History of Maserati
It was on December 1, 1914, in Bologna that the Maserati brothers founded Maserati. It began by working on their own car designs from the outbreak of the First World War. During the 1920s and ‘30s, the Maserati’s sold racing cars all over the world while also producing road cars that carried the same power achieved on the racing circuit. Carlo Maserati who had a passion for designing engines developed a special mineral that improved the engine’s power and reliability. By 1937, Maserati was competing against Mercedes and Auto Union. The three brothers understood the company needed a change in direction, so they welcomed Italian entrepreneur Adolfo Orsi, who bought the company and moved it to Modena. The Maserati brothers continued in engineering roles with the company.
1920–1940: Racing Era
In the year 1926, the first Maserati vehicle came out of the shop, the Tipo 26. Alfieri Maserati drove the car to its first victory in its class in the Targa Florio. Later came the Depression when the Maserati brothers sold the company to Orsi. During World War II, the factory produced spark plugs, machine tools and electric vehicles for the war effort then returned to building race cars with the A6 1500. In March 1939, the first product of the Maserati-Orsi era was unveiled, the 8CTF (8 Cylinder Fixed Head). Renaming it “The Boyle Special”, Maserati saw its first American victory.
The Trident: Mario Maserati’s Creation
Mario Maserati (who knew nothing about engines) designed the legendary logo. He chose to use one of the most iconic symbols of Bologna: the trident from the statue of Neptune in Piazza Maggiore, a symbol of strength and vigor. He also incorporated the red and blue from the banner of the city of Bologna.
1940–1960: Production Era
As World War II ended, Maserati also had a victory at the Grand Prix in Nice in 1946. Ettore, Bindo and Ernesto Maserati left the company and returned to Bologna where they opened a new company, O.S.C.A (Officine Specializzate Costruzione Automobili-Fratelli Maserati S.p.A), where they dedicated themselves to the design, development and construction of racing cars. In the early springtime of 1946, the first GranTurismo (destined for daily use not for racing) was unveiled at the Geneva Car Show. By the 1950s, Maserati picked up legendary Formula One driver Fangio who later one the Argentine Grand Prix with the 250F. These series of wins by Fangio led to financial challenges for Adolfo Orsi. Orsi eventually closed down the sports division and would dedicate his time to the automobile sector.
1960–1980: The Era of Big Changes
Thanks to the rise of the economy, Maserati launched its first luxury-sports car, the GTi, a fuel-injected version of the GT. The Shah of Persia was impressed by this innovation, but wanted something even more exclusive. So the famous engineer Giulio Alfieri accepted the challenge by putting the V8 engine of the 450 S into a GranTurismo. Today, the “Shah of Persia” is considered to be one of the most desirable cars of its era by collectors and car historians.
Throughout the 1960s, Maserati developed legendary innovations. It began when Alfieri developed a revolutionary chassis, designed to be lightweight but extremely rigid, delivering outstanding performance and fantastic handling. Called the Birdcage chassis, this structure made the new Maserati race cars extremely competitive. At the Turin Motor Show in 1963, Maserati stunned the auto world with the Quattroporte by placing a race engine into a luxury sedan. Many changes began in the 1970s when the Orsi family decided to take on a new partner, Citroën, a French car manufacturer. Maserati would design and manufacture engines for the Citroën SM and other models. Both companies incorporated each other’s innovations and technologies which led to higher productions and more advanced vehicles.
The future began for Maserati in 1993 when the company was acquired by the Fiat Group. The first achievement of Fiat management was the 3200 GT designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. This coupe would be upgraded with a more advanced engine that would transform it into a Spyder. In 2001, the Maserati Spyder made its grand debut in the United States. Over the years, Maserati re-entered into the high-performance car segment to compete with brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW. Maserati introduced the Ghibli which was slated to compete against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the sixth-series Quattroporte would compete against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In 2013, there were 15,400 units sold which was a 6,000 increase from the previous year.
It was in 2014 when Maserati marked an historic record of 13,400 total units sold in North America for the year. In the same year, the Alfieri Concept Car (named after a Maserati brother) debuted in the Geneva Auto Show. The Alfieri will be a 2+2 grand tourer and is based off the GrandTurismo MC Stradale. It is scheduled for a 2020 release and will have three V6 engine choices with up to 520 horsepower.
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