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Maserati History

Source: Maserati

Introduction to the company

Pride in a long and glorious tradition, innovation in the management of human resources and the working environment, and full support in customer relations and dealings with industrial partners: these are the underlying values that define the Maserati culture.

Company History

Officine Alfieri Maserati was founded on December 1, 1914 in Bologna, Italy. Since then, Maserati has played a consistently important role in the history of sports car culture and its development.

Nearly a century of activity has brought with it moments of glory on the road and the track as well as more difficult times, which have helped forge the company's character and personality.

This section brings you all of the most important moments in the story of the Maserati marque. These include the 246.029 km/h world speed record set by Borzacchini in 1929, the World Championship won by Fangio with the 250F in 1957, and the more recent launch of the new 390-bhp Coupé Cambiocorsa in Detroit in January 2002, which marked Maserati's return to the US market.

However, Maserati's history involves more than its glorious sporting achievements and the launch of great road cars; the company has also developed industrially over the years.

Its relocation from Bologna to the current site in Viale Ciro Menotti, Modena in 1940 and its acquisition by Ferrari, completed in 1997, are but two examples of the many major events which have hailed important developments in Maserati's expansion strategies and the launch of its new cars.

In early 2005, ownership of Maserati was transferred from Ferrari to Fiat, which allowed the two marques to achieve important industrial and commercial synergies.

Maserati is a marque the began life in a local context but then went on to become a major international concern, with representatives in 43 countries. In this section, you can relive this enthralling history and get to know the people, achievements, and cars which have made the marque famous.

The Maserati Brothers

The seven Maserati brothers were born in Voghera to Rodolfo Maserati, a train driver, and his wife Carolina Losi.

Carlo, the eldest, was born in 1881, followed by Bindo in 1883 and Alfieri in 1885. Alfieri died a few months later and his name was given to the next son, born in 1887. Mario was born in 1890, Ettore in 1894 and Ernesto in 1898.

All the Maseratis were involved in the engineering, design and construction of cars, except for Mario, who was a painter and is presumed to have invented the company trademark, the trident, borrowed from the statue of Neptune in the square of the same name in Bologna. The first to work with engines was Carlo, who worked in a bicycle factory in Affori, near Milan. He designed a single-cylinder engine for a velocipede that was later manufactured by Marchese Carcano di Anzano del Parco in his motorcycle plant.

Carlo Maserati also raced on Carcano bicycles equipped with the engine he had designed, winning a few races and setting a speed record of 50 km/h (31 mph) in 1900. Carlo moved to Fiat in 1901 when Carcano closed down and then, in 1903, to Isotta Fraschini, where he worked as a mechanic and test-driver; he also managed to have – his brother Alfieri taken on at Isotta, although he was only 16.

Carlo had a brilliant but short career, dying when he was just 29, by which time he had worked and raced for Bianchi, become General Manager of Junior, and started up his own workshop with his brother Ettore to manufacture electrical transformers from low to high voltage for cars. Alfieri soon emerged as Carlo's spiritual heir, with the same extrovert personality and skills as a technician and driver. In 1908 Isotta entrusted a car to him that he took to 14th place in the Grand Prix for Voiturettes in Dieppe, in spite of the carburetor breaking.

In the meantime, Bindo and Ettore had also started to work for Isotta Fraschini, where Alfieri had started out as a mechanic and progressed to driver. In 1912, after having represented the company in Argentina, the USA and Great Britain with his brother Ettore, Alfieri was put in charge of Isotta's customer service structure in Bologna. The varied experience he had built up in the preceding years convinced Alfieri that he was ready to explore the possibility of becoming an independent businessman to exploit his talents and creativity in full.

In 1914 he rented office space in Via dé Pepoli, in the historical center of Bologna, which became the first headquarters of the Società Anonima Officine Alfieri Maserati.

The first Maserati, from 1914 to 1937

After the war, the company moved from Via dé Pepoli to new offices in the suburbs of Bologna.

The Maserati brothers' main activity was still tuning Isotta Fraschini cars, but they also worked on other makes. Alfieri began his career as a racing driver and soon proved his worth, winning the Susa-Moncenisio, the Mugello Circuit and the Aosta-Great Saint Bernard.

Diatto offered him a chance to design cars for the company and even to race with them. Unfortunately, in 1924, after having dominated the GP of San Sebastiano he was disqualified for five years, even though he had retired, for having replaced the 2-liter engine on his car with a 3-liter unit. The penalty was lifted a few months later.

Away from the racing world, Alfieri dedicated himself entirely to the workshop and in 1926, after leaving Diatto, he produced the Tipo 26, the first car that was all Maserati, and the first to sport the trident trademark.

The Tipo 26 won – its class in its debut race, the Targa Florio, driven by Alfieri Maserati himself.

In 1927 Alfieri had a serious accident in the Messina Cup with the Tipo 26B, after taking third place at the Targa Florio; but even with him sidelined, Maserati still won the Italian Constructors' Championship. In 1929 the V4 appeared, with a 16-cylinder engine, making its debut at the Italian Grand Prix and setting the world Class C speed record over 10 km at 246.069 km/h in Cremona, with Baconin Borzacchini.

The record set by the V4 helped to enhance the company's image and guaranteed a considerable influx of funds, allowing the company and its activities to expand. In 1930 the V4 driven by Borzacchini won Maserati's first outright victory in a Grand Prix, in Tripoli.

In 1931 came the 4CTR and the front-wheel-drive 8C 2500, the last car to be conceived by Alfieri Maserati, who died on March 3, 1932.

An enormous crowd attended his funeral in Bologna, including workers from the plant, famous drivers and ordinary people, who wanted to show their affection for a great 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.

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. Nuvolari won the Belgian Grand Prix, and those of Montenero and Nice. That was when Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union came forcefully upon the racing scene, making life difficult for Maserati in the more important races.

In spite of this, the company continued to notch up victories in lesser national races, and this led the brothers to direct output toward this area.

In 1936 they found a patron in Gino Rovere, who invested a great deal in the company and appointed Nino Farina, his 'protégé,' Chairman. The 6CM appeared, which gave Maserati the competitive edge in the voiturette class.

The golden years, from 1937 to 1967

In 1937 the Maserati brothers sold their shares in the company to the Orsi family from Modena, even though they were not in financial difficulties, and the company moved from Bologna to Modena, to what was to become the historical headquarters of Viale Ci

Ernesto had already designed the 4CL and 8CL engines, which powered the cars of the same name in the late 1930s. The Maserati brothers stayed on in Modena as chief engineers until 1948. The company dominated the racing scene again, despite strong competition from Mercedes.

On May 30, 1939, it scored an important victory at the Indianapolis 500 with Wilbur Shaw in the 8CTF, an exploit that was repeated the following year. 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 A6GCS debuted successfully on the Modena circuit with Alberto Ascari; in those years its racing rivals were the Alfettas, Ferraris and Talbots.

After several wins, in the 1950s competition became sharper for Maserati, as Alfa Romeo and Ferrari were extremely competitive. In 1953 Gioacchino Colombo became Chief Engineer and modified the A6GCM. The team was also strengthened with the arrival of drivers of the caliber of Fangio, Gonzalez, Marimon, Bonetto and de Graffenried, and scored some important victories in the 1953 season; Fangio won that year's Italian Grand Prix from Ascari and Farina in Ferraris.

Colombo also laid the foundation for the Maserati 250F, which was later developed by Alfieri. 1954 saw the debut of the 250F, with which Fangio won the Argentine Grand Prix on its debut. In 1955 and 1956 Maserati won other important victories; in 1957 Fangio returned to Maserati and won the World title for the fifth time – the first time for Maserati – with the 250F.

Although the company announced its official retirement from racing that same year, 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. The Sebring was presented in 1962 and the Quattroporte in 1963, the first Maserati 4-door saloon with a 90° V8 engine and a displacement of 4,136 cc.

Good times and bad, from 1968 to 1997

Maserati output grew constantly, and models featured a constant stream of novelties.

But the great novelty came in 1968, when Citroën bought out the Orsi family's shares, although Adolfo Orsi remained Honorary Chairman of the company. 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 and that same year a Citroën SM with a Maserati engine won the Rally of Morocco.

With the launch of the Merak and Khamsin, Maserati's production continued apace. But in 1973 the Yom Kippur War sparked the first oil crisis, creating increasing difficulties for the company, although it still had the vitality to introduce both the Quattroporte II prototype, bodied by Bertone, and the Merak SS.

The situation worsened, and on May 23, Citroën announced that Maserati was in liquidation (the French car maker had signed an agreement with Peugeot and had lost interest in the Modena company). Pressure from the industrialists' association and the local and provincial councils succeeded in persuading the government to intervene, and Maserati avoided closure by passing under the control of GEPI (a government agency that financed companies in difficulty in order to sustain employment).

In an agreement signed on August 8, 1975, most of the company's share capital was acquired by the Benelli company, and the Argentine Alejandro De Tomaso, a former racing driver who had also raced for Maserati, became Managing Director. De Tomaso managed to get the company off the ground again, albeit with difficulty, and by 1976 he had launched a new model, the Kyalami, presenting the Quattroporte III, designed by Giugiaro, soon after at the Turin Motor Show.

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 turnaround for Maserati came in 1993, when the company's entire share capital was acquired by Fiat Auto. 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.

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.

This was presented to the public at the 1998 Paris Motor Show – a thoroughbred, front-engine GT that was worthy of the best Maserati tradition. It was joined that same year by the Quattroporte Evoluzione, and output soon exceeded 2,000 cars a year. 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.

The following year the new Spyder appeared, and was exhibited for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show, when Maserati also announced its intention to return to the North American market.

This decision was confirmed in January 2002, when the Coupé made its world premiere debut at the Detroit Motor Show. Like the Spyder, it introduced a number of important innovations, from the new 4.

2-liter 390-bhp(DIN) V8 engine, to the suspension, chassis and F1-type gearbox.

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).

In early 2005, ownership of Maserati was transferred from Ferrari to Fiat, which allowed the two marques to achieve important industrial and commercial synergies.

Maserati Values

Maserati is one of the automotive industry's marques of excellence – an example of prestige, elegance and luxury. Both the company and its cars embody a genuine sporting spirit and distinctly Italian style and exclusivity that reflects on every walk of li

Maserati's aura of exclusivity comes from a tradition of success on the world's racing tracks, and a marriage of sophistication, craftsmanship and avant-garde technology. This glorious past has fueled the Maserati legend, turning the Trident marque into a name whose fame is matched by exceptional sporting prowess. The culmination of this is an ambitious project that will see the return of a Maserati Racing Service in the Trofeo Maserati.

Emotion and sophistication underpin the values on which the Maserati legend was built.

The company's ongoing objectives of quality and innovation mean that its cars are true all-rounders, their sportiness and massive performance forming a winning combination with their refined and exclusive cockpits. This production philosophy is clearly embodied in the Officine Alfieri Maserati personalization program, which allows Maserati clients to make their own contribution to the finish of their car, courtesy of over three million possible combinations.

Maserati production is the result of a precise vision. The company's range of cars and services have grown over the years, thanks to the genuine passion that drives all of those who work for Maserati and who strive constantly to make full use of the company's core values to satisfy the marque's demanding and sophisticated clientele.

This commitment guarantees quality on all levels, and gives the Maserati staff a sense of pride in being able to contribute to the creation of a truly unique, prestigious product.

They share a common vision that has grown out of a sense of identity and a place in history. The story and history of cars bearing the Trident marque.

A vocation for innovation

The domination of the motor racing scene by Italian cars was momentarily overshadowed in the early 1960s by an idea from what the racing world learned to call 'British garage mechanics'.

They became known after a scornful outburst by Enzo Ferrari, annoyed at being outshone by cars that were much less powerful than his, but built differently.

The fact is that Maserati, Ferrari, Vanwall and even Mercedes in the years of its domination, which concluded tragically at Le Mans, all had the classic front-engined layout. The successes of Auto Union and Alfa Romeo, which before the war had shifted the engine behind the driver, after the war were not repeated following the failure of Cisitalia, the ambitious Italian constructor who had designed and built a mid-engined racing car that was 20 years ahead of its rivals.

But it never reached the race track because it was too advanced.

