between glory… and abysmal loss


Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Merak received the 3-liter V6 designed for the SM. 630 examples were built between 1972 and 1975. Photo DR

1eh December 1914, in Bologna, three brothers from a family of seven children founded the “Società Anonima Officine Alfieri Maserati”: Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto. A family very involved in the car since the eldest of the Maseratis, Carlo, had become a test driver at Fiat and Isotta Fraschini after building bicycles and motorcycles; he will kill himself while running in 1910. The company, founded in 1914, is a garage, but it will be necessary to wait until the end of the First World War before serious things begin.

First car in 1926

As early as 1922, Alfieri and Ettore produced a racing car for the Diatto brand; The Tipo 20, fast and reliable, was not successful in the Grand Prix, but won the 24 Hours of Monza in 1924. The two brothers wanted to build their own car and in 1926 produced what could be called the first Maserati: the Tipo 26.

It has a trident (designed by Mario Maserati). The Tipo 26, a rival to the Bugatti, won the Targa Florio the same year. On 28 September 1929 in Cremona, a Maserati set a speed record of 246.069 km/h over 10 km; a record that will stand for 8 years.

The brand's first logo, it was designed by Mario Maserati, one of the brothers who was not involved in the siblings' automotive activities.  Photo DR

The brand’s first logo, it was designed by Mario Maserati, one of the brothers who was not involved in the siblings’ automotive activities. Photo DR

A logo for 108 years

Mario Maserati, the artist of the siblings will draw the logo which will continue on all the cars. He will be inspired by the statue of Neptune, which is in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna. The sea god’s trident becomes the brand’s emblem.

When the logo is colored, the colors blue and red, also symbols of the city, will be used; red for the trident…

These elements will change little; for a few years, the Maserati emblem has returned to black, but only the typography of the name has changed, and the trident is highly stylized.

The thirties, glory and sorrow

The 1930s began with the death of Alfieri in 1932; however, innovation is always a priority. Maserati 8 cm from 1932 the first sports car is equipped with hydraulic brake controls.

Despite the sporting successes, Maserati was bought by the Orsi family in 1937. This did not stop the competition, as the Maserati 8CTF called the “Boyle Special” won the Indianapolis 500 in 1939 and 1940. From Bologna, Maserati moved to Modena.

The first real Maserati.  Tipo 26, built in 1926, wins the Targa Florio the same year Photo DR

The first real Maserati. Tipo 26, built in 1926, wins the Targa Florio the same year Photo DR

The post-war period, the prosperous period

In 1947, Maserati launched its first road car, the A6 1500. It was a great success. Maserati also shines in Formula 1; in 1957, the marque won the championship for the second time with Juan-Manuel Fangio’s victories on the 250 F. In the same year, the trident presented the 3500 GT at the Geneva Motor Show; first grand touring car, it was also the first to go into series production.

In 1960, the engineer Alfieri created the Birdcage, a racing car in the shape of a hill with a multi-tubular chassis; a revolution that will save the tipo 60, 61, 63 and 64 several times.

Unique cars

In the early sixties, Maserati produced its Quattroporte, a sporty luxury sedan, then a series of GTs whose names are references to the wind: Ghibli, then after the takeover of Citroën in 1968, Bora, Merak, Khamsin… From the collaboration with Citroën will be born as a fragile V6, which will be under the hood of the SM.

The adventure with the rafters will last until 1975, when Citroën abandons the ship, which fortunately will not sink thanks to the control of the Italian state and then the takeover of the company by Alejandro De Tomaso, owner of the eponymous cars. He successfully launched Biturbo, then Ghibli 2 and Shamal.

The Levante appeared in 2016 and is Maserati's first SUV;  it receives a 350 or 430 hp V6 and a 590 hp V8 in the Trofeo version.  The retail price is between €93,000 and €170,000.  Maserati pictures

The Levante appeared in 2016 and is Maserati’s first SUV; it receives a 350 or 430 hp V6 and a 590 hp V8 in the Trofeo version. The retail price is between €93,000 and €170,000. Maserati pictures

Owners follow each other at Maserati

In 1983, De Tomaso met Lee Iaccoca, the president of Chrysler, who invested 35 million dollars to present a series of cars with a luxurious finish equipped with American engines manufactured by Maserati. The success will not be there, and in 1987 Chrysler and De Tomaso throw in the towel. And it is Fiat that invests in Maserati.

In 1997, Fiat decided to merge Ferrari and Maserati, the two former rivals; Maserati became something of a sub-brand of Ferrari… But in 1998 the 3200 GT came with the engine… Ferrari arrived where the Spyder would originate, marking Maserati’s return to the US.

From Fiat FCA to Stellantis

Competition is always in Maserati’s favour; in 2003 the MC12 appeared, which would win six titles in the FIA ​​GT Championship and scour the tracks between 2005 and 2010. In 2006, Fiat Chrysler cars married Alfa Romeo and Maserati in a new sports bar to let Ferrari shine alone.

In 2007, Geneva was the scene of the world premiere of the new GranTurismo designed by Pininfarina. (in 2003 the coachbuilder signed the dress for the 5e generation of the Quattroporte, a first in 50 years).

7,496 cars were produced that year. In 2016, the Levante was the brand’s first SUV. After the Fiat/PSA merger that gave Stellantis, Maserati’s projects are moving towards electrification through a program called Folgore (lightning)!

At the start of 2023, the new Gran Turismo coupés and cabriolets will become the first cars from the company hit with the Neptune trident to be 100% electric.

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