The Evolution of Seduction
Article by Donald McFarlane
If Maserati was a woman, she’d have dangerous curves in all the right places, a head of thick dark hair and a sultry glance that would suggest intelligence, power and grace. Her emblem, the trident, is that of a God, and unlike others that exist in the same rarefied world, she is not obvious, like a prancing horse or a charging bull. There’s more depth to her character, more layers to peel back. She’s without a doubt as formidable as her peers, she’s just not as obvious about it. Perhaps she is more sophisticated.
When Alfieri Maserati teamed up with his brothers Bindo, Ettore and Ernesto in a quest to build a superior racing car, could they have expected that the brand would be stronger than ever a century later?
The need for speed that drove the Maserati family to push the cars they built to the limit has resulted in numerous racing wins across a multitude of categories, from the insane Targa Florio mountain races around Sicily in the late 1930’s to Grand Prix wins and a world title with Juan Manuel Fangio in 1957 driving a 250F.
In 1947 Maserati launched its first road car, a bold move for a company that specialized in racing cars for such a long time. The A6 Grand Tourer, which looks distinctly like the inspiration for the 1954 Mercedes 300SL, and was a very popular model, and with that success, Maserati moved deeper into the private car market, and haven’t looked back.
The next challenge that Maserati presented itself with was the creation of the first Italian luxury sports saloon. The first-generation Quattroporte roared onto the streets of Modena in 1963, setting the stage for a car that has become one of the icons of the Maserati collection.
During the 1970’s, Maserati unleashed the Bora, a mid-engined two seat coupe onto the sports car market. The car’s space-age looks would have fit in perfectly into the George Lucas film THX1138, which was released in the same year as the Bora, 1971. Equipped with a V8 engine, the Bora was the first car Maserati produced that put it on equal technological footing as other super car manufacturers with several improvements over previous models including a fair amount of luggage room under the hood of the car, and many other comforts. The Bora remains one of the most gorgeous supercars ever made.
Staying true to their roots, Maserati has released a brand-new Quattroporte and the Ghibli, a luxury executive saloon. Both names reflecting the company’s past glories.
Maserati have also announced that they plan to put the Alfieri concept car, first seen at the Geneva Motor Show in March into production for 2016. The Alfieri embodies all the Maserati stands for with its sleek, Italian styling, and is a 2+2 just like the 1957 3500 GT, 1959 5000 GT and the 1969 Indy before it.
Maserati has bounced between a few owners over its storied career. After Alfieri Maserati died in 1932, his brothers maintained ownership of the company until they sold it to the Adolfo Oris family in 1937. In 1968 it was purchased by Citroën, which signalled an increase in the number of new models launched. In 1975 Maserati changed hands once again, being purchased by Alejandro de Tomaso, a former Argentinean race driver. 1993 saw the company bought by Fiat, where it has stayed, in one form or another ever since. Many see the return to Fiat as the catalyst that brought Maserati back to form.
When asked about the direction that Maserati is heading in with their production and market share, Peter Denton, the Regional Manager for Northern Europe gave us his impression of where things are and where they might be heading. “Maserati expects that the premium luxury segment in which we operate or will operate, comprising of Luxury SUV’s, Luxury full sized saloons, Luxury sporting cars and Flagship saloons, on a worldwide basis will grow to just over a million sales for all brands by 2018. Through the development of new product lines including; Ghibli, Quattroporte (6th generation), Levante ( SUV), Alfieri and GranTurismo the brand product lines will achieve 75000 sales by 2018 achieving an approximate segment share of 7.5%. Maserati wishes to remain “exclusive” through its volume aspirations and feels that 75000 units of sales on an annual basis will allow that position to remain, whilst generating sufficient revenue to allow the business to continue to develop its products to meet the demands of this competitive segment.”
Regardless of the market share, or number of units that Maserati will be producing in a few years time, it can be said without a doubt that they will continue to make gorgeous, sophisticated vehicles for the discerning customer.
The full Maserati Range is available from H.R. Owen (www.hrowen.co.uk/0333 240 8800)