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Maserati at 100

by Bill Cawthon on


Last Monday, Maserati celebrated its centennial.  It was on December 1, 1914 that Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati opened the doors to their car repair business and workshop at 1A Via de’ Pepoli, in Bologna, Italy.

The event was celebrated in two ways: the first the City of Bologna’s unveiling of a plaque at the site of the original shop; the second was the production of the 50,000th Maserati, a gray  Quattroporte S Q4 destined for the U.S., at the Giovanni Agnelli plant in Grugliasco, Italy.

“’Società Anonima Officine Alfieri Maserati’ was founded in this building on 1 December 1914.Thanks to the genius and labours of Alfieri and his brothers Ettore, Ernesto and Bindo the company went on to gain international fame and prestige thus contributing to the world’s awareness of Bologna’s excellent industrial identity.”

“The plaque is a symbolic tribute to an anniversary of fundamental importance to Maserati. In fact, we are celebrating the Centennial in a particularly significant year for us,” said Harald Wester, Maserati’s CEO. “2014, which marks one hundred years since our company’s foundation, is also the year in which the Quattroporte and Ghibli have beaten all previous sales records; in which the American market – with the Ghibli – and the Chinese market – with the Quattroporte – have amply rewarded the efforts we have made to offer a new, beautiful, competitive product, truly capable of responding to market demand; it is the year in which the GranTurismo and GranCabrio sports cars have continued to achieve international success.”

Wester was joined at the ceremony by Ettore Maserati’s son, Carlo, and Ernesto Maserati’s son, Alfieri.

Carlo Maserati noted, “100 years have passed since Uncle Alfieri created ‘Società Anonima Officine Alfieri Maserati’ and it is now 116 since 1898, when his eldest brother Carlo, then just seventeen years of age, built a motorbike fitted with an engine he had designed and built himself at home; an event that thrilled his brothers and inspired them to follow his example. We all know the engineering and racing results they achieved under both the Maserati and the OSCA names in almost 70 continuous years in business. This longevity was founded on the perfect understanding within the family and engineering skills that enabled them to build a racing car in just six months. As I commemorate my father Ettore and my other Uncles Bindo, Ernesto, and Mario, I would like to thank all those who have enabled Maserati to live on and assure it further successes in the future.”

“Founded as Officine Alfieri Maserati in 1914 this business, springing from the enterprising spirit and genius of its founder, my Uncle Alfieri, continued in operation after his early death in March 1932 thanks to the dedication and extreme personal sacrifices of his brothers,” said Alfieri Maserati. I feel I must mention the extraordinary engineering and design creativity of the youngest of them, Ernesto Maserati, my father. The period witnessed the birth of an amazing series of both Grand Prix cars and Voiturettes, as well as world-beating cars that actually held as many as 13 international speed records simultaneously. After the Maserati brothers left the business in 1947, other people stepped in to continue its success. Its acquisition by the Fiat Group has brought Maserati to a position of absolute prestige, today, with constant growth in terms of both quality and quantity. It is a pleasure to celebrate the Centennial at a time like this, and one hundred years after the company’s foundation, I have great admiration for the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of everyone who works there. They have conserved the spirit of its founders.”


The milestone at the Grugliasco plant is just as impressive: Fiat S.p.A. bought the facility in 2009 from bankrupt bodybuilder Bertone. The plant had not had any work since 2006. Fiat spent more than $1.2 billion refurbishing the plant, brought back Bertone workers as well as 500 workers who had been laid off from the Fiat Mirafiori plant and added more, bringing the total to more than 2,000.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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