The seven Maserati brothers;Alfieri Maserati, Bindo Maserati, Carlo Maserati, Ettore Maserati, Ernesto Maserati and Mario Maserati were born in Voghera to Rodolfo Maserati, a train driver, and his wife Carolina Losi.The oldest, Carlo, was born in 1881. The youngest was born in 1898. All of the brothers loved cars, engineering and design, except Mario, who was born in 1890. He became a painter and its probable that the created the Maserati logo, the Trident.
Carlo worked with the engines in Affori,close to Milan.There he design engines for racing bicycles.In 1900 he set a speed record ,riding 31 miles per hour.
In 1901,Carlo went to Fiat.In 1903 he left Fiat to work as a mechanic and test driver for Isotta Fraschini.
He talked the Company into hiring his sixteen-year-old brother, Alfeiri.
Carlo died at the age 29,but his career was brilliant,he raced for Bianchi,and then he open a workshop with Ettore,his brother.
They build electric transformers for cars.After Carlo’s death, brother Alfieri, who had a similar personality and skills, took Carlo’s place as driver and technician. In 1908, he placed 14th in Dieppe at the Grand Prix for cars, even though the car that Isotto loaned him had a carburetor breakdown.
Brothers Binde and Ettore were by this time working at Isotta Fraschini.By 1912 Alfieri was promoted to the customer service sector in Bologna. The experience he gained there encouraged him to start his own business. He wanted to use his knowledge, creativity, talent and skill to their fullest potential.
Officine Alfieri Maserati was founded on 1 December 1914 in Bologna,after Alfieri rented a space in the historical distric at Via de Pepoli.It became the first headquarters of Maserati.The founders were four brothers: Alfieri, Ettore, Ernesto and later Bindo Maserati.Since then, Maserati has played a consistently important role in the history of sports car culture and its development.
The main business was tuning cars for Isotta Fraschini,but they did worl on other automobiles to.
Alfieri got into racing and proved his worth by winning the Mugello Circuit, the Susa-Moncenisio and the Aosta-Great Saint Bernard.
The first car they were wholly responsible for was the Tipo 26, built in 1926. The engine was an 8-cylinder in line with a 1.5 litre supercharged displacement that developed 120 bhp at 5300 rpm. Above the radiator a then unknown badge presented a trident that evoked Bologna’s famous statue of Neptune.It was the first to sport the trident trademark.
The Tipo 26 made its debut with Alfieri Maserati at the wheel and Guerino Bertocchi as mechanic in the Targa Florio on April 25 1926. The car won its class in its debut race, the Targa Florio.
In 1927, Alfieri took 3rd place with the Maserati at the Targa Florio. He then entered the Tipo 26B in the Messina Cup, where he was in a serious accident.But even so, Maserati still won the Italian Constructors’ Championship.
In 1929, the V4, which had a 16-cylinder engine,(made by coupling together two Tipo 26 engine blocks) made its debut at the Italian Grand Prix,.He sett the world Class C speed record over 10 km at 246.069 km/h in Cremona, with Baconin Borzacchini.The record was not beaten until eight years later, by Auto Union.
This record enhanced the Maserati image. This provided an influx of finances that permitted Maserati to expand.
The 1930 ’s
Baconin Borzacchinni took the wheel of the Maserati V4 again in 1930. He won the first full victory for the Company at the Grand Prix in Tripoli.
The powerful V4 was joined by the 26M, considered by many Alfieri’s masterpiece.
The 8C 2500 with front-wheel drive and the 4CTR were the last cars to be designed by Alfieri Maserati. He died on March 3, 1932. His funeral was held in Bologna and was attended by a huge crowd ,including racing drivers and the employees of the Maserati plant.Everyone wanted to pay thei final respects to a grear man.
Alfieri’s death did not discourage the Maserati brothers; Bindo left Isotta Fraschini and returned to Bologna to continue the great venture began by Alfieri, with Ernesto and Ettore. Maserati’s racing activities continued to be intense and successful; an 8-cylinder, 3-liter engine also appeared.
That was the era of the great Maserati drivers: Arcangeli, Varzi and Fagioli who won at Monza in an 8C 2800.
In 1933 Tazio Nuvolari joined the team, making a significant technical contribution, particularly in the fine-tuning of the chassis, adapting it to the characteristics of the new engine.He won the Grand Prix at Belgium, Nice and the Coppa Ciano at Montenero.
