The four Maserati brothers, Alfieri, Ettore, Ernesto and Bindo Maserati, founded the company in Bologna in 1914. The first car they built together was the Tipo 26, named after the year it was built. Maserati quickly gained a reputation in racing circles for developing fast cars, winning many race events.
Launched in 1967, with a 4.7 V-8, 330 bhp, 4-cam-engine, the Ghibli was no slouch, a 150mph supercar, even though no efforts were made to keep weight down. Maserati decided on an all steel body.
In later cars a 4.9 litre engine was fitted, this raised the top speed to 165mph, even though the new engine produced a modest increase in power, just 4bhp. This increase in speed was due to the engines magnificent torque.
The problem faced by Maserati when marketing the Ghibli (bottom photo) was not the car itself, but the opposition. It appeared at almost the same time as the Lamborghini Miura, and Ferrari’s Daytona.
1972 Maserati Ghibli Spider
Giorgio Giugiaro called 1966 his best year of design. The Turnin Italy Auto Show, where 4 of his most outstanding creations were premiered, included one of his proudest, the Maserati Ghibli Spider. With a noble lineage, those previewing its V-8 quad CAM motor and legendary suspension knew it was a direct descendent of the 50's Maserati competition cars. This car boasted an impressive top speed of 168 MPH with its 5-speed transmission and 4.72 liter, 330 HP V-8. Just 1,274 Ghibli Spiders and Coupes were built from 1966-1973.
Throughout the Thirties, Maserati continued making spark plugs and hand-built sports and racing cars. They were unable to achieve consistent success on the track, however. To some extent this was because they were unable to generate the necessary investment capital to stay seriously competitive and to protect their place in the front rank: this is a problem for small racing car manufacturers that has existed for very nearly a hundred years. From the racing cars, a limited number of road cars were built, fitted with coach built bodies. The 4CS-1100 and the 4CS-1500 were available in 1932 and 1933
In March of 1932 , Alfieri died, as a result of an operation on old injuries sustained in a racing accident some years previously. Ettore, Bindo and Ernesto carried on to produce the three liter 8CM 150 mph Grand Prix car. Financially, things continued to be relatively hard going, so the arrival on the scene of Commendatore Adolfo Orsi in 1937 was very welcome. Orsi ran an industrial combine that was involved in making machine tools and bus and railway systems, although the connection with Maserati may well have come about because the Orsi organization made spark plugs – as did Maserati themselves.
The Maserati brothers were bought out and signed up for a ten year consultancy deal, relieving them of direct money problems, thus enabling them to concentrate on making racing cars and the occasional spin-off road car. During this period, the A6GCS car was conceived and constructed, and the 2-litre Formula 2 car was designed and built, and that in turn developed and evolved into the legendary 250F (2493cc straight six, 270bhp, top speed 180mph). The gearbox was rear-mounted in a transaxle unit behind the seat: it was a four-speed unit at first, and later improvements included a fifth gear. The later cars also benefited from a redesigned and considerably lighter chassis.
With Juan Manuel Fangio in the driving seat, this beautiful and seriously quick Maserati won the World Championship in 1957: one of the high points for the Maserati company. As well as the racing cars, chassis were being shipped off to various coachbuilders for a variety of bodywork to be fitted: PininFarina, Vignale and Frua all made their own contribution with an assortment of sports and sports racing bodies
When their ten year consultancy contract expired, the remaining Maserati brothers couldn't resist the pull of freedom and independence, and went off on their own to form OSCA – Officine Specializzata Costruizone Automobili. The Maserati name stayed with the Orsi family. The 1600 Osca was a neat and attractive little car, resembling its bigger Maserati brothers in the elegance of its proportions on rather a smaller scale, and powered by a double overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine, with two huge Webers squeezed into the diminutive engine bay. The interior was typically Italian of the period: two big dials for speed and revs, a thin woodrim wheel and sparse interior comforts: after all, it was for going quickly rather than being cosseted in Grand Tourer style. Badgework on the car was limited to OSCA 1600 on the bootlid, Fissore Savigliano on the front wings and a round badge on the front bearing the O.S.C.A. legend and a coat of arms, with 'Fratelli Maserati Bologna' running around the outside indicating that, although it wasn't a Maserati as such, it had certainly been built by the Maserati brothers.