Corrado Filippini, journalist and correspondent of the Bologna-based sports newspaper Littoriale, had an inspired idea which was to change the fate of Maserati. Filippini knew the Maserati brothers well, and aware of their vast technical and human potential, he decided to put them in touch with a friend of his from nearby Modena, the self-made industrialist Adolfo Orsi.
Adolfo Orsi, born in 1888, started his career working as a butcher's assistant in the morning and selling fruit on the streets of the city of Modena in the afternoon. As he walked the city's streets, he collected the rags he found along the way. Soon afterwards, he progressed from rags to scrap metal. By the mid '30s, Orsi had become Modena's leading industrialist and owned an ironworks and a steelworks with not only Italian but also international customers, as well as holdings in metallurgy, agricultural machinery and the service sector.
Filippini suggested he should consider the benefits of an association with the Maserati brothers, bearing in mind that motorsports could be an excellent opportunity for publicising his businesses. The meeting was arranged during the 1936 Modena GP, and Orsi and the Maserati brothers hit it off. The agreement was signed and sealed.
On 1 May 1937 Adolfo Orsi became the new owner of two companies: Officine Alfieri Maserati, the firm which built racing cars, and Fabbrica Candele Maserati, which manufactured spark plugs. Well known for his far-sightedness, Orsi agreed with the Maserati brothers that they would remain with the businesses for a further 10 years, so he could “exploit” their racing car design and construction expertise, as well as their know-how about the racing scene and their relationships with drivers. Orsi, on the other hand, took over the sales side. The spark plug factory finally received the attention it had lacked in the past, while racing car output rose from nine in 1936 to fourteen the following year. This began a period during which two clearly defined, separate businesses operated side by side, without any conflict ever arising between them.
This combination reached its peak in 1939 when Mike Boyle bought the Maserati 8CTF which, with a young Wilbur Shaw at the wheel, was to achieve victory in the prestigious Indianapolis 500 in two consecutive years, in 1939 and 1940.
1947 marked the end of one era and the start of a new one. The Maserati brothers left the business, and the first Maserati road car, the A6, was built at the Modena plant.
The growth of the brand and the Maserati plant reached its peak in the boom years of the '60s, with cars which have gone down in history, such as the Tipo 60 “Birdcage”, the 3500 GT, the 5000 GT and the Mistral.
In 1968, Maserati built around 800 cars, the best result it had ever recorded since the opening of the Modena production plant. The Maserati range for 1968 was comprised of the Ghibli, Mexico, Mistral, Quattroporte and Sebring. In the same year, Maserati achieved a 43% market share in the “over 3500cc” segment in Italy.
After the short interlude when Maserati was a subsidiary of Citroën, during which the French owners introduced the first modern industrial processes, De Tomaso acquired the company and the Modena plant created and sold a model destined to be one of the Brand's best-known, best-selling cars for a long time: the Biturbo.
The acquisition by Fiat in 1993 was the start of a major new chapter. In September 1997, Maserati became a Ferrari subsidiary and the plant was redesigned to meet the new commercial demands. These were years of major transformations, which saw the birth of the 3200 GT and the Spyder, a car which marked Maserati's successful return to the USA market.
In 2005 Maserati was separated from Ferrari and placed under the direct control of the Fiat Group. The years which followed saw the launch of the GranTurismo (2007) and GranCabrio (2009), both designed by Pininfarina and winners of countless awards: even today they are still considered “The Maseratis” thanks to their unique, timeless, sporty yet elegant looks. They are both built at the historic Modena plant.