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Maserati Tuesday


It’s hard to imagine that this past Saturday was the 104th anniversary of the founding of Maserati. As much as automobiles feel like modern creations, especially given how they have impacted everything from how we work to where we live and how our communities are planned, there was a time when they were new, exotic, terrifying, and considered a passing fad. Maserati is one of the oldest car manufacturers that is still relatively unchanged from its original mission of providing high-end performance and luxury vehicles to the most demanding of tastes.

The five founding Maserati brothers, Alfieri, Bindi, Carlo, Ettore, and Ernesto, were all involved in building and racing competition vehicles at the turn of the century. Their initial goal was the creation of a pure racing livery, but with the exposure garnered by a number of early winning streaks, they branches out into building unique, bespoke pieces commissioned by individual buyers. The brothers began building their first vehicles in 1914, but it wouldn’t be until 1926 that they adopted the trident design from the Fountain of Neptune statue in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore and officially established the Maserati marque as we know it today.

Their first major claim to fame was a race to build the most luxurious vehicle in Europe, a V16 town car specially designed for Benoit Mussolini, but they were beaten to the punch by their arch-rival Ferry Porsche, who produced a competing design at Volkswagen for Adolf Hitler.

The A6 design would go on to become one of the winning-est racers in early automotive history, claiming victories in Europe as well as the United States at Indianapolis. However, following The Guidizzolo tragedy at the 1957 Mille Miglia, Maserati pulled out of the racing business and dedicate themselves to producing performance-oriented grand tourers instead. They continued to provide racing engines to third-party builders, such as the legendary 450S that was installed in the Shah of Persia’s 5000GT. With the introduction of the Ghia-produced Ghibli coupé, Maserati would cement its legacy in the history of GT.

The brand changed hands several times over the decades, from Citroën in the late 60s and 70s, to de Tomaso and Fiat in the 80s, before finally landing in the hands of long-time rival Ferrari, who reintroduced the brand to the US in 2002. Since its ownership by Ferrari, Maserati has enjoyed unprecedented success in nearly every international market as one of the finest producers of luxury sedans and grand tourers in the world.

-Trey Fennell

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