Maserati is a famous Italian manufacturer of racing cars and sports cars, established in 1914 in Bologna. The company's headquarters are now in Modena, and their emblem is a Trident the traditional symbol of Bologna. Today, Maserati is owned directly by the Italian car giant Fiat, after having been a part of Ferrari for some years. The Maserati brothers, Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore, Ernesto and Mario, were all involved with automobiles from the beginning of the 20th century. Alfieri, Bindo and Ernesto built 2 litre Grand Prix cars for Diatto. In 1926, Diatto suspended the production of race cars, leading to the creation of the first Maserati and the founding of the Maserati marque.
One of the first Maseratis, driven by Alfieri, won the 1926 Targa Florio. Maserati began making race cars with 4, 6, 8 and 16 cylinders (actually two straight eights mounted parallel to one another.) Mario, an artist, is believed to have devised the company emblem. Alfieri Maserati died in 1932 but three other brothers, Bindo, Ernesto and Ettore, kept the firm going, building cars that won races.
In 1937 the remaining Maserati brothers sold their shares in the company to the Orsi family, who in 1940 relocated the company headquarters to their hometown of Modena, where it remains to this day. The brothers continued in engineering roles with the company, however. Racing successes continued, even against the giants of German racing, Auto Union and Mercedes. In 1940 a Maserati won the Indianapolis 500, a feat repeated the following year.
The war then intervened, Maserati abandoning cars to produce components for the Italian war effort.
Once peace was restored, Maserati returned to making cars, doing well in the post-war racing scene. The famous Argentinian driver Juan Manuel Fangio raced for Maserati for a number of years in the 1950s, producing a number of stunning victories including winning the world championship in 1957. After that, Maserati retired from factory racing participation, though it built racing cars to be raced by others after that date.
After 1957, Maserati became more and more focused on road cars, and introduced the 6-cylinder Maserati 3500 2+2 coupe featuring an aluminum body over Touring's Superleggera structure. Next came the Maserati Sebring bodied by Vignale and launched in 1962, the Maserati Mistral Coupe (1963) and the Spider (1964), both designed by Pietro Frua, and their first four-door, the Maserati Quattroporte (1963), also designed by Pietro Frua. The two-seater Maserati Ghibli coupe was launched in 1967, followed by a convertible in 1969.