Legendary Race Cars  

1959 OSCA Tipo J Formula Junior

Sold for $342,540  on September 8, 2014 

86.7 hp, 1,089 cc inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with an anti-roll bar, live rear axle with coil springs and telescopic shocks, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,100 mm

The second of fifteen examples built, and one of only six remaining
Raced in period by Ricardo Rodriguez in the United States

In 1958, Count Giovanni “Johnny” Lurani, one of the Italian aristocrats who had established the Mille Miglia in 1927, was concerned at the lack of young Italians coming through as potential Formula One drivers. He initially established the Lurani Championship for Formula Junior racing cars in Italy, but it was eventually sanctioned by the FIA. Cars were to be based on Fiat’s 1,100-cubic centimetre engines, with a substantial proportion of the mechanical parts also sourced from Fiat. As these were readily available and at low cost, a number of Italian marques used them to produce attractive front-engine race cars, and amongst those marques were Stanguellini, Taraschi, Volpini, Autosud, Bandini, and the Maserati brothers’ specialist company, OSCA.

The OSCAs, in particular, were very charismatic cars, looking every bit like a two-thirds-scale Maserati 250 F. Nonetheless, Stanguellini was the largest producer, as they constructed over 100 cars throughout 1958, 1959, and 1960. The OSCA company built far fewer, as only 15 cars emerged from the Maserati brothers’ factory in Bologna. The popularity of the series and the clarity of its raison d’ętre meant that the concept grew like wildfire and soon swept across Europe, the UK, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. It rapidly spawned vigorous and regular racing, and it quickly achieved its aim of providing a racing forum for many talented young drivers.