Monday, March 27, 2006

Maserati – Tradition of Excellence

The seven brothers Maserati, born between 1881 and 1898, were all employed in the developing automotive industry except for Mario an artist. In fact the trademark, the Trident, a statue in Bologna to Neptune, is attributed to Mario. The first brother to begin working on motors was Carlo who designed a single piston motor for a bicycle factory just outside of Milan. Carlo was also a rider and in 1900 held the speed record at 50 km/hour. Carlo continued to race and had a great but short career and died at the age of 29.

Carlo had brought his brother Alfieri to work with him in the various automobile companies he represented. Upon the death of Carlo, Alfieri took his brothers place and in 1914 rented an empty warehouse to build racecars. Alfieri was hired by team Diatto, where he won numerous Grand Premio. Given his capabilities as pilot and technician, Diatto asks him to take over the design of their cars.

The first fully Maserati car was created in 1926 and in its debut won its class driven by Alfieri. In 1929 the V4, with a 16 cylinder motor, established the world speed record at 246 km/hour.

In 1937, following the death of Alfieri, the Maserati brothers sold the company to the Orsi family of Modena and the plant is moved to Modena where it stands today. The brothers remain in the company and continue to develop high quality racecars dominating Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Talbot. The golden years continue through 1967 during which time the company could do no wrong. In 1971, as Italy is facing social changes and competition from lower wage countries, Citroen purchases the company. Several interesting models, including my Quattroporte, were introduced but the vehicles suffered from quality problems. In 1993 FIAT, who had moved its mass production vehicles to Poland, purchased Maserati and initiated a complete reorganization of the company returning to the values of quality and innovation. The new models are beautiful, fast, and sure.

I owned a Quattroporte. This was a marvelous vehicle even though it suffered from some of the quality problems of the Citroen era. This 4 door vehicle was an innovation, larger than both the Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. It drove like a sports car but was comfortable enough for a 5 hour drive. When you started the motor it was like a 1960s muscle car, tight in the turns and with tremendous power. It was not only fast; it was quick. This was a dream car and priced about 25% under the Ferrari remained relatively affordable.

Maserati is born on the racetrack and you can feel it from the time you open the door. This is the kind of car that you take out in the middle of the night, turn the stereo up, and run the roads. The adrenalin rush is impressive. This was the first car that I drove where the car would hug the road tighter the faster it went. Accelerating into the curves you could feel the car sit to the inside. Finally it would stop on a dime. An incredible experience for those who love their cars, this is a must stop during any vacation in that includes Emilia Romagna.


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Blogger Tracie P. said...

2 car posts?! what's next, a steven segal movie?

jk ;)

11:41 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

tracie b. these are not just cars, these vehicles represent the quality of workmanship that is a result of the Italian culture. Just like Italian women, beautiful, marvelous to be with, a dream come true!

in any case it would be a John Wayne, perhaps riding into the sunset in a coupe'

For those who do not know, Tracie is from Dallas but lives in Naples and writes a great blog!

11:52 AM

Blogger Tracie P. said...

aw shucks, david, that's real sweet of you! (i'm from east texas, but i lived in austin for the last 10 years of my life before coming to italy.)

in light of you're compliment, i shall overlook that minor error..

(like always, jk ;)

10:53 AM


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