Maserati wasn't really know as a company until it won its class at the Targa Florio race in 1926;however, the company traces its roots a little further back. Carlo Maserati was the oldest brother in his family, and he had constructed engines and worked for auto manufacturers like Fiat and Isotta-Franschini before he died in 1910. Carlo found work for a few of his other brothers, and their interest was cultivated in the industry. By 1914, his younger brother Alfieri opened an automobile service center where he focused mainly on Isotta-Fraschini vehicles. After the war, he also founded a spark plus manufacturing plant, first in Milan, and then moved it to Bologna. It was here that Maserati's first race cars were constructed- using Isotta-Fraschini bodies and war-strewn aircraft engines. First the brothers worked to modify cars, but they found that constructing their own cars was much more profitable. The first complete Maserati was called the "Tipo 26," and it impressed competitors and race spectators alike at the 1926 Targo Florio.
The brothers continued to develop their skills, and thanks to their original clients and the interest they sparked at the first auto show and the racing circuit. Although Alfieri passed away soon after at the age of 44, his brothers Bindo, Ettore, and Ernesto continued their work and produced models such as the Maserati 6CM and the Maserati Tipo 8CM. By 1937, however, the men faced financial problems, and they were forced to sell to the Orsi family. The two families had disagreements about producing road or race cars, and the Maserati brothers decided to pack up in 1947 and construct the OSCA, all while winning racing victories under the Maserati name.
As planned, the Maserati name began appearing on road cars like the 1946 Maserati and A6G54 and A6G. These cars were still used for racing, however, and this broke the company financially. Maserati was forced to pull out of racing in 1957. Naturally, this brought the original "true" Maserati road car, the Maserati 3500GT, a coupe that was produced in many units and inspired a variant that became the Sebring in 1964. In 1959 the quad-cam V8-holding 5000GT was premiered and was followed by the 1963 Mistral. 1963 also brought about a whole family of cars for Maserati. A huge 4-door performance saloon (sedan) was named the Quttroporte, and its elements were used again in 1967 with the Ghibli and in 1965 with the Mexico. In the 1960s, Citreo backed Maserati and supplied many of its well-built parts to build vehicles like the Merak, and the Bora.
Other strong models that helped Maserati crush its competition with brands like Lamborghini, BMW, and Porsche include the 1974 Khamsin, the Quattroporte II, the 1981 Biturbo (which drastically increased Maserati sales), the 1989 Shamal, the Spider, and the Biturbo. 1989 was also the year Maserati was taken over by Ferrari, which inspired the new Quattroporte, GranTurismo, and 3200GT. The Fiat Group now owns Ferrari (since it was moved from under Ferrari specifically in 1993), and it has become a portion of the sports car group with brands like Italy's Alfa Romeo.