Ok, I didn't find it in a barn, it was Steve's shed, really. Steve is the chap I bought the Stelvio and the Joe Ehrlich Motobecane from, I had spotted the frame for this little 50 and had become curious and then fascinated.
Steve and his son, Jack were able to tell me quite a bit about this incredibly rare machine, it would have been unbelievably rude to have left it there so it had to be purchased and yet another lengthy project has come my way. As with the two previous bikes this one was procured at an extremely fair price, I am very happy to be it's new owner. I should say at this point calling it a bike is a bit of a stretch - it is a frame with some bits on and 5 boxes of other bits, which includes a few spares.
The story goes that originally Maserati had a factory making spark plugs and accumulators or batteries as we now call them. They started making mopeds after the war as there was terrific demand for small, cheap transportation solutions so many companies turned their hand to moped production. The Maserati T2 was a 49cc machine producing just under 3 hp from it's simple 2 stroke engine. It came in 2 primary versions - the U model aimed at men and the D model aimed at women. They also produced a small number of sporty models designated S and a smaller number of super sport models designated SS. A small number of the SS models were lightened for racing, I have thus far been unable to verify exactly how many were made, my best guess is less than 6.
The d and u models were pedal started, the racing SS models like mine have the holes in the engine casings where the pedal shaft usually exit blocked off. The panels are heavily drilled to lighten them, there is barely enough metal left to hold things together. All models had an incredibly simple 3 speed gear box, gear selection is via a twist grip on the left - a bit like on many scooters. The carb on mine is a special lightweight titanium or magnesium bodied one, can't remember which - I do not believe they were fitted on any other models.
The d and u models had a distinctive wrap around front mud guard, the one on mine is cut short, as its the one on the rear - every single ounce that could be removed has been removed. I do not have a headlight, I suspect it would have been removed for racing, the mounting ears are with the bike so it may be possible to reinstate the light if the mood takes me - it does have a rear light but that may have only been for the brake. I need to do some more research, which won't be easy given the age and rarity of this bike. Putting it together will be a fair challenge, although having gone through the boxes this afternoon many things have already become clearer. It looks like nearly everything is there, the notable exception being any manual or other information that gives me any clues as to what goes where. As I did not take it to bits it will probably require a few dry runs of things like engine and gear box assembly before I get it right.
This one is going to be a full and proper restoration, I hope to get my good mate Robert Cooper to do the paint job, he will be able to do a far better job than I ever could. Every single bearing and seal will be new - there are a number of bearings but most of them have some water damage on them, I am not taking any risks with this incredibly rare engine.
It will be a while before work starts as I need to finish the Bianchi and the Motobecane first, I think this may be the most rewarding of the three, just because it represents the biggest challenge. Having said that I haven't got the Motobecane running yet and with all the parts it came with it may take some fiddling to see which parts are supposed to belong together. One thing is certain - I wont have much free time for the next few months.