What to Read Next

Maserati Birdcage Concept: A Tribute to Italian Ingenuity

Bill Wilson
21 August 2013

Life is but a series of trade-offs. This is as true with racing as with any other field of human endeavor. One of the trade-offs auto designers must deal with is balancing strength against weight. Make a frame too fragile and the vehicle will never withstand the stresses of competition, build it too heavy and it will never be able to compete with lighter, more nimble competitors.

The designers at Maserati solved this dilemma brilliantly way back in the 1950s. Their solution was so elegant it was commemorated in 2005 by the Birdcage, one of the coolest concept cars ever built.

The original birdcage

Maserati Tipo 61
Maserati Tipo 61

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

pininfarina-maserati-birdcage-concept-1309125604-66
pininfarina-maserati-birdcage-concept-1309125604-66

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.

PHOTOS: See more of the 2005 Pininfarina Maserati Birdcage Concept

Photo Credit: RM Auctions

This Movie Deal Is Sure To Get Your Attention!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Help Erase Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

Are you paying too much on your credit cards? Consider a Personal Loan to help consolidate your payments.

Attn Home Owners Who Never Miss a Payment.

Home Owners who have not missed a payment in 3 years or more need to read this. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home there is a solution.

Visiting Vegas? Find the Lowest Hotel Prices!

Las Vegas can be hectic, but your stay doesn't have to be. Compare rates and find the best hotel deals!

Chestnut Place Townhomes in Falls Church Now Open!

City-style garage towns with easy access to West Falls Church Metro & 2 mi from Tysons Corner. Enjoy a luxury location from the upper $990s.

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

United States drivers are stunned that they never knew this. If you drive less than 50 mi/day, you better read this...

Stop Paying Too Much For Your Prescriptions.

Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies. GoodRx finds the lowest prices and discounts. Compare prices, print free coupons & save up to 80%.

Learn How NicoDerm Can Help You Quit Smoking

NicoDerm CQ® works by delivering a steady flow of therapeutic nicotine through your skin. Read how the patch can help you quit smoking all day long.

Drivers With No Accidents Must Read This

Are you aware that you could receive a large discount just for not having a ticket or accident in the past 3 years? See how you can save more.

Drive part-time, full-time, or anytime with Uber!

As an Uber independent contractor you can get paid to drive your own car! We connect you with riders, and you work when you want to.

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!