That was when Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union came forcefully upon the racing scene, making life difficult for Maserati in the more important races.
The Company continued to win lesser races and the Maserati Brothers focused on this area. In 1936, Gino Rovere invested heavily in Maserati. He appointed Nino Farina as Chairman.The 6 CM debuted and Maserati gained a competitive edge in the voiturette class.
The Maserati Brothers sold all interest in the Company to the Orsi family in 1937. The Company was then relocated to Modena. This would later become the headquarters for Viale Ci.
The brothers continued to work as chief engineers at Modena until 1948. Despite the strong competition from Mercedes-Benz, Maserati once again dominated at the track.
Ernesto had already designed the 4CL and 8CL engines, which powered the cars of the same name in the late 1930s.
In 1939, the GP formula was changed to 4500 cc for aspirated, 3000 cc for supercharged engines. Maserati went for the second option and created the 8CTF, an 8-cylinder that developed 350 bhp at 6300 rpm. That was also the year of a sensational triumph for the firm. An 8CTF sold in the USA and driven by Wilbur Shaw won the Indianapolis 500, on May 30.The win was repeated in 1940.
Still in 1939, Maserati was taken over by the Orsi family and moved to its present home on Viale Ciro Menotti. The new head of its engineering division was Alberto Massimino.
The 1950 ’s
During the Second World War, Maserati adapted its production accordingly, turning out machine tools, electrical components, spark plugs and electric vehicles, but returned to its original activities after the war, with a new GT car, the A6 1500.
The A6 Sport designed for owner-drivers came out in this early post-war period. In the same year it was developed into a tourer coupé with a 1.5 litre 6-cylinder 64 bhp engine and a body by Pinin Farina. That was Maserati’s first ever road car.
In 1953 Maserati went back into motor racing and hired the engineer Gioacchino Colombo, who produced a thoroughly updated, more powerful version of the A6 GCM. This racing car was then flanked by the A6 GCS sports car version.
The A6 GCS, with Alberto Ascari at the wheel, was highly successful on the Modena racing circuit. At the time, Maserati’s greatest competitors were Ferrari, Alfetta and Talbot.Fangio won that year’s Italian Grand Prix from Ascari and Farina in Ferraris.
In 1954, Maserati launched a sports car that was not necessarily a racing model. That was the A6 G54 (6 cylinders in line, 1985 cc, 150 bhp), available in spider and coupé formats with bodywork by Allemano, Frua and Zagato.
Colombo also laid the foundation for the Maserati 250F, which was later developed by Alfieri.
In 1957, Stirling Moss left Maserati after he had racked up numerous victories in the 250 F but had failed to win the F1 world championship. His place was taken by Fangio who made a triumphant debut in the Argentine Grand Prix where Maserati took all three places on the podium. (1st Fangio, 2nd Behra, 3rd Menditeguy).
By the end of the season Fangio had won the world title in a Maserati 250 F. At the same time, Maserati was also excelling itself in the World Sports car Championship with the legendary 450S, a genuine powerhouse driven by a weighty 4.5 litre V8 engine that developed 400 bhp.
In 1957, Maserati announced it would be retiring from the racing circuit.It was never a complete retirement because Maserati continued to build racing cars like the Birdcage and other prototypes for private teams, and to supply engines for the Formula 1 cars of other constructors, like Cooper, for which it developed a 12-cylinder, 3-valve engine with triple ignition in 1965.
Production of the 3500 GT, which was launched in 1958, began at an important moment – the start of a new era for Maserati – and the plant had to be expanded. Series production cars and sales became the main goals and racing activities became marginal.Maserati began with the assumption that a performance car did not have to be spartan, noisy and terribly difficult to drive. That was the birth of a new concept, the Grand Tourer that was to achieve worldwide renown.
The 3500 GT has two versions,a 5000Gt Touring coupe(1957-1964) and its spider version by Vignale.
It was followed by the 5000 GT (1959-64), the Sebring - presented in 1962, the Quattroporte (1963-69 the first Maserati 4-door saloon with a 90° V8 engine and a displacement of 4,136 cc. ), the Mistral (1963-70) with coupé and spider bodywork by Frua, the Mexico (1966-72) also by Vignale, the Ghibli (1966-73) in coupé and spider versions by Ghia, the Indy (1969-76) with Vignale’s 4-seater coupe body.
