Trident, anecdotes that got Maserati to where it is today
Since starting as a spark plug manufacturer, Maserati has won races, built cars for world leaders, and was once Ferrari’s greatest rival on-and-off the track.
It’s also been to the brink of bankruptcy more than a few times, but now hums along nicely as part of the Fiat group. (Which, of course, also owns Ferrari) 2014 marks 100 years since Officine Alfieri Maserati SA opened it doors in Bologna, Italy, Carlo, Bindo, Alfieri, Ettore, Mario and Ernesto Maserati were born to Rodolfo Maserati and Carolina Losi in Bologna, Italy. Rodolfo was a mechanically inclined railroad worker who instilled his sons with a love of speed. Though, this philosophy didn’t quite take with Mario, who became an artist.
Carlo was the oldest, and somewhat of a boy-genius. He designed and built his first engine when he was 17 — a single-cylinder he mounted on a bicycle. He took his contraption to the Brescia-Cremona-Mantua-Verona-Brescia Rally in 1900 and won Carlo was soon hired for a short stint at Fiat where he developed another single cylinder engine in his free time, which he mounted it in a four-wheeled wooden chassis.
Maserati wouldn’t officially become a company for a few more years, but depending on which Italian car historian you ask, this may or may not be the first Maserati.
One of the more famous landmarks in the Maserati family’s hometown of Bologna, Italy is the Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati in the Piazza Maggiore. In case you’re not up on your Roman mythology, Neptune was the god of the sea, and always kept a trident handy. Mario, the artsy brother, was asked to come up with a logo, and at the suggestion of a family friend went with Neptune’s trident, which is a symbol of strength.
The first car to wear the Maserati name was the Tipo 26. The Maserati brothers worked for racing team called Diatto in the 1920s, and after parting ways, purchased 10 Diatto chassis, which would be the starting point for the Tipo 26. The new car, driven by Alfieri Maserati, did incredibly well in its race debut, finishing first in class for cars under 1.5-liters and eighth overall. By the 1930s, Maserati was becoming known for making powerful, reliable engines. Count Theo Rossi used two Maserati V16s to power one of his boats. That’s 32 cylinders for one boat! egendary hydroplane builder Cantieri Timossi used a bored-out version of the V8 from the successful Maserati 450S of the 1950s, and promptly went out and won the hydroplane world championship in 1958. A 450S Timossi hydroplane was sold at auction last year for $280,500. The perfect runabout for your Lake Como mansion.
Considering the rich racing histories of Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, it’s amazing that neither of them have ever won The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The only Italian company to pull it off was Maserati, which it did twice American racing driver Wilbur Shaw took the 8CTF to victory at the Indy 500 in both 1939 and 1940. A straight-8 engine designed by Ernesto Maserati powered the 8CTF. The Maserati brothers were all about racing. They didn’t have much interest in building a road until they entered a partnership with industrialist Adolfo Orsi. Orsi convinced the brothers to diversify the company and move Maserati to Modena, Italy in 1940 where it remains today.
But because of World War II, the consortium would have to wait six more years to build its first road car. The new Maserati was called the A6 — “A” for Alfieri, who had passed away a few years prior, and “6” for the number of cylinders. The body was designed Pininfarina, who still works with Maserati today. Juan Manuel Fangio was the most dominate driver in Formula 1 in the 1950s. He won the World Drivers’ Championship five times — a record that wouldn’t be broken until Michael Schumacher won his sixth in 2003. Other famous Maserati drivers included Tazio Nuvolari, Alberto Ascari, and Stirling Moss. Not a bad line-up.
After he was elected President of Italy in 1978, Sandro Pertini chose a Maserati Quattroporte Royale as his personal transport. Little did he know it was a move that would draw the ire of notorious grumpy old man Enzo Ferrari.
The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy had become known as the supercar center of the world, so Pertini wanted to pay the area a visit. When he stopped by Ferrari’s factory gates in Maranello, Enzo refused to welcome him because he was in a Maserati.
Please note. Maserati Memories Credit the work of others in this article. We just put it together.
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 10:02
Trident, anecdotes that got Maserati to where it is today.Written by Maserati Memories
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