Officine Alfieri Maserati opened its doors in Bologna, Italy in 1914 when Alfieri Maserati left his job at Isotta Fraschini to strike out on his own. Joined by his brothers, he was contracted by Diatto to design cars for his company, but left in 1926 to build the Type 26, the first all-Maserati vehicle. It was the first to sport the famous trident badge created by Alfieri's brother Mario, who modeled it after the statue of Neptune in central Bologna. The Type 26 carried Alfieri to a debut win in the Targa Florio, while the 26B took the Italian Constructors' Championship in 1927.
It was quickly followed by the 16-cylinder V4 and the front-drive 4CTR, the last vehicle designed by Alfieri, who died on March 3, 1932. Though his death could have meant the end of Maserati, his brothers Bindo, Ernesto, and Ettore joined forces to run the company. Together they brought a 3.0-liter straight eight to life and placed it in a car in which racing legend Tazio Nuvolari won three grands prix against the growing might of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union.
- Founded : 1 December 1914 Bologna, Italy
- Founder : Alfieri Maserati
- Headquarters : Modena, Italy
- Website : http://www.maserati.com
The launch of the Maserati 3500 GT street car in 1958 literally put the company on the road, and it was followed in 1962 by the Sebring. The Mistral and Quattroporte (Italian for "four doors") followed in 1963 with the two-seat Ghibli, designed by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro, following in 1967. It was to be the last Orsi-produced car, as the family sold its shares to French automaker Citroen.
Giugiaro was called back to design the V-8-powered mid-engined Bora and its V-6-powered Merak stablemate, and they were soon were joined by the Khamsin. However, the Quattroporte II, which was to share components with the Citroen SM, never entered production--Maserati went into liquidation soon after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the resulting oil crisis. Intervention by the Italian government kept the company from liquidation, and it was sold in 1975 to Alejandro de Tomaso. He launched the Kyalami and Quattroporte III, another Giugiaro design, and followed them in the 1980s with the Biturbo.
In 1993, the company was acquired by Fiat Auto, which turned around and sold Maserati to Fiat subsidiary Ferrari just three years later. Ferrari introduced the front-engined 3200 GT in 1998, the Spyder in 2000, and the Coupe--a replacement for the 3200 GT--in 2002. All used Ferrari technology such as the F1-style gearbox and the V-8's cylinder block, but the MC12 was little more than a re-bodied Ferrari Enzo. In 2003 a new Quattroporte was launched, and Ferrari sold Maserati back to Fiat in 2005 so it could share its technology with Alfa Romeo. A new two-door, the Gran Turismo, was launched in 2007.