The Forgotten Maserati Concept Car That Still Looks Futuristic Today

The Maserati brand has produced some of the world's best-looking concept cars. For starters, the Maserati Boomerang debuted at the 1971 Turin Auto Show as possibly the most futuristic-inspired concept of the time. Maserati took the 90s by storm with its Chubasco concept, a flagship grand-touring sports car penned by Marcello Gandini — the iconic designer behind the Lamborghini Miura, Countach, and Diablo's head-turning silhouette.

However, Maserati cooked up a storm for the 2005 Geneva Auto Show. The Italian automaker collaborated with then-electronics giant Motorola and Pininfarina to create a magnificent concept car based on the Maserati MC12 Competizione, one of the best Maserati production cars

Moreover, Pininfarina celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2020, and it teamed up with Maserati to enter its grand 75th birthday with the luscious Birdcage 75. The Maserati Birdcage 75th was a missed opportunity that should have entered production, because it still looks utterly futuristic despite its age.

Celebrating 75 years of design excellence

Italian design house Pininfarina started in May 1930 and is commemorating its 93rd anniversary in 2023. Known popularly for designing the best-looking vintage and post-modern Ferraris, Pininfarina has worked with other automakers like Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, and Maserati (per Motor Trend). It also designed concept cars for Chevy, Jaguar, Citroen, and Honda (per Goodwood). However, the Maserati Birdcage 75th is undoubtedly one of Pininfarina's best concept cars, and it goes beyond the car's low-slung, futuristic, and racing-inspired shape.

Designed to recreate the shapely vintage sheet metal of Maserati's Birdcage post-war racing cars (specifically the Birdcage Tipo 60/Tipo 61), the Birdcage 75th's most defining feature is its jet-fighter-style canopy design. According to Pininfarina, the "transparent upper part" offers a panoramic view while enabling onlookers to admire the engineering underneath. The Birdcage stands only a meter high, yet squats with aggression courtesy of its bulbous wheel arches.

Best of all, the Birdcage 75th is not merely for show. It inherited most of what made the MC12 a desirable collector car and racing toy, like a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, a mid-mounted 700-horsepower 6.0-liter V12 engine, and a six-speed manual transaxle gearbox. Motor Trend took it for a test drive (lucky bastards) in 2006, and they can't help but marvel at the concept's state-of-the-art interior.

From design to reality in 60 days

It only took two months for Maserati, Pininfarina, and Motorola to bring the Birdcage 75th from 3D renderings to a drivable concept, and it included the concept's hi-tech interior. Motorola gave it a pair of heads-up displays and a display on the tiller. 

Meanwhile, Maserati installed an array of cameras around the car, enabling the occupants to share their moments using a mobile phone. It all sounds familiar, right? Goodwood said it best when it claimed the Birdcage 75th "would have been the dream car for the Instagram generation."

What's crazier is there were rumors that Maserati and Pininfarina built "a few" Birdcage 75ths for its most loyal and deep-pocketed clients. Motor Trend adds that if the rumors were true, each car would cost about $3,000,000 in 2005, which is around $4.7 million in today's money. In return, lucky buyers would get a car that looks like no other Maserati on the road, making it worth every penny.