Maserati is an Italian sports car manufacturer that claims more than a century of heritage. Founded in 1914 by six Maserati brothers, the company has built upon its early success in Motorsport to create world-class road cars. Today, Maserati is owned by Fiat Chrysler, following earlier control by Ferrari and others.
A war, a global depression and another world war challenged Maserati, as did several ownership changes. From the company’s launch until just after World War II, Maserati built nothing but race cars. Initially, those models were developed for Diatto, an Italian coach company. In 1926, the brothers severed their ties with Diatto and began building the first cars to wear the Maserati name. The Tipo 26 is the first Maserati.
Maserati soon gained a reputation for building race-winning sports cars as it competed in races throughout Europe. In 1939, two years after selling the company to entrepreneur Adolfo Orsi, a “Boyle Special” 8 CTF won the Indianapolis 500. That same Maserati also won the Indy 500 the following year.
After the war, Maserati began directing its attention to road cars. In 1947, Maserati introduced the A6 1500, which was a coupe and convertible designed by the Pininfarina car design firm. Other early models included the 3500 GT and 5000 GT, again offered in coupe and convertible configurations.
In 1963, Maserati introduced the Quattroporte, its oldest model name. Built most years since then, the Maserati Quattroporte is a four-door full-size luxury sedan. By that time, Maserati had largely abandoned race cars for road cars. Other models of that era included the Mistral and Sebring. In 1967, Maserati introduced the Ghibli, which is a grand tourer. The following year, French automaker Citroën purchased the company.
The global fuel crisis of the 1970s and financial problems in the 1980s proved challenging for Maserati. Earlier models such as the Bora and Merak utilized Citroën’s suspension and steering components. In 1975, Citroën sold Maserati to Alejandro de Tomaso, an Argentinean race car driver.
During the 1980s, Maserati moved away from its mid-engined sports cars. The new designs featured front-engined, rear-drive coupes such as the Maserati Biturbo. Beginning in 1988, Maserati released the two-door Karif.
The 1990s saw more changes as Fiat acquired the company, before selling it to Ferrari. In 1991, Maserati quit exporting cars to the U.S. During that decade, the company updated its two main models, which were the Quattroporte and Ghibli.
Maserati returned to the U.S. market in 2002, just as the company began expanding production, along with its model line. The first models for American consumption were the Coupe Cambiocorsa and cabriolet.
In 2011, Maserati introduced the Gran Turismo, which is a two-door sports car. Beginning in 2014, Maserati rolled out the Ghibli, which is a midsize sedan, and also introduced the sixth-generation Quattroporte. In 2017, Maserati built its first-ever SUV, the Levante.
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