Maserati has been renowned as one of the world’s leading luxury car brands for decades and has maintained its dedication to quality thanks to several key factors. Chief among them is the simple fact that Maserati is rooted in greatness. The company’s founders were a set of brothers who were passionate about automobiles and almost obsessive in their efforts to perfect their designs. They were also racecar drivers, and this practical experience informed their engineering. Today, Maserati vehicles continue to strike a delicate balance between impressive performance and gorgeous design, because they simply always have.
Here’s a look at the Maserati brothers and the qualities that enabled them to grow their small garage into a celebrated luxury automobile brand.
Cars were in their blood
Maserati is primarily the creation of three brothers: Alfieri, Ettore, and Ernesto. However, the three men had other brothers who, while not officially involved in starting the company, also worked with cars. Eldest brother Carlo was a brilliant automotive engineer before his untimely death prior to the founding of Maserati. Second-eldest brother Bindo also worked as an automotive engineer before joining his brothers in managing the company after Alfieri’s death in the early 1930s.
Even Mario, the one Maserati brother who was more interested in art than cars, was still involved to a degree. He is generally credited with designing the iconic Maserati Trident logo in 1920. This might also explain why Maserati has always valued aesthetics as much as engineering. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Maserati brothers would pursue such careers, even though they came of age when the automobile was still a relatively new innovation. Their father, Rodolfo, worked for a railroad, and had developed a love for speed. It was only natural that his sons would carry on the family tradition by creating some of the most legendary vehicles ever.
They got behind the wheel
Many of the Maserati brothers drove race cars themselves. In fact, when Maserati first began producing vehicles, their cars were designed specifically for racing. The eldest brother, Carlo, was even employed by Fiat and Isotta Fraschini as a test driver in the first decade of the 1900s. Clearly, these fledgling companies knew they were hiring someone who could pinpoint a car’s strengths and weaknesses and suggest design changes accordingly. Alfieri raced extensively in the 1920s, racking up several wins. His death in 1932 was mourned by the racing world, and prominent drivers attended his funeral.
This first-hand experience provided the Maserati brothers with insights that might not have occurred to other car makers. After all, while engineers can certainly learn in theory what makes one car superior to another, in order to fully understand how engineering impacts performance, there’s no substitute for actually getting behind the wheel. This is another reason Maserati steadily gained attention from auto enthusiasts. The team responsible for creating these vehicles had the perfect blend of qualifications to design cars that stood out in every way. Today, Maserati’s engineers and designers carry on this tradition, ensuring the vehicles they create meet the high standards the Maserati brothers set.
Cars weren’t their only passion
It seems as though every member of the Maserati family loved the blend of performance and design that superior vehicles embody. In fact, cars weren’t the only types of vehicles they were interested in making. Carlo even stopped focusing on cars in 1909 with the goal of creating an airplane that would outshine all others. He sadly passed away before realizing his vision, but his zeal for engineering, ambition, and creativity inspired his remaining brothers, who would go on to officially open the Maserati workshop in 1914.
They worked diligently
It’s easy to look back on geniuses in any field and assume they were immediately successful in their chosen professions. Society and history have a tendency to depict accomplished individuals as having been supernaturally talented. While it’s certainly true that the Maserati brothers were uniquely skilled, depicting them in such a way diminishes the effort that went into turning their vision into a reality. They actually spent years experimenting with different engineering projects and vehicle prototypes before creating the first Maserati they could be proud to sell. The fact that they consistently focused on their goals long after others may have given up is a testament to the dedication and work ethic they inherited from their parents.
They were innovators
The Maserati brothers never rested on their laurels. Instead of coasting on the strength of their initial creations, they always sought to improve and innovate. For instance, Carlo solved a problem with ignition failure inside the engine’s combustion chamber by altering the voltage of the electric components. This voltage change improved the engine’s reliability by allowing for more consistent power output. Later, Alfieri perfected the spark plug by using a new insulation material, mica, that improved engine performance and reliability further. These patented spark plugs were used in Italian fighter planes during World War I. After Alfieri’s death, Ernesto became the company’s chief engineer and oversaw successful changes to the Maserati 8CM, including a redesigned suspension. Legendary race car driver Tazio Nuvolari would steer the 8CM to victories in several major races.
Later, Maserati conducted research into ultra-light alloys in order to find a material that was durable enough to use safely, while light enough to boost the speed of their race cars. While the Maserati brothers are no longer with us, their spirit is alive in the vehicles their brand builds today. When you drive a Maserati, you’re not simply operating a car: you’re experiencing a legacy.