Although the recent developments concerning the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Groupe PSA have had fans of the Italian brands (under FCA) worried about their future, it’s still ‘business as usual’ for those brands until such time the new management looks at the enlarged single entity. That could take a while and where Maserati is concerned, it will continue its modernisation work at the Modena plant in Italy.
There are also plans a big event in May 2020 when it will be celebrating its roots and its more than a century of history. The business was founded in Bologna in December 1914 and its mechanical workshop began activities in the middle of the same month. The Maserati brothers were passionate about mechanical engineering and loved speed, quite happy to get behind the wheel of a racing car themselves, despite their many technical and commercial commitments.
Another brother, Mario, contributed by creating the famous Trident logo (inspired by the Fountain of Neptune in the centre of Bologna) and their brother Bindo joined Officine Maserati in 1932, after Alfieri’s death.
The first car to bear the Trident logo was built in 1926. It was the Tipo 26 (pictured above), a racing car which debuted at the Targa Florio that same year, winning first place in the class up to 1.5 L, with Alfieri Maserati at the wheel. This was the first in a long series of successes, including two consecutive editions of the Indianapolis 500 (1939 and 1940), four consecutive victories in the Targa Florio (1937, 1938, 1939 and 1940), nine F1 wins and the 1957 F1 World Championship with Juan Manuel Fangio.
More recently, Maserati returned to its winning ways with the MC12, the car which, between 2005 and 2010, won 6 FIA GT international championships, the highest-level racing category for production-derived GT cars.
Maserati remained in Bologna until 1939. In late September 1939, following the acquisition of the Brand by the Orsi family, operations began for the transfer of the company to Modena, where the Orsi family’s businesses were based, to build new cars, invest in research and innovation and become Modena’s most globally famous brand. The production site where the plant is still located, officially opened its doors on January 1, 1940.
The year 1947 marked the end of one era and the start of a new one. The Maserati brothers’ collaboration with the company ended while the brand launched its first road car, the A6 1500. In 1963, Maserati started another new phase of its history: with the launch of the Quattroporte, it created a completely new, previously non-existent market segment, that of high-performance luxury sedans.
After the brief period under the ownership of Citroen (1967-1975), during which the French owners introduced the first modern industrial processes, in the following De Tomaso period (1976-1993), the Modena plant created and sold a model destined to be one of the brand’s best-known, best-selling cars: the Biturbo.
The acquisition by Fiat in 1993 was the start of yet another major new chapter and which led to Maserati coming under the control of Ferrari in September 1997. These were years of major transformations as well as the birth of the 3200 GT (1998), followed by the Spyder (2001), a car which marked the important return to the US market. In 2005, Maserati was separated from Ferrari and returned to the control of the Fiat Group.
2007 was a very successful year, with the debut at the Detroit Motor Show of the Quattroporte (5th generation) with automatic transmission, enabling an important step forward, especially in markets such as the USA, Japan and the Middle East. The same year saw the presentation at the Geneva International Motor Show of the GranTurismo, another milestone in Maserati’s history.
In 2009, it was the turn of the GranCabrio, followed by other new products that significantly renewed the range: the new Quattroporte (now in 6th generation and presented at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show), the Ghibli (Shanghai Motor Show in 2013) and the Levante (2016 Geneva International Motor Show), the first SUV for the Brand.
After over a century of history, the Modena plant is producing cars sold in more than 70 markets, all which stand out for their luxury, elegance, style, performance and quality. These characteristics have made Maserati a true Italian icon at the global level. With the strength of over a century of history, Maserati is now ready to start a new era in May 2020.