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Maserati is a prestigious Italian company known for its exotic sports cars and involvement in auto racing.

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In 1926, Alfieri Maserati started things off with the Tipo, which enjoyed instant success in competitions and won the Italian manufacturers' championship.

Three years later, the V4 and its 16-cylinder engine made their debut at the Italian Grand Prix and set a new speed record that caught the entire world's attention and helped the company expand its operations.

Alfieri Maserati died in 1932. His brothers Bindo, Ernesto and Ettore took over, but they had a tough time keeping up with Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, which largely dominated the races. Still, Maserati found a way to shine.

The Maserati brothers sold their shares to the Orsi family in 1937, although they remained within the company as engineers until 1948.

During World War II, Maserati temporarily morphed into a supplier of electrical components, spark plugs and electric vehicles before returning to the motorsport business.

In 1957, Maserati stopped participating in auto races but continued to design cars for private teams and supply engines to various F1 teams.

A year later, the brand's first-ever road car – the 3500 GT – entered production and ushered in a new era where commercial operations became the top priority. The Sebring and Quattroporte were launched in 1962 and 1963, respectively. The latter was the first Maserati sedan and used a 4.1-litre V8 engine.

Citroën seized control of Maserati in 1968. The Bora, the first vehicle with mid-mounted engine to wear the Trident, premiered at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show.

The Yom Kippur War of 1973 resulted in a global energy crisis that put just about every car company in dire straits. The situation even got worse in May and Citroën decided to liquidate Maserati. Fortunately, the Italian government stepped in and saved the automaker from certain death.

In 1975, most of the capital assets were acquired by Benelli and Alejandro De Tomaso. The former Maserati driver managed to breathe new life into the company and presented the Quattroporte III.

The Biturbo was introduced in the next decade. As a relatively-affordable Maserati, it spawned no fewer than 30 models during its existence.

In 1993, Fiat Auto purchased Maserati and resurrected the Quattroporte. Four years later, under Ferrari ownership, the production line received upgrades in order to build the 3200 GT and Quattroporte Evoluzione. At that point, annual sales exceeded 2,000 units.

Ferrari then reorganized the retail network and expanded the assembly plant before Maserati unveiled the Spyder and announced its desire to return to North America in 2001.

In January 2002, the Coupé made its debut at the Detroit auto show, featuring a 390-horsepower, 4.2-litre V8 and F1-inspired transmission.

Maserati made big waves in September 2003 with the newest Quattroporte, which proved instantly popular among buyers and won numerous awards all over the world.

Production reached a peak of 5,659 units in 2005, the year Fiat regained control of the company. Commercial and industrial synergies with Alfa Romeo contributed to the expansion of Maserati's global presence thanks to the arrival of the GranSport, GranSport Spyder, MC Victory and GranTurismo.

Today, the Maserati lineup consists of the GranTurismo coupe and convertible as well as the Quattroporte sedan. A new SUV called Kubang will join the fold in 2012.

NEW! Recent Maserati data sheets

Discontinued Maserati models