Indulge in Maserati’s Passion – Discover Maserati History
1900 – 1910 – The beginning
The Maserati brothers have always been related to the engineering, design, and manufacture of automobiles, except Mario, artistic painter and author, among others, of the brand’s emblem. Carlo is the one who opens the path: he devises a single cylinder for a bicycle, with which he competes in 1900 and sets a speed record (50 km / h).
He works at Fiat and then at Isotta Fraschini as a mechanic and tester, where he employs his brother Alfieri. He died at the age of 29, although he had established a workshop to manufacture high-voltage transformers for automobiles by then, together with his brother Ettore. Ettore and another brother, Bindo, had also worked at Isotta.
1911 – 1920 – Maserati was born
In 1914, the vast experience accumulated by Alfieri led him to create in Via de Pepoli, in the old part of Bologna, the Società Anonima Officine Alfieri Maserati, destined to exploit his talent and creativity.
After the war, they moved to the city’s outskirts and maintained an activity mainly based on the development of Isotta models, although they also work with other brands.
1921 – 1930 – First-time triumph
Alfieri successfully competes in different races, although in 1924, he was penalized for exchanging the two-litre engine of his Diatto for a three-litre one. Although the sanction is resolved shortly after, Alfieri decides to dedicate himself entirely to producing his cars. Thus, in 1926 he presented the Type 26, the first Maserati in history. The car, a full-fledged sports car, is so competitive that, driven by its creator, it achieves glory in the Targa Florio.
A year later, Alfieri suffered a severe accident aboard a Type 26B: he still did not lose heart and won the Italian Constructors’ Championship. Two years later, it launched the V4 with a 16-cylinder engine, which beats the C-Class speed record: for more than 10 kilometres, it maintains a speed of 246.069 km / h.
This brand provides Maserati with international recognition that boosts its sales and the arrival of new funds. This development gave rise, in 1931, to the appearance of the 4CRT and the front-wheel-drive 8C 2500.
1931 – 1940 – A living legacy
When Alfieri died in 1932, the entire city of Bologna turned to the funeral of a man whom it considered outstanding. His lack makes Bindo, Ettore, and Ernesto take over the business and abandon their respective jobs. The firm has the services of Tazio Nuvolari in 1933, which represents a notable technical boost. Despite this, the strength of Mercedes and Auto Union in the world of competition makes things difficult for the Italian manufacturer, which, although it does not give up the fight, focuses on national and regional competitions.
In 1936, Gino Rovere invested a substantial sum in the company, placing his protégé Nino Farina president. By then, the competitive 6CM appears. The Maseratis sold their stake to the Orsi family from Modena a year later, although they remained in the Engineering department until 1948. The new shareholders decided to relocate the brand to Viale Ciro Menotti in that city.
At that time, Ernesto had already designed the 4CL and 8CL engines, which would power the vehicles launched at the end of this decade. Once again, the company successfully returned to international competition: in 1939, it achieved victory in the Indianapolis 500, with Wilbur Shaw at the wheel of an 8CTF.
1941 – 1950 – Back to the origins
During the Second World War, Maserati was dedicated to producing tools and components for military machinery. The first model to appear after the contest is a new GT, the A6 1500.
The firm also recovers its sporting activity with the imposing A6G CS. At his command, Alberto Ascari will successfully fight at the Modena circuit against the Alfettas, Ferrari, and Talbot of the time.
1951 – 1960 – Much rivalry
Despite the successes, the extreme toughness of the competition – especially Alfa Romeo and Ferrari – does not make things easy for the Italian manufacturer. For this reason, Maserati appointed Gioacchino Colombo as chief engineer in 1953 and modified the A6GCM. The brand’s resurgence is completed with the arrival of pilots of the calibre of Juan Manuel Fangio, González, Marimon, Bonetto, and Graffenried.
Precisely, Fangio wins the championship against the Ferraris of Ascari and Farina in a very tough race that is not decided until the last corner. Colombo is also the ideologue of the 250F, one of Alfieri’s later projects, which debuted successfully in 1954. The following two seasons are also glorious for the Italian firm, achieving its fifth world title in the competition with the 250F.
The company announced on those dates its withdrawal from the world of competition. Something that was not finally carried out due to the launch of models for private pilots such as The Birdcage and different types of engines for Formula 1. It also established various partnerships, such as Cooper, which was used for the joint development of a 12-cylinder three-valve triple-ignition engine in 1965.
Previously, in 1958, the 3500 GT was launched, a turning point in the commercial trajectory of Maserati: its remarkable success motivates the expansion of the facilities and leaves the sports field in the background.
1961 – 1970 – The era of the Quattroporte
In 1962 the Sebring was launched. A year later, the Quattroporte sedan arrives, equipped with a 4.1 V8 engine at 90º. A significant event in the history of Maserati takes place in this decade, its sale to Citroën in 1968. However, Adolfo Orsi maintains the honorary title of president.
1971 – 1980 – In the spotlight
The decade of the 70 begins with the presentation of the Bora; The first large-production mid-engined Maserati was born from the pencils of Giorgio Giugiaro. Meanwhile, the Italian brand continues to supply competition engines. The Khamsin and Merak launch expanded production activity, although the crisis of ’73 caused a critical situation due to the increase in the price of oil.
When Maserati launched the Quattroporte II prototype, bodied by Bertone, and the Marka SS, Citroën had already signed an agreement with Peugeot, which had no interest in the transalpine firm and declared it bankrupt. The mobilization of the provincial industrial association promotes the intervention of the Italian Government, which the GEPI state agency sponsors.
In 1975, most of the capital was transferred to Benelli and Argentine Alejandro De Tomaso, a former Maserati pilot appointed director. The following year, and amid many difficulties, the Kyalami was launched. At the same time, the Quattroporte III, designed by Giugiaro, is presented.
1981 – 1990 – The Biturbo era
In 1980 the Biturbo appeared, a vehicle with a relatively low price, from which up to 30 versions are derived – including the legendary Ghibli and Shamal – on sedan, convertible or Spyder and Coupé bodies.
1991 – Act – And now on Fiat
The acquisition of Maserati by the Fiat Group represents a definite turning point. From that time comes the Quattroporte, the work of Marcello Gandini. In 1997, Fiat sold the brand to Ferrari.
Temporarily, the factory closes to be completely remodelled for the construction of a new model. The 3200 GT is finally presented in Paris (1998). That same year the Quattroporte Evoluzione was added. The annual production of Maserati already exceeds 2,000 units as a whole.
In 2002 Maserati returned to the United States, which quickly became one of its largest markets worldwide. In addition, the trident brand returned to competition in December 2003, with the Maserati MC12 (formerly known as the MCC), which is developed according to FIA GT regulations and competes with great success winning the team championship three times.
Consecutive between 2005 and 2007. The MC12 has also competed in the national GT championship and the American Le Man’s series. The MC12 is based on the Ferrari Enzo, and 50 homologated models for off-track use (roadsters and coupes) have been produced.
In 2005 Maserati spun off from Ferrari and merged with Alfa Romeo under Fiat Auto.