HISTORIC FIRST WORKSHOP: A commemorative plaque is placed at the historic first workshop of Alfieri Maserati and his brothers Ettore and Ernesto, in Bologna, Italy. Image: Maserati
BOLOGNA, Italy – On December 1 1914 Alfieri Maserati and his brothers Ettore and Ernesto began to write what would become a triumphant chapter in Italian automotive history.
At number 1 Via de’Pepoli, in the heart of Bologna, Italy, the brothers opened their “car repair workshop and garage”. Fast-forward 100 years and Maserati is now synonymous with power and luxury, as demonstrated by its lastest offering, the SA-bound Ghibli.
Maserati was based in Bologna until 1939 when it moved to Modena. This month, December 2014, as part of the automaker’s centennial celebration, a plaque was placed at the brothers’ workshop to commemorate their achievement.
The plaque reads: " ‘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. - Maserati and Bologna City Council in the year of the Centennial.”
Maserati’s Centennial celebrations were conducted throughout 2014 with events involving customers and fans all over the world.
Celebrations culminated in at its International Gathering, which started in Bologna in September 2014 and included exhibitions, parades, track sessions, guided tours of the Maserati factories in Modena and Grugliasco and a Concours d’Elegance. The automaker reports more than 200 cars and 500 people took part.
Some vehicles arrived from Beijing, having driven 13 500km through Asia and Russia on the way to Modena.
Harald Wester, Maserati CEO, said: “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.
“2014 is the year of the Alfieri, an amazing concept car built to mark the centennial and named after our founder, which explores the brand’s stylistic heritage while looking ahead to its future design language.
“It is the year in which customers and fans celebrate our glorious past, enjoy a present in which the product range is wider than ever before, and look forward eagerly to the near future: the launch of the Maserati SUV, to be followed by the Alfieri, as the concept car goes into production.”
Wester was accompanied by Carlo and Alfieri Maserati, sons respectively of Ettore and Ernesto Maserati, the two brothers who were at Alfieri’s side in December 1914.
Carlo Maserati, Ettore’s son, said: “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 17, 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.”
'GENIUS OF ITS FOUNDER'
Alfieri Maserati, Ernesto’s son, recalled: “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.
“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 held 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, 100 years after the company's founding, 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 Maserati commemorative plaque: