Even though the company was not in financial difficulty, the Maserati brothers sold their shares of the company to the Orsi family from Modena in 1937. The headquarters were moved from Bologna to Modena. When they sold the company, the brothers had agreed to stay with Maserati for another ten years performing duties as chief engineers. In 1948, after their ten year agreement was satisfied, they left the company and formed OSCA.
With the chief engineers gone, the company was positioned for failure, but the company did have a strong history and more importantly, they had a newly developed straight six engine, courtesy of the Maserati brothers. The engine produced by Maserati brothers was nothing spectacular; the 1.5-liter power-plant produced 65 horsepower. It was, however, a good starting point and would prove to be very tunable in the years to come. The primary intention for the engine was competition, but Orsi understood that money needed to be made, so that it could be spent. So Orsi commissioned a sports road car that could be produced for exclusive clientele.
In 1947 Maserti introduced the Maserati A6
with custom coachwork by Pinin Farina. Under the hood was the 1.5-liter single overhead camshaft engine matted to a four-speed gearbox. The steel tubular frame was suspended by a live rear axle and a front wishbone suspension. Even though Pinin Farina is noted for their elegant styling, their design of the A6 was not well received. Coupled with the poor performance, the vehicle was not well received.
Modifications were performed on the engine resulting in an increase to 2 liters and 100 horsepower. Three updated versions of the A6 were displayed at the 1951 Paris Motorshow. The Berlina body styles were created by Pinin Farina and were the standard style; the Spider variants were created by Frua; and the Coupe was courtesy of Vignale. With all the mechanical improvements and bodystyle options available, the two-liter A6 was poised for success. With only 16 examples created, the A6 proved it needed more work.
The famous Gioacchino Colombo, known for his work with Ferrari, joined Maserati in 1953. His first task was to modify the A6GCM to include a DOHC valve train, dual-spark ignition, and more. Horsepower rose to nearly 200. The success of Maserati in racing was heightened with the new engine and new drivers such as Fangio, Gonzalez, Marimon, Bonetto and de Graffenried. Fangio had won the 1953 Italian Grand prix driving a Ferrari.
The third iteration of the A6 occurred in 1954, dubbed the A6G/54
. This was the same year for the introduction of the Maserati 250F, which, in the hands of the capable Fangio won the Argentine Grand Prix on its debut. The A6G/54 was outfitted with a competitive engine and wonderful styling from Frua and Zagato. Production lasted until 1954 with multiple types of body styles being created. One of the most memorable bodystyles were the 19 lightweight Zagato bodies which could often be seen at race tracks. All of the Zagato hand-formed body styles were unique, even the interior.
The Maseati A6GCS
was produced from 1953 through 1955 with a total of 52 examples being constructed. Four where Berlinetta bodies by Pininfarina while 48 were in Spyder configuration and bodied by Fantuzi. The A6GCS were very important to Maserati and scored many victories for the marque. In 1953 the A6GCs won its class at the Mille Miglia in its inaugural debut.
The Maserati A6G/2000
was produced from 1954 through 1957 with around 60 examples being created, many receiving custom bodywork from prestigious coachbuilders such as Zagato, Pinin Farina, Vignale, and others. Serafino Allemano constructed twenty-one examples of the A6G/2000. All of these cars were equipped with the DOHC engines. The A6G/2000 is some times referred to as the A6G/54. These second series cars used many mechanical components from its predecessor, such as its twin parallel tube design. The engine, however, had been modified which resulted in an increase in horsepower.
The A6G/54 was replaced by the 3500 GT. The A6 endured many growing pains but by the final iteration, the A6 variants were respectable and stylish machines. With the mechanical prowess of Colombo and the driving talent of Fangio and others, Maserati could continue to provide competition on the race track. While back at home, the A6 provided the bread-and-butter to continue racing and further development.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007