The Maserati Siluro 4CM Carenato was one of the first experimental cars that revolutionised research into aerodynamics. Extreme forms, styled by highly skilled engineers from the aeronautics world and aided by impeccable construction, allowed invaluable information to be acquired for use on later models. The name derived from the basic car, a Maserati 4CM, specially modified with mudguards over the wheels and a special dome for the cockpit (“carenatura”), which made it look like a “siluro”, or torpedo.
The Maserati 4CM used as the basis for the Maserati Siluro 4CM Carenato belonged to Giuseppe Furmanik, Chairman of the Italian Automobile Club. Furmanik’s car was most likely the number 1120, meaning the former record-breaking 4CM 1100, equipped with engine number 1536. Furmanik, a great car and racing enthusiast, decided to have his car modified on the latest aerodynamic principles in order to race in international competitions. The idea was to minimise weight and maximum aerodynamic performance in order to achieve top speeds that were unthinkable for any car of the time.
In the mid Thirties, aerodynamics was in its infancy, as engineers began to develop the first forms intended to improve efficiency of cars by modifying their air penetration coefficients. Aerodynamics was still by no means an exact science, as constructors proceeded by trial and error, performing empirical studies of the behaviour of various parts in relation to their functions.
The basic design of the Maserati Siluro 4CM Carenato was developed by the Guidonia Aeronautics Experimentation Centre, which decided to give the car a torpedo-like shape to make it faster and minimise air resistance. The engineers decided to create a pointed nose at the front and a tall fin on the tail, while the rear wheels were covered by mudguards to improve their aerodynamic efficiency. The various air inlets for the engine were also covered over to create a smooth, unbroken body, skilfully built by Viotti of Turin.
After beginning its life as a Maserati 4CM 1100, the Siluro evolved very quickly. As well as the aerodynamic changes to the bodywork, the front brakes (considered superfluous) were removed, reducing the car’s total weight to just 580 kilograms. The Siluro made its debut on 3 June 1937 with a revised engine, which had been modified to reach a peak of 7,000 rpm and generate no less than 200 horsepower. These changes enabled it to achieve almost all the records set as targets during the design work.