When the Australian driver John Cooper lined up on the grid of a Grand Prix with a curious little car powered by a small Climax engine derived from a unit designed to drive hydraulic pumps, very few people would have believed that he was ushering in the modern Formula 1 era. Soon all the manufacturers were moving the engine behind the driver, and performance was further boosted by the adoption of a monocoque chassis instead of the classic tubular frame.

At the very height of this revolutionary moment in motor racing history, Maserati pulled off one of the greatest-ever feats of design genius and invented a car that had a classic construction (front-engined with a tubular chassis) but was otherwise completely revolutionary. The new model was to be nicknamed the 'Birdcage' by the English.

By welding together an enormous number of small tubes, Maserati created a chassis that was as rigid as a monocoque and very light.

The 2,000- or 2,800-cc 4-cylinder engine was mounted at the front but at an angle, and positioned quite far back to improve weight distribution and the center of gravity. Stirling Moss won some fantastic races in this stupendous car, and he wasn't the only one. But Maserati had begun to innovate even before the war, with the aerodynamic bodywork for the Tripoli Grand Prix, the 16-cylinder racing engine, and even an attempt at front-wheel drive on a racing car. This engineering talent was then and continues to be a constant feature of Maserati's work, as the company's track and commercial successes attest. Who could forget, for instance, the triple-ignition Formula 1 engine that brought Maserati such success on the Coopers in the 1966 Mexico and 1967 South African Grands Prix, two years during which the team also came in third in the World Championship?

And while we are on the subject of world championships, we cannot forget how competitive the 250F was, with which Fangio won the 1957 World title.

The story continues today, as Maseratis now come with innovative features such as the Cambiocorsa paddle shift, transaxle transmission, and an engine on a par with the most sophisticated racing V8s.

Pride in our history

The following 50 years would see a succession of victories and records, with works and privateer Maseratis racing all over the world. And it is a sense of pride in the past that links Maserati to its cars, to the men who have raced them, and the customers who continue to drive them worldwide.

The Maserati story is one of excellence. Excellence in design, where innovative engineering approaches, such as the development of the 16-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive single-seaters, and hydraulic brakes, have often been ground-breakingly original. Excellence in the performance of the cars, which even led to successful forays into other sectors, such as speedboat racing, in which Maserati engines clocked numerous world speed records and titles. It was pride in this impressive history that kept spirits high even during the difficult days before the introduction of the Biturbo.

This affordable, turbo-charged 2-liter, capable of punching out almost 200 bhp even in the early 1980s, brought about a very welcome turnaround in the company's fortunes.

It is that same pride in Maserati's history that continues to spur the company's stuff to even greater things on an international level, including a triumphant return to the track. The same sense of pride, of course, that thousands of owners in 40 nations worldwide feel every time they place their hands on a steering wheel with the famous Trident badge at its center.

Customer Care

Customer care and the creation of an exclusive relationship with our owners is one of the main priorities at Maserati. Providing a stunning car that fulfils his or her every motoring need is what we keep in mind when making our choices.

Maserati's commitment to a Total Customer Experience translates in practical terms into the Maserati Customer Services and Officine Alfieri Maserati programs, which allow each individual owner to have a product perfectly tailored to suit his or her own concept of the driving experience.

Maserati Customer Services are always available to guide the customer through the experience of owning and driving a Maserati, courtesy of a whole range of exclusive services personalized to suit each individual customer and available in all of the main European markets as well as in the USA.

These include the Contact Center, which supplies information on the product over the telephone, the Sales Network, 24-hour Roadside Assistance, and Master GT driving tutorials for owners who want to hone their skills at the wheel of their sports car.

Furthermore, we understand that when one makes such an exclusive investment, it is perfectly normal to demand the kind of customization one really wants and needs. Courtesy of its Officine Alfieri Maserati program, Maserati allows the customer to order and have built exactly the car that he or she desires.

There are three main areas of personalization: the exterior color, the interior upholstery and equipment, and the so-called 'sports dynamics' line. Maserati customers thus have the chance to create a truly unique made-to-measure car, as we offer them a breathtaking three million-plus possible combinations.

A totally unique and exclusive experience, during which you can avail yourself of flexible, customizable services, made-to-measure especially for you, the customer: that's what we at Maserati call the Total Customer Experience.
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