Monday, June 30, 2014
Friday, June 27, 2014
In 1914 five Italian brothers named Maserati began building custom Grand Prix cars. The first cars were contracted out to the firm Diatto. But by 1926 Diatto had stopped producing race cars and so the Maserati brothers decided to start marketing their creations under their own marque.During those early days the brothers focused all of their energies on building race cars, highly successful race cars. Many of their cars won races.
By 1937, after one of the brothers, Alfieri, had died, the brothers sold their stake in the company to the Orsi family who continued the highly successful racing legacy, including back-to-back wins at the 1939 and 1940 Indianapolis 500. Orsi took the company through World War II, concentrating on manufacturing components for the Italian military.
Following the war Maserati once again became one of the leading race car manufacturers. All of that would change in 1957, though. That year, at the famous Mille Miglia, a 24 hour endurance race similar to that held at Le Mans, a car went out of control in the village of Guidizzolo killing the driver, his navigator and nine spectators. Among the dead spectators were five children. The race was suspended, never to return in the same form.
The tragedy in Guidizzolo prompted Maserati to leave the factory racing game and turn their attention to passenger cars. The first was the 3500, a 2+2 coupe with an aluminum body. A convertible model soon followed. The car was a masterwork, even though it was their first attempt at making a tourer for the general public. With beautiful body work an a powerful 3500 cc straight six that churned out 220 horse power, the 3500 set the standard for all Maseratis that followed.
More cars followed into the 1960s. First was the V-8 5000, then in 1962 the Mistral coupe followed the next year by the Mistral spider. That decade also saw the introduction of the company's first four door model, the Quattroporte as well as the sporty Ghibli, a car that actually outsold the famed Ferrari Daytona and the Lamborghini Miura in its initial year of release.
In 1968 the French car maker Citroen took over Maserati. This was a time of huge change for Maserati. A lot of new models were launched by both marques as Citroen took advantage of Maserati's engineers to help upgrade their cars. In addition, Maserati began using some of Citroen's technology, including hydraulics.
Perhaps the two most famous cars, other than the relaunch of the Quattraporte, from this time were the mid-engine super car Bora, probably the most famous Maserati road car of all time, and the V-6 Merak. These, along with the Indy and the Khamsin provided Maserati with a peak in sales and status around the world.
Former Argentinian race car driver turned business man Alejandro De Tomaso took over the reins at Maserati. In short order new models appeared, including the luxury sports car Kyalami and the third incarnation of the Quattraporte.It was during De Tomaso's leadership that Maserati began working loosely with Chrysler which eventually bought a portion of the the Italian car maker.
Eventually in 1993 Maserati became part of the powerful Fiat group where it was first successfully partnered with Ferrari and more recently with Alfa Romeo where it openly shared technologies.
In this, the 100th anniversary of Maserati, the Ault Park Concours d'Elegance had a special display of Maserati. All of the cars seen in this post were part of that display which managed to lightly touch on this great automobile company. The trident of Neptune continues to onward.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Also on display were a 1960 Jaguar Mark IX, a 1972 BMW 3.0 CSi Coupe, a 1965 Triumph 2000 Saloon, a 1968 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 (that I drooled over), a 1965 Iso Rivolta, a 1974 Porsche 914 2.0, and a 1968 Porsche 912 Coupe.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Also shown were a 1953 Jaguar XK 120 OTS, a 1936 MG PB Roadster, a 1961 Porsche 356, a 1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III, a 1971 Mercedes Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe, a 1967 Mercedes Benz 250 SE Cabriolet, and a 1959 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I Drophead.