Maserati was formed in December 1914, which makes it 100 years old this year. Of all the automakers to make it to the century mark, the Italian purveyor of sports/luxury cars might be one of the least well-known. Sure, the brand was famously Juan Manuel Fangio’s steed for his 1957 Formula 1 world championship (he also drove one for a couple races in 1954). And some serious Italian car fiends might even know that, for a time, the company’s naming scheme saw two-seat sports cars named after winds (Mistral, Ghibli, Bora, Merak), while the four-seaters took their names from racetracks (Sebring, Mexico, Indy, Kyalami). But we’re betting you didn’t know most, if not all, of the Maserati facts below:
1. The company was started by Alfieri Maserati; three of his brothers—Bindo, Ettore, and Ernesto—later worked there was well. Today’s Maserati Alfieri concept car was named for the eponymous founder.
2. The trident logo was inspired by the statue of Neptune in the company’s birthplace of Bologna.
3. Before it made cars, Maserati was best known for spark plugs.
4. In its first two decades of automaking, Maserati built only racing cars, like this Tipo 26B.
5. Maserati won the Indy 500 twice, in 1939 and 1940. (Pictured below at a historical race in May 2014.)
6. The first Maserati road car was the A6, built in 1947. This one is on display at the Maserati Centennial Exhibition.
7. After they left Maserati, Bindo, Ettore, and Ernesto Maserati went on to form the OSCA car company.
8. In addition to automobiles, Maserati engines have also powered racing boats.
9. Maserati has had five owners: the Maserati brothers, the Orsi family, Citroen, Alessandro de Tomaso, and Fiat.
10. Maserati’s Modena factory also builds the Alfa Romeo 4C.