm longer wheelbase).
The logical development of the MT4 saw the birth of the TN in 1955. A revised and modified chassis (the 2200mm wheelbase remained) was fitted with a new 1491cc dohc engine, now with 125bhp @ 6,300rpm. The bodywork followed the same style as the MT4. These cars were only built until 1957, although the engine was also used in some later MT4 cars.
With the S187, which emerged in 1956, OSCA extended their involvement in motorsport into the 750 class. A complex frame made from small diameter tubes had a 2100mm wheelbase and was fitted with a 749cc dohc engine which produced 70bhp @ 7,500rpm. The body had a very distinctive flat tail, which was compared to a toothpaste tube..... The total empty weight was only 430kg. Drum brakes were fitted on all wheels, the suspension used coil springs and telescopic dampers on all four corners and a solid rear axle was fitted. This car continued to be built until 1958 with a variety of evolving bodystyles. In 1959 a new 746cc engine, with 72bhp @ 7,600rpm, was introduced, and a new body with clamshell front and rear sections was used.
Considering a possible successor to the MT4, in 1956 a Tipo S was fitted with an increased capacity engine. By increasing the bore to 70mm the overall capacity went up to 954cc, and the power to 78bhp @ 7,200rpm. This car won the 1100 class in the 1957 Mille Miglia.
Given this success they went ahead and in 1957 the S273, with a 1092cc engine producing 95bhp @ 7,000rpm, was released. The chassis was basically still that of the 750 car, including the 2100mm wheelbase, and although the empty weight had increased to 480kg it was still 50kg less than the old 1100 MT4.
Two more variants of the S Type were also built towards the end of its career. The S498 of 1949 used a 1995cc engine with 168bhp and then 172bhp and a slightly longer wheelbase (2200mm). The body was significantly lowered, needing a very noticeable bonnet bulge to clear the engine, whilst the suspension was also revised. In 1960 the S-F392 emerged, a standard S Type chassis fitted with the 1600 dohc engine from the 1600GT. Only two examples were constructed.
One of the more noticeable result of the 750 car was a class win at Le Mans in 1958 when the car was driven by De Tomaso.
G, F2, 2000S and J Types
1951 saw OSCA produce a Grand Prix car, the G Type. This used a 4473cc V12 engine with 330bhp @ 6,200rpm. The two cars were later given sports-car bodies by Frua and Zagato, the former interestingly retaining its central driving position.
In the following year they chose the 2-litre formula, producing a single seat GP car with a 1987cc dohc straight six engine with 170bhp @ 6,500rpm. Two examples were built.
In 1954 they decided to return to sports-cars with the 2000S, a development of the F2. With a straight six 1987cc engine (dimensionally identical to the F2 engine) which had 165bhp @ 6,500rpm, four of the cars produced had bodies by Morelli and one by Frua. The wheelbase was also the same 2250mm as the F2.
From 1959 to 1961 OSCA also produced around 15 Formula Junior cars. Using a chassis inspired by the S-Type these cars were fitted with a modified Fiat 1100 engine, the 1089cc ohv unit producing around 88bhp @ 6,800rpm.
Launched in 1960, the 1600GT was the first 'proper' road car to emerge from the company. 128 examples were built until 1963. Bodies were supplied by Touring (2), Zagato (98), Fissore (24 including 3 cabriolets), Boneschi (3) and Morelli (1) whilst power came from a twin-cam 1568cc four-cylinder unit (95bhp @ 6,000rpm). Various levels of competition intent were built, regarding both weight and power output. More powerful engines included the GTV which had 125bhp whilst the GTS had 140bhp @ 7,200rpm, partly thanks to its twin plug ignition. All the cars had a 2250mm wheelbase.
At the 1963 Turin Motorshow OSCA presented a more revised competition version, the 1600SP (below right). This still used the 1568cc dohc engine, the 140bhp twin plug unit being intended. A four-speed gearbox was standard, a six-speed was planned. The tubular chassis was covered by a body from Zagato and the overall empty weight was reduced to a mere 710kg. Only one example was constructed.
Click here for a series of pictures of a 1600GT in action.
Shown at the Turin Motorshow of 1964 this was another coupé using Fiat 1600S mechanicals. The chassis used a central beam ('trave centrale' in Italian, hence TC) whilst the body was made from a composite firbe reinforced material. The engine was the normal 1568cc dohc, in this application with 125bhp @ 6,800rpm.
The wheelbase was 2400mm, tracks (front/rear) 1340mm/1320mm, total length 4350mm, width 1590mm, height 1220mm and an empty weight of 840kg.
1050 Coupé and Spider
Also at the Turin Motorshow of 1964 were two smaller cars, a plastic bodied coupé and a metal bodied spider, the latter designed by Touring.
Both cars were powered by the same 1057cc four-cylinder engine with 63bhp @ 5,800rpm.
OSCA-MV Coupé and Spider
Following the purchase of OSCA by MV work continued for a short time on new models. At the Turin Motorshow of 1965 two models were on display, a spider and a coupé, both designed by Zagato. These were both powered by the four-cylinder 1700 engine from the Ford Taunus, with the power output increased to 95bhp @ 5,800rpm. The engine was positioned at the front of the car, whilst the four-speed gearbox and differential were located together at the rear. Independent suspension and disc brakes were fitted all round. The coupé was 4050mm long and weighed 710kg whilst the spider was 3800mm long and weighed 640kg. Manufacturer top speeds were 175km/h for the spider and 180 for the coupé. Production was scheduled to start in the spring of 1966.
Click here for pictures.
2500 GT (Dromos)
In 1999 there emerged a new car with the OSCA badge on the bonnet. The OSCA name had been sold to MV Agusta in 1963 but was resurrected by GMP Automobili srl, the car originally known as the 2500GT then later christened 'Dromos'. Financial backing came from a Japan businessman with Colucci (ex-Abarth), Spada (ex-Zagato designer), Luca Zagato (son of Gianni) and others involved. The car was an all new small (4090mm long, 1150mm high and 1760mm wide) two seat coupé powered by a Subaru 2457cc flat four engine (tuned by STi to give 187bhp) positioned behind the cockpit. The chassis was built by a reborn Touring using their famous superleggera construction with a multitude of small diameter steel tubes. Suspension was by double wishbones all round and the rest of the car followed such competition based trends. An ultra light weight of 680kg (45% front/55% rear) promised more than adequate performance. A single running prototype was built and tested by various magazines in 2001 but nothing more came of the project.
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