Maserati was established in late 1914 and began producing cars in 1926. It has been owned by the Italian car giant Fiat S.p.A. since 1993. In May 2014, Maserati sold a record of over 3,000 cars.
The company has a long history of designing and producing successful race cars with 4, 6, 8 and 16 cylinders (two straight-eights mounted parallel to one another).
The famous Argentinean 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 in the Maserati 250F alongside Toulo de Graffenried, Louis Chiron, Prince Bira, Enrico Plate, and a few others. Other racing projects in the 1950s were the 200S, 300S (with several famous pilots, among them Benoit Musy), 350S, and 450S, followed in 1961 by the famous Tipo 61.
Maserati retired from factory racing participation because of the Guidizzolo tragedy during the 1957 Mille Miglia, though they continued to build cars for privateers. Maserati became more focused on building road-going grand tourers.
The 1957 Maserati 3500 GT marked a turning point in the marque's history, as its first ground-up grand tourer design and first series produced car. Production jumped from a dozen to a few hundreds cars a year. The 3500 GT's success, with over 2200 made, was critical to Maserati's survival in the years that followed the withdrawal from racing.
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The 3500 GT also provided the underpinnings for the small-volume V8-engined 5000 GT, another seminal car for Maserati. With Maserati's first road-going V8 engine, it became one of the fastest and most expensive cars of its days.
The company's first sedan arrived in 1963, the Maserati Quattroporte. The Quattroporte's Tipo 107 4.2-liter DOHC V8 was the forefather of all Maserati V8s up to 1990.
The Ghia-designed Ghibli coupe was launched in 1967. It was powered by a 4.7L, dry sump version of Maserati's quad cam V8. The Ghibli Spyder and 4.9-liter Ghibli SS followed.
In 1968, Maserati was taken over by French car manufacturer Citroen. With secure financial backing, new models were launched, and built in much greater numbers than before. Citroen borrowed Maserati expertise and engines for the Citroen SM and other vehicles, and Maseratis also incorporated Citroen technology, particularly in hydraulics.
The first new arrival was the 1969 Maserati Indy, a Vignale-designed four seater GT with a traditional V8 drive train, which was produced in over 1100 units.
In 1971, the Maserati Bora was the first series production mid-engined Maserati. The Bora ended Maserati's reputation for producing fast, but technologically out of date cars, being the first Maserati with four wheel independent suspension.
The mid-engined Maserati Merak, often referred to as the Bora's baby brother, was launched in 1972 using a Tipo 114 SM-derived V6 engine enlarged to 3.0-liters.
The replacement for the Ghibli was the Bertone-designed Maserati Khamsin, a front-engined grand tourer that was introduced in 1972 and produced from 1974; it married the traditional Maserati V8 GT layout with modern independent suspension, unibody construction and refined Citroen technologies such as DIRAVI power steering.
The 1980s saw the company largely abandoning the mid-engined sports car in favor of a compact front-engined, rear-drive coupe, the Maserati Biturbo. Of fairly conventional construction, the Biturbo's pleasure and pain was its twin-turbocharged V6 engine, the first ever in a production car. The Biturbo family was extremely successful, selling 40,000 units.
In 1983 and 1984 the range was extended to include sedans (the 425 and 420) and a cabriolet (the Zagato-bodied Spyder), respectively on a long and short wheelbase Biturbo platform.
New Biturbo-based cars and model evolutions were launched year after year. In 1984 it was the 228, a large coupe built on the long wheelbase sedan chassis, with a new 2.8 L version of the twin-turbo V6. Weber Fuel injection was phased in starting in 1986, bringing improved reliability and a host of new model variants. The same year the ageing third generation Quattroporte was updated as the luxurious Maserati Royale, built to order in an handful of examples a year; its discontinuation in 1990 marked the disappearance of Maserati's four-cam V8 engine, a design that could trace its roots back to the 450S racer and the legendary 5000 GT.
The Maserati Ghibli was re-introduced in 1992. This time it was a six cylinder coupe, with modified Biturbo underpinnings dressed by new Gandini body work and the latest evolution of the 24-valve twin-turbo V6 with record breaking specific output.
In May of 1993, after having numerous owners and co-owners Fiat became the sole owner of Maserati. It later sold a 50% share in the company to Maserati's long-time arch-rival Ferrari (Ferrari itself being owned by Fiat). In 1999, Ferrari took full control, making Maserati its luxury division.
In 1998, a new chapter began in Maserati's history when the company launched the 3200 GT. This two-door coupe is powered by a 3.2 L twin-turbocharged V8 which produces 370 hp (276 kW).
Since early 2002, Maserati once again entered the United States market, which has become for Maserati the largest market worldwide. The company has also re-entered the racing arena with their Trofeo and, in December 2003, the Maserati MC12 (formerly known as the MCC), which has competed with great success in the world FIA GT championship, winning the teams championship three consecutive times from 2005 to 2007. The MC12 has also been raced in various national GT championship as well as in the American Le Mans series. The MC12 is based on the Enzo Ferrari sports car; 50 street-legal homologation models (roadsters and coupes) have been sold for about US$700,000 each.
In June 2005, the 20,000th Maserati, a Quattroporte, left the factory. In the second quarter of 2007, Maserati made profit for the first time in 17 years under Fiat ownership.
In 2013, Maserati started its expansion with the sixth-generation Maserati Quattroporte, which was designed to better compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This was followed by the introduction of the new Ghibli, which was slated to compete against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-series. On May 6, 2014 Maserati confirmed production of the Levante SUV and the Alfieri (previously a 2+2 concept car that was named after Alfieri Maserati). At this event, it was revealed that 2014 will be the last year of production for the GranTurismo and GranTurismo Convertible. The GranTurismo name will be revived in 2018 with a 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS) V8, in rear-wheel drive configuration.
Maserati sales in 2013 were 15,400 units, which is up from just over 6,000 units worldwide in 2012. The sales target for 2018 is 75,000 units worldwide.
In 2014, Maserati started their re-entrance into the high-performance car field, in order to compete with brands such as Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, Porsche, Jaguar, and in certain cases, Ferrari. This is being done with Maseratis that have high output engines and all-wheel drive. The fastest Maserati Alfieri will be receiving a 520 bhp (388 kW; 527 PS) V6 with all-wheel drive, while the Quattroporte, Ghibli, and Levante are receiving 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS) V8s in the future with all-wheel drive, in order to better compete with their respective AMGs, M cars, Jaguars, and Porsches.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Masearti" and is a modified version of said article. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. This license does not apply to the accompanying photographs.