The 1970 ’s
In 1968, the Orsi family sold Maserati to Citroën which was primarily interested in acquiring its engine know-how. Indeed a 6-cylinder Maserati engine was used on the Citroën SM coupé.The Bora, the first mass-produced, mid-engined Maserati, designed by Giugiaro, was presented at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. Maserati also built the occasional racing-car engine.
With the launch of the Merak and Khamsin, Maserati’s production continued apace.
Citroën also introduced a new version of the Quattroporte with SM mechanicals and front wheel drive! Very few were ever produced and the model was never homologated.
1973 saw the debut of the Khamsin, a sharply cut streamlined coupé with a Bertone body. In the same year, though, Maserati sales were badly hit by the oil crisis and Citroën pulled out.Although Maserati still had the vitality to introduce both the Quattroporte II prototype, bodied by Bertone, and the Merak SS.
The crisis worsened and Citroen announced on May 23rd that Maserati was in liquidation.The government intervened and Maserati was under control of the GEPI, which was an agency that assisted companies in dire financial straits in order to sustain jobs.
On August 8, 1975, Benelli purchased a majority of Maserati’s shares. A former racing driver by the name of De Tomaso became Managing Director. Under his leadership, the Company began to climb back onto firm ground, though its growth was greatly decreased. By 1976, Tomaso had released the Kyalami. Shortly after the Turin Motor Show, the Quattroporte III was introduced,with a saloon body by Giugiaro and a 300 bhp 8-cylinder power unit. By the end of the year, output had picked up significantly.
The 1980s saw the production of a new type of car, with a relatively low purchase price but high performance: the Biturbo, of which over 30 different versions appeared, in coupé, 4-door saloon and spider forms.
The 1990 ’s.A New Era
In 1981-93 Maserati produced numerous 6- and 8-cylinder twin turbo models with 2.0, 2.5, 2.8 and 3.2 litre engines: from the Bi-Turbo.
In 1993, Fiat Auto purchased 100% of Maserati’s shares. A year later the first novelty under the patronage of the Turin company appeared in the form of the Quattroporte designed by Marcello Gandini, a car that retained the great refinement, luxury and sportiness for which the marque was known.
In 1994 Maserati presented both the up-dated version of the Ghibli (MY94) and the special version called KS (Sports Kit).
In 1995 the new version of the Ghibli unofficially called GT was released. In 1996 the V8 version of the Quattroporte, the Quattroporte V8 3,2 went on sale in mid-year.
On July 1, 1997, Fiat sold Maserati to Ferrari, and a new era began for the company. That year the historical plant in Viale Ciro Menotti in Modena was closed while an ultra-modern assembly line was installed to produce a new car, the 3200 GT.The car was introduced to the public at the Paris Motor Show in 1998. Maserati was soon producing over 2,000 cars annually.A thoroughbred, front-engine GT that was worthy of the best Maserati tradition. It was joined that same year by the Quattroporte Evoluzione.
The complete reorganization of the marketing network and the expansion of the plant, where new management offices were built, gave further momentum to the process of renewal in 2000.
In 1999 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Spyder debuted. Maserati announced at that time that they would be returning to the North American market. In 2002, the Coupe made its appearance at the Detroit Motor Show. Maserati produced high class and sophisticated cars upon its return to the North American market.
Besides returning to the most important markets with high-class and sophisticated models such as the Quattroporte and GranSport, Maserati also made a successful comeback to the world of racing thanks to the MC12 (in the FIA GT and ALMS championships), the Trofeo (in the single-make race for gentlemen drivers in Europe and Brazil) and the Trofeo Light (in the Italian GT and the Grand-Am).
The Company was transferred from Ferrari to Fiat in 2005,which allowed the two marques to achieve important industrial and commercial synergies.
Maserati is one of the automotive industry’s marques of excellence – an example of prestige, elegance and luxury. The Company and the cars it produces embody a distinct Italian style. It has a tradition of success on the racing circuit and gives off the aura of superior craftsmanship, sophistication and world-class technology.
Today, Maserati remains one of the most important companies in the Emilia Region’s effervescent industrial fabric. The Maserati factory on Viale Ciro Menotti occupies a 43,500 sq.m. site and employs 300 people.
Emotion and sophistication underpin the values on which the Maserati legend